How to use Roadside Assistance via satellite on iPhone 14 and iPhone 15

Apple and AAA are partnering to help provide roadside assistance for iPhone customers experiencing car trouble without cellular coverage. Here’s what to know about the new Roadside Assistance via satellite feature on iPhone 14 and later.

How to activate Roadside Assistance via satellite

Like with Emergency SOS via satellite, the new roadside assistance feature requires being in an area without cellular coverage from your network. Being stranded without service is the first step, so you’ll need to know what to do next ahead of time.

The next step is to compose a new message in Messages. Type in “Roadside” to the contact field to see the Roadside Assistance via satellite option. Note that this will only work when you’re out of wifi or cellular range. Once selected, a prompt will appear that lets you select what kind of car trouble you’re experience. Examples include being locked out of your car, running out of fuel or battery, or having a flat tire.

Knowing to type “Roadside” in Messages without reading about it ahead of time isn’t likely. Fortunately, calling 911 is a fallback.

“Alternatively, if you attempt to call 911 and your call won’t connect, you’ll have the option to text either emergency services or a roadside assistance provider via satellite,” says Apple.

More about AAA

If your iPhone supports Emergency SOS via satellite, it will work with Roadside Assistance via satellite in the United States. Supported phones include all versions of iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 running iOS 17 or later. The feature is also available to travelers visiting the US.

Satellite connectivity is free for two years for iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 customers. Apple hasn’t announced how it will handle pricing in the future, but the original two year deal expires near the end of 2024.

For roadside assistance, however, the service will require a payment to AAA in some form or another. Here’s what Apple says on its support article about roadside assistance:

AAA provides roadside assistance for four-wheeled, motor-driven cars and trucks. Roadside service is covered according to AAA membership, and is also available separately for non-members. Pricing information will be provided before help is dispatched. 

T-Mobile customers on certain plans may have access to a year of free AAA membership though.

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