Apple and AAA are partnering to provide roadside assistance to iPhone owners who are having trouble driving without cellular coverage. Here’s what you need to know about the new Satellite Roadside Assistance feature on iPhone 14 and later.
How to activate roadside assistance via satellite
As with Satellite Emergency SOS, the new Roadside Assistance feature requires you to be in an area where there is no cell phone coverage. Finding yourself without service is the first step, so you need to know what to do next in advance.
The next step is to create a new message in Messages. Enter “Roadside” in the contact field to see the “Roadside Assistance via Satellite” option. Once selected, a prompt will appear, allowing you to select what problem you are experiencing with your vehicle. Examples: you are locked in your car, you run out of fuel or battery, or you have a flat tire.
It’s unlikely you’ll type “Roadside” into messages without reading about it first. Luckily, calling 911 is a backup option.
“Alternatively, if you try to call 911 and your call is not connected, you will have the option to send a text message to either 911 or roadside assistance via satellite,” Apple says.
More about AAA
If your iPhone supports Satellite Emergency Assistance, it will work with Satellite Roadside Assistance in the United States. Supported phones include all versions of iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 running iOS 17 or later. This feature is also available to travelers visiting the US.
Satellite service is free for two years for iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 owners. Apple hasn’t announced how it will handle pricing in the future, but the initial two-year deal is set to expire near the end of 2024.
However, the service will require some form of AAA payment for roadside assistance. Here’s what Apple says in its support article about roadside assistance:
AAA provides roadside assistance for four-wheeled cars and trucks. Roadside service is covered by AAA membership and is also available separately to non-members. Pricing information will be provided before assistance is dispatched.
However, T-Mobile customers with certain plans can get access to a free AAA membership for a year.