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Apple iOS 12 to enable location sharing for emergency calls

Apple Inc. announced a new feature coming in iOS 12 that will automatically share the location of an iPhone with first responders when U.S. users call 911.

According to the company, approximately 80% of emergency calls come from mobile devices but outdated infrastructure makes it difficult for 911 centers to pinpoint the location of the device. In response to this, Apple launched its Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) system in 2015, using cell towers, GPS and Wi-Fi access points to find a mobile 911 caller's location.

Apple is partnering with RapidSOS on the iOS 12 feature, using the emergency technology company's IP-based data capability to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers.

The iPhone-maker said users' location data won't be used for any nonemergency purposes and that only 911 centers can access a user's location during an emergency call.

IOS 12 will be released as a free update later this year.