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First responders will be able to find callers faster.
During an emergency, the situation can be so intense that the person dialing 911 may not be in a position to provide a street address. And often an emergency situation occurs on a random stretch of road or somewhere not easily described without exact GPS coordinates.
Apple's upcoming operating system update will include a new feature to help those calling for help in situations like these, Engadget reports. Specifically, the tech giant is using RapidSOS internet-based technology to pinpoint a caller's location and share that with first responders.
“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”
This is certainly an upgrade from Apple's current system. Right now the company employs a method that uses a combination of cell sites, GPS and WiFi hotspots to locate a caller. It's not an ideal system, however, and can be inaccurate, especially in dense cities.
The new feature also meets the Federal Communication Commission's 2021 requirement that it can locate callers within 165 feet at least 80 percent of the time.
Apple states the location data won't be used for any other purposes and only the 911 call center that was dialed will have access to it.
Users will be able to install iOS 12 on their iPhones later this fall.
Caitlin Fairchild writes for Nextgov, where this article was originally published.