New features on the iPhone 15 lineup include Roadside Assistance via satellite and more precision accuracy on the Find My app.
On Tuesday, Apple announced its newest phone lineup, the iPhone 15, and it’s bringing new changes to how you use your phone ― and potentially how it can help you in an emergency.
Here are three of the most exciting new features that could help you in the future if you’re an iPhone 15 user:
1. The new phones will have USB-C charging ports, which means you’ll need fewer chargers in the future.
If you have ever forgotten to bring an iPhone charging cable on a trip, you know the mild panic and frustration that can come with knowing that your other device chargers won’t cut it.
But no more. Apple said Tuesday that its new iPhone 15 lineup will switch from using its proprietary Lightning port to the standard USB-C port. It means that iPhone 15s will use a charging cable that can work with non-Apple products, and that the charger will use the same port that Windows laptops, iPads and MacBooks are already using.
Apple’s announcement is to comply with legislation that the European Union passed, which mandates a USB-C port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones by 2024.
The EU rule was to standardize a one-size-fits-all charging port and to limit electronic waste.
“We all have at least three mobile phone chargers at home. Looking for the right charger, either at home or at work, can be quite annoying,” said Jozef Síkela, Minister for Industry and Trade in a press release when the EU legislation passed. “Having a charger that fits multiple devices will save money and time, and also helps us reduce electronic waste.”
A screengrab of Apple's new Roadside Assistance feature, which is debuting on the new iPhone 15.
2. The new Roadside Assistance feature can get you car help even when you don’t have cell service.
Building off of the success of its Emergency Text via satellite feature, Apple has also unveiled a new feature that will specifically help you with car trouble when you’re outside the range of cell service or internet connection.
In last year’s iPhone 14 lineup, users got introduced to a new satellite connectivity feature called Emergency SOS feature, which allows people with these phones to connect to a satellite and send a message to emergency dispatchers when they have no cell service.
Now there’s specific help when your emergency is your car. Called Roadside Assistance, it will connect iPhone 15 users in the U.S. to roadside assistance provider AAA via its satellite when you’re off the grid. When you send a text, the phone will prompt people to answer a short questionnaire to find out the basic problem like if their car is locked out, stuck, or refusing to start, and then connect them to a dispatcher.
Apple said in its Tuesday event that the service will be covered for AAA members, but did not specify how much you’ll have to pay as a non-member of AAA.
3. The new Precision Finding feature can guide you directly to your lost friends in crowded spaces.
Apple announced that its second-generation ultra-wideband chip will improve the location accuracy of knowing where your friends are on the Find My app. Its Precision Finding feature on iPhone 15s can now connect to other devices from up to three times farther away with this chip.
“When you’re in a crowded place like a train station, or a farmers market and your friends share their location,” said Deniz Teoman, Apple’s VP of hardware systems engineering, during Tuesday’s Apple event livestream. “You’ll be guided right to them with clear directions and distance.“
In the demo video during the Apple event, an iPhone screen is shown guiding a person through a crowd with a large arrow tracking exactly how many feet away the person is from their companion.
Similarly, the Apple Watch Series 9 is also using the Precision Finding technology to help you find your missing iPhone if it’s lost on the couch by giving you distance and direction cues on your Apple Watch of how far away the iPhone is from you.
With these new features, you may not see an immediate difference with your phone habits, but in the long-run, they may help you in a tight pinch.