To enable this new feature, Apple is using its HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) technology, launched in 2015, which estimates the caller's location using a variety of sources, including cell towers as well as Global Positioning System and Wi-Fi access point data.
The hope here is that Apple jumpstarts a shift within the wireless industry that will allow emergency responders to automatically locate mobile callers in most - if not all - scenarios.
iPhones will soon automatically share your location with first responders when you call 911, thanks to a new partnership between Apple and startup RapidSOS.
"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement released via Apple's press department.
A lot of the time, the current AML system delivers imprecise location or is unable to pinpoint the caller's whereabouts quickly, and Apple's RapidSOS integration into iOS 12 comes to the rescue.
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Apple's upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a NY startup. Its location services exceed this requirement today, and now 911 centers will have access to the same accuracy. It does this, as you've probably guessed, using the iPhone's readily-available data connection to the internet. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance". We'll find out more when iOS 12 launches later this year, so stay tuned. Cellphone carriers now share location estimates with emergency dispatchers, but these can be off by as much as a few hundred yards.
In its announcement today, Apple notes that its Hybridized Emergency Location tech will serve as the backbone of this iOS 12 feature.
RapidSOS is free for emergency response centers, but is now used by less than half nationwide.
Apple's competitors have similarly experimented with getting users' location data to 911 call centers.
Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software.