Apple announced today the new feature - which will be USA -only at launch and available on iPhone 5 models and newer - would make it so that a caller's location will be automatically and even more precisely shared with first responders.
In 2015, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location), which would estimate a caller's location using Global Positioning System and Wi-Fi Access points.
With the newest software update for your iPhone and iPad this fall, Apple's partnership with the RapidSOS service will be embedded on a system level, and you won't need to download the adjacent app to send even more precise coordinates when you call 911.
Currently, about 80% of 911 calls come from mobile devices - but due to landline-era infrastructure it can be hard for 911 centers to quickly and accurately determine a mobile caller's location.
"911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection", said RapidSOS CEO, Michael Martin.
Given that 80 percent of 911 calls are now being placed on mobile devices, providing responders with as much information possible about a person's location is critical. This new feature allows Apple to make these benefits available to local 911 centers now rather than years from now.
"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal". The company expects this to increase to a majority of centers by the end of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. "This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS will be transformative for emergency response in the United States".
Apple said it's adding the new technology ahead of a Federal Communications Commission rule set for 2021 that requires phone carriers be able to locate emergency callers within 50 meters 80 percent of the time.