Apple is leading the rescue
The crash detection feature of the iPhone 14 and the latest Apple Watches is starting to log into the emergency services system, which is constantly receiving false alerts. Apple claims to be working on a fix.
With the new iPhone 14, Apple can save your life! That’s the message the company is sending to consumers to sell its new smartphones and the Apple Watch, which combines car crash detection. This allows the device to independently contact emergency services to call for help if the user is unable to do so himself. A feature that has already proven itself and saved lives, but is a little prone to alarming. Indeed, rescue centers have received many false alarms following the release of Apple’s new devices, particularly from users on roller coasters or skiing. In the event of a fall or strong shock, iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2nd generation and Apple Watch Ultra ask for help. The result: emergency services are overburdened and unable to devote themselves to real emergencies.
Apple crash detection: robocalls causing chaos
This influx of false positives is causing many calls to rescue centers. Some of them have even asked users of the iPhone 14 and Apple’s latest smartwatches to turn off the feature during certain activities while skiing. Indeed, handling and screening automated calls is a huge waste of time and resources that could be put to better use. For example, according to the New York Post, a 911 center in Greene County, New York, located near a ski resort, reported a 22% increase in calls since December 2021. Other areas are reporting. 15-25% increase in calls per feature.
This is even more problematic because if the user does not respond, in the event of a real emergency, a rescue team is obliged to go to the scene to eliminate any risk. As Shawn Datesman, director of operations for 911 in Monroe County, USA, explains, calls from iPhones and Apple Watches near several ski resorts are impossible to ignore: “You can’t assume that nothing is happening and that everyone is okay”. Yes, it’s impossible to know if a person fell off their hip or fell into a crevasse…
iPhone 14 emergency calls: Apple promises a second fix
The crash detection feature relies on various sensors integrated into the devices, in particular the accelerometer and gyroscope, which allow detecting the movements of the mobile. When the feature is activated, the iPhone or Apple Watch displays a notification on the device screen accompanied by a beep for the user to identify himself. Suffice to say, it’s very easy to miss them when your smartphone is at the bottom of your backpack and you’re focused on something else. Without receiving a response from the owner, it automatically contacts emergency services by broadcasting an automatic message announcing an emergency and relaying GPS coordinates. Then rescuers go to the scene.
Apple told the New York Post that it is currently working on a fix and has reached out to centers that track the spread of false alerts to build on feedback from first responders to improve crash detection. Recall that the company released updates to fix the problem with iOS 16.1.2 at the end of November, but apparently it was not enough. This time, he committed to finding an effective solution by the end of the first quarter of 2023. So we can expect a new iOS update by the end of March.