The crash detection feature of the iPhone 14 and the latest Apple Watches is starting to tap into the emergency services system, which continually receives false alerts. Apple claims to be working on a fix.
With the new iPhone 14, Apple can save your life! This is the message that the firm sends to consumers in order to sell them its new smartphones and Apple Watch, which integrate the car accident detection function. This allows the device to independently contact the emergency services in order to call for help if the user is unable to do so himself. A function that has already proven itself and saved lives, but which is a little too inclined to sound the alarm. Indeed, rescue centers have received many false alerts since the release of Apple’s new devices, in particular from users on roller coasters or skiing. In the event of a fall or strong jolt, the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2nd generation and Apple Watch Ultra ask for help. Result: the emergency services are overwhelmed and cannot devote themselves to real emergencies.
Apple accident detection: automatic calls that sow chaos
This influx of false positives leads to an overload of calls for the rescue centers. Some of them have even asked users of iPhone 14 and Apple’s latest smartwatches to deactivate the function during certain activities – just in case, skiing. Indeed, processing and verifying automatic calls is a huge waste of time and resources that could be put to much better use. For example, as reported by New York Postthe 911 center in Greene County, upstate New York in the United States, is located near a ski resort and noted a 22% increase in calls compared to December 2021. other areas report a 15-25% increase in calls due to the feature.
This is all the more problematic since, when the user does not respond, a rescue team is obliged to go on site in order to eliminate any risk, in the event that it is a real emergency. As Shawn Datesman, director of operations for 911 in Monroe County in the United States, explains, near several ski resorts, calls from iPhones and Apple Watches are impossible to ignore: “You can’t assume that nothing is happening and everyone is fine”. Yes, impossible to know if the person fell from his buttocks or if he fell into a crevasse…
iPhone 14 emergency calls: Apple promises a fix… for the second time
The accident detection function is based on various sensors integrated into the devices, in particular the accelerometer and the gyroscope which make it possible to detect the movements of the mobile. When the function is activated, the iPhone or Apple Watch displays a notification on the screen of the device accompanied by a sound signal for the user to manifest. Suffice to say that it is very easy to miss them when your smartphone is at the bottom of your backpack and you are focused on something else. Without response from its owner, it automatically contacts the emergency services by broadcasting an automatic message indicating an emergency and communicating the GPS coordinates. The rescue team then goes to the scene.
Apple told the New York Post that it is currently working on a fix and has reached out to centers that are recording an outburst of false alerts in a bid to build on first responder testimonials to improve crash detection. , without giving more details. As a reminder, the firm had already made updates to correct the problem at the end of November with iOS 16.1.2, but that was apparently not enough. This time, it has committed to finding an effective solution by the end of the first quarter of 2023. We can therefore expect a new iOS update before the end of March.