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How and How Much iOS 18’s Messages via Satellite Will Cost

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Apple is turning the iPhone into a very powerful satellite communications device bit by bit. When Emergency SOS via Satellite was introduced for the iPhone 14 range, the adventure officially started. This capability was once limited to emergency services only. But now that iOS 18 is out, you may use this feature in any situation when you’re not near cellular or Wi-Fi service. Here’s an inside look at how it will function with SMS or iMessage communications and the current, free fees involved.

Effortless Switch to Satellite Contact

Your iPhone will notify you to switch to satellite communications in order to transmit messages if it is disconnected from Wi-Fi or cellular service for a prolonged length of time. You may access the new connection assistant, which includes all satellite-powered features like Find My, roadside help, and Emergency SOS, by pressing on this message.

It’s simple to start a chat from this website or the Messages app directly. You may locate an above satellite by following the suggestion on the Dynamic Island. In the event that no other signals are available, you can also connect by going to the Satellite option in Settings or Control Center.

User Interface and Linking Procedure

The procedure for connecting is still the same as in earlier iterations. The UI will advise you which way to aim your iPhone and provide suggestions for avoiding obstacles. When you connect, the Dynamic Island will display a green check mark that will vary in color and form if your connection begins to deteriorate.

Apple built the system so that only the user without cellular or Wi-Fi service may start SMS conversations over satellite in order to control network congestion and prevent spam. Emergency contacts and iCloud family members are the only exception; they will continue to receive messages even if you are connected via satellite. Due to the difficulties in compressing bigger data packages for satellite transmission, you can only send texts, emoticons, or tapback replies. Both iMessage and SMS are supported.

Real-World Example of Satellite Messaging

An Apple official demonstrated the feature’s operation on an iPhone that isn’t linked to Wi-Fi or cellular networks at Apple Park. Using the Dynamic Island interface, the representative connected to a satellite and texted someone else. “iMessage. Satellite” showed up over the blue bubble on the sender’s device, and the same label above the gray bubble was visible to the receiver. The message boxes displayed the status labels “sent” and “delivered,” despite the fact that read receipts are not available.

Technical Restrictions and Issues

One noteworthy feature is that it supports both SMS and iMessage via satellite, although only iMessage has end-to-end encryption. Although Rich Communication Services (RCS) are not enabled because of their complexity and bigger size, Apple’s inclusion of SMS provides wider accessibility. This restriction makes sense because the communications are sent to satellites that are traveling at speeds of 15,000 miles per hour, more than 800 miles above Earth.

Pricing and Accessibility of Satellite Communications

Apple has not yet released information on the cost of satellite connectivity and associated services after the free trial period. However, owners of the iPhone 14 and later may use these functions without charge. After two years of free satellite service from the date of purchase, Apple extended the free trial period by one year in November 2023. In essence, this extends the free service term to three years, albeit the precise amount of time may differ according on the date of purchase.

Next Steps and Updates

More information on Messages via Satellite is probably going to surface closer to the debut of iOS 18, which is expected to happen this autumn. This page will be updated with new material as it becomes available to give the most recent developments and insights.

In conclusion, iOS 18’s satellite messaging capability represents a major leap forward for Apple’s communication technology and provides a lifesaver in places without access to Wi-Fi or cellular service. With an intuitive design and support for SMS and iMessage, Apple makes sure that iPhone owners stay connected, even in the most isolated places. The service is still free for the time being and adds a useful feature to the iPhone.

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