Apple has just announced a new iOS 12 feature for the US that will automatically share your iPhone’s location with first responders during 911 calls.
Disclaimer: this is not to fight 911 pranksters, although it will certainly help to lower their numbers.
The purpose of automatic location sharing during emergency calls is self-evident, to reduce response times by streamlining information gathering during a 911 call. More than 80% of emergency calls in the US are now made from a mobile device. However, 911 centers are working with “outdated” infrastructure that makes it difficult to obtain a caller’s location when using a mobile device. So Apple is stepping in to help.
The feature is built on Apple’s Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) system launched in 2015. Although your device will initiate the location sharing, it requires integration within the existing software used by 911 centers across the US.
According to Rob McMullen, President of the National Emergency Number Association, “This will accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 911 for everyone, saving lives and protecting property.”
Note that your location “cannot be used for any non-emergency purpose” through this integration.