Android 15 satellite feature could beat Emergency SOS on iPhone

The Google Messages app could get a major update with Android 15, enabling device owners to access satellite connectivity beyond emergency situations.

New versions of the Android 15 beta have shown Google is at least testing the idea of introducing satellite connectivity for messaging, as Apple has done on the last two iPhone models.

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However, a new APK teardown from the code scourers at 9to5Google, suggests the connectivity might be more far reaching than previously expected.

The insight suggests Google Messages users may be able to use satellite connectivity to send regular messages to friends and family, if they’re in areas unserved by cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

That would be a significant upgrade on what Apple offers in its Emergency SOS option via iMessage, which allows users to communicate via the emergency services by sending small packets of data to and from satellites via connection points on the ground. It also enables users to share location via Find My and contact roadside assistance.

The code spotted within the beta version of Google Messages (version 20240329_01_RC00) explicitly says you can enjoy messaging capacity beyond the emergency services, but you’ll only be able to send texts.

The code strings read.

“To send and receive, stay outside with a clear view of the sky”
“Satellite messaging may take longer and can’t include photos & videos”
“You can message with anyone, including emergency services”


Should Google follow through with this and offer the feature within Android 15, it’ll be a nice bonus for Android users who like to go out in the wilderness and don’t want a true satellite phone to keep in touch with loved ones. It might be a handy cover when other networks are acting up.

As previously reported by 9to5Google, Android 15 offers an “auto-connected to satellite” notification enabling users to send or receive messages without a mobile or Wi-Fi network. Now it seems the feature could usurp the option on iPhone.

Android 15Android 15
Image credit: 9to5Google

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