Apple adds satellite text messaging feature to iPhone

Apple recently announced at WWDC 2024 that iPhone owners would be able to use iMessage and SMS via satellite. The Messages via Satellite feature will be available in iOS 18. 

Announcement of Messages via Satellite feature at WWDC 2024 presentation

Satellite messaging works similarly to the SOS feature. If you don’t have a cellular signal or Wi-Fi network, your smartphone prompts you to find a satellite to send data to. During this, you need to hold the phone in the right direction and at a specific angle, which will be reminded by an inscription on the screen.

Slide from the WWDC 2024 presentation that announced the introduction of Messages via Satellite to iPhone. Illustration: Apple

A new iOS 18 feature allows you to chat with friends or family using iMessage. iPhone owners using satellite communications can send and receive text messages, share emoji, and Tapbacks (iMessage reactions). The new feature also allows you to send text messages via SMS to friends who don’t use iPhone.

Interestingly, in order to make this feature more convenient and interactive, Apple has integrated Messages via Satellite with Dynamic Island. With Dynamic Island, Apple will provide real-time updates on the status of the satellite connection.

Apple iPhone looking for a satellite connection to send a text message. Illustration: Apple

Apple didn’t provide many details during the presentation and didn’t mention any restrictions or fees for the new service. It is likely to be free and with no restrictions for texting. Apple also assured that privacy would remain high thanks to end-to-end encryption.

With the release of iOS 18 update, owners of the next iPhone models will be able to enjoy messaging via satellite:

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15 Pro
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max

We previously reported on how 6G networks would utilize “curved” light beams.

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