Apple To Introduce Satellite Messaging On iPhone

Apple will introduce satellite messaging capabilities on the iMessage app in iOS 18.

Announced yesterday at the tech giant’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the new feature will give users of the iPhone 14 and newer models the ability to send and receive texts, emojis, and “Tapbacks” over iMessage and SMS, even without a cellular internet connection.

According to, “Messages via Satellite” functions similarly to the Emergency SOS feature Apple rolled out for the iPhone 14 in 2022, in which users without a signal are prompted with the option to find a satellite to transmit data. The tech blog reports that you’ll need to keep your phone pointed at the satellite while you text, and an overlay in your iMessage app will remind you to do so.

Images and videos, which use more data, can’t be sent over presently bandwidth-limited satellite connection. Those using the feature with iMessage will maintain end-to-end encryption for all of their texts, but SMS has never supported encryption and won’t over satellite either.

Though Apple has yet to confirm more details on “Messages via Satellite,” the company’s keynote presentation didn’t mention any limitations or charges on the new feature.

“Messages via Satellite,” is just one of a few new iMessage features Apple introduced yesterday, including the ability to schedule messages, “Tapback” with any emoji, and send new message effects. Apple also now allows users to bold, underline, strikethrough and italicize on the iMessage app.

Group chats are also about to get simpler. Starting with iOS 18, Apple will adopt Rich Communication Services (RCS). Now the standard messaging system Android phones, RCS was developed as a replacement to SMS, and allows users to send longer messages and higher quality images and videos, even between iPhones and Androids.

Learn more about all of Apple’s new iOS 18 features here.

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Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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