Apple is expanding satellite connectivity to iMessage for its iPhones

Apple is expanding iMessage satellite connectivity starting with iOS 18, moving away from just 'Emergency SOS' to sending messages over satellites.

1 minute & 38 seconds read time

Apple's current satellite connectivity system is exclusive to its "Emergency SOS" feature, but the company has promised some rather big changes coming to iMessage, which will let users send text messages in cellular dead zones.

Apple is expanding satellite connectivity to iMessage for its iPhones 20

The company just held its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) event, with Apple Intelligence announced -- you can read more about that here -- new features for iOS 18, and so much more. One new feature of iOS 18 is the ability to beam iMessage data to orbiting satellites instead of using traditional cell towers. The only requirement? You'll need a clear view of the sky, obviously.

Apple designed its satellite connectivity to maintain end-to-end encryption over iMessage, with the same feature capable of sending SMS messages to orbiting satellites to people not using iPhones. Apple has been pretty quiet about what exactly to expect from its expanded Messages via satellite service, so we don't know if it will be free or not just yet. Exciting to see, especially as SpaceX is preparing to offer satellite connectivity to iPhones and Androids smartphones through a new cellular Starlink service.

Apple's press release explains: "iOS 18 introduces Messages via satellite for the times when cellular and Wi-Fi connections aren't available. Powered by the same groundbreaking technology as existing iPhone satellite capabilities, Messages via satellite automatically prompts users to connect to their nearest satellite right from the Messages app to send and receive texts, emoji, and Tapbacks over iMessage and SMS.3 With Dynamic Island, users always know when they are connected to a satellite. Because iMessage was built to protect user privacy, iMessages sent via satellite are end-to-end encrypted".

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering explained: "We are thrilled to introduce iOS 18. It is a huge release with incredible features, including new levels of customization and capability, a redesigned Photos app, and powerful ways to stay connected with Messages. There are so many benefits for everyone. This release also marks the beginning of a tremendously exciting new era of personal intelligence with Apple Intelligence delivering intuitive, powerful, and instantly useful experiences that will transform the iPhone experience, all with privacy at the core. We can't wait for users to experience it".

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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