Coming this autumn, the just-revealed feature will allow your iPhone to share your location with first responders. This will happen automatically when you dial 911. The goal here is to reduce emergency response times. Apple said that roughly 80 per cent of emergency calls in the US are now made from a mobile phone, but “outdated” infrastructure makes it hard for 911 centres to determine a caller’s location.
Apple, of course, reiterated its focus on user privacy, by explaining user data "cannot be used for any non-emergency purpose". You see, the new feature in iOS 12 actually builds on Apple's Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) system launched in 2015. Essentially, Apple is working with emergency tech company RapidSOS to "quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers".
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"RapidSOS’s system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centers’ existing software," Apple said. For more of the technical details, see Apple's announcement here. If you want to know more about iOS 12, see our guide here.
Apple is expected to roll out iOS 12 shortly after announcing its next iPhone models this autumn, likely in September.