How to Use Roadside Assistance via Satellite

What to Know

Open Messages and tap the New Message icon.Type Roadside in the address field, then tap Roadside Assistance via Satellite. Select your issue from list, follow on-screen prompts to establish a satellite connection, text with an AAA agent.

This article explains how to use Roadside Assistance via Satellite on your iPhone. This feature requires an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15, or iPhone 15 Pro running iOS 17 or newer. It works a lot like Emergency SOS via Satellite, but it’s different from other iPhone SOS features.

How to Request Roadside Assistance via Satellite With Your iPhone

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 both can connect to a satellite, but it’s only available in emergencies. You can’t place calls or send regular texts via satellite, but the option is available if you find yourself in trouble in an area where there aren’t any Wi-Fi networks or cellular service.

Roadside Assistance via Satellite connects you to AAA, which can help if you’re locked out of your car, have run out of gas, have a flat tire, need a tow, or have other similar issues. If you were in an accident or a life-threatening situation, use Emergency SOS via Satellite to contact emergency services.

Here’s how to use the Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature:

Open Messages, and tap the New Message button.

Type Roadside in the address field.

Tap Roadside Assistance via Satellite.

This option will only appear when you’re in an area that doesn’t have cellular coverage or available Wi-Fi networks.

Tap the option that corresponds to the problem that you’re experiencing.

Follow the on-screen prompts to establish a satellite connection.

You will need to hold your phone and move it around to establish and maintain a connection. The prompts will instruct you to turn left or right and to move if necessary.

Once the connection has been established, you will be connected to a AAA agent to request assistance. The AAA agent may request additional information about your location and situation, and you can reply via text messaging.

Continue following the on-screen instructions to maintain the satellite connection until you have received assistance.

The connection may be interrupted, but it will be reestablished if you keep your phone out and follow the on-screen prompts.

What Is Roadside Assistance via Satellite?

Roadside Assistance via Satellite is a safety feature that uses emergency satellite connectivity in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15. This feature requires iOS 17 and a phone with satellite connectivity, so it isn’t available on phones that haven’t been updated to iOS 17 or older phones that lack the hardware required to establish a satellite connection.

This feature allows you to establish a satellite connection with AAA, a roadside assistance company. When using this feature, an AAA agent will request information about your problem and location. They can assist with various roadside issues like running out of gas, getting locked out of your vehicle, and flat tires. They will typically dispatch a local AAA tow truck or light service vehicle to provide you with the necessary assistance.

Roadside Assistance via Satellite works like Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature. You don’t need to set it up ahead of time like other iPhone SOS features or make advanced preparations other than ensuring your phone is updated. If you have an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 with iOS 17 or newer, you can use this feature whenever you have car trouble in an area where cellular service isn’t available.  

Where Is Roadside Assistance via Satellite Available?

This feature is only available in the United States, including all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Availability is also limited to locations where cellular service isn’t available because the feature only activates when you attempt to message roadside assistance without a cellular connection. If your phone can connect to a cell tower or a Wi-Fi network, you can contact roadside assistance through traditional means.

Does Roadside Assistance via Satellite Cost Anything?

The Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature is free for two years after you activate your iPhone 14 or iPhone 15. After that period has expired, Apple may extend the free period or charge a fee for continued feature use.

While the Roadside Assistance via Satellite feature is free, that doesn’t mean that the associated services from AAA are also free. While you don’t need to be a AAA member to use this feature, you typically will be charged for any services rendered. The AAA agent will inform you of potential charges before a tow truck or service vehicle is dispatched to your location. If you are a AAA member, your membership plan may include the requested services.

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