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In keeping with Apple's focus on privacy, user data can not be used for any non-emergency objective and only the responding 911 center will have access to the user's location during an emergency call.

According to Apple, its HELO system is able to identify your location using cell towers and a variety of other data sources from your phone, including GPS and Wi-Fi access points.

Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today's increasingly sophisticated smartphones.

The new technology will be available with iOS 12 - and the location information shared will be secure, according to Apple, with the company saying that the user data can not be used for non-emergency purposes and only the responding 911 center will have access to the user's location during an emergency call.

Apple said user data won't be used for non-emergency reasons; further, only the responding call center will have access to user location during a call.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release.

Bottom line: Apple has announced a new feature arriving in iOS 12 that has the potential to save lives.

Emergency calling centers, however, don't get that detailed location information from mobile 911 calls. Promisingly, Google's data gave operators an average location estimate radius of 121 feet, compared to the average from carrier data of 522 feet. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance". Apple says iOS location services are capable of exceeding that requirement today, even in "challenging, dense, urban environments".

These changes will come as part of iOS 12, which is set to be released in September.

Apps like Uber and Snapchat often keep tabs on their user's location easily, but services like 911 have a harder time detecting the same information.


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