Apple investigating major iPhone 14 and Apple Watch flaw

iPhone 14 Review
(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

Apple is reportedly looking into reports that its iPhone 14 Crash Detection feature is triggering 911 calls by mistake when people are out skiing.

Crash Detection is supposed to alert emergency services when a person is involved in a severe car crash, but there are reports of false alerts that are being triggered when Apple Watch and iPhone 14 users go skiing — with emergency services receiving calls as a result.

The issue has been so bad that Apple has now reportedly reached out to emergency workers to ask for their feedback on the feature.

One report out of The Seattle Times claims that Apple Watches have triggered a “dramatic increase in unintentional 911 calls,” citing the Bonner County, Idaho, Sheriff’s Office. One Facebook post by the Sheriff’s Office claims that “last Saturday, nearly 30% of our 911 calls were unintentional 911 calls from people enjoying activities on Schweitzer Mountain.”

But that doesn’t necessarily match with what some emergency workers are experiencing. “I think we’ve seen a few in general. But it’s not to the point where we have any concerns over it,” said Rick Anderson, a 911 call handler for Stevens County. “It’s nothing we even worry about,” he added.

iPhone 14, under investigation

The New York Post has its own tale, saying that Upstate New York’s Greene County 911 center saw a 22% increase in “hang-ups, open lines, and misdialed 911 calls last December compared to December 2021.” Those types of calls are being attributed to Apple’s newest devices calling for help when it isn’t needed.

“When an automated call comes in, dispatchers will try to get someone on the phone to verify that there’s no real emergency,” the New York Post says.

Help might finally be at hand, however. The same report claims that Apple confirmed that it is “in touch with 911 call centers that are currently experiencing a spike in automated 911 calls due to the crash detection feature, and getting their feedback.”

Apple added crash detection to its latest and best iPhones, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro in September of 2022. It also brought the feature to Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. 

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.