Apple's Crash Detection feature is triggering false 911 calls from snowmobiling

Introducing Crash Detection | iPhone 14 Pro | Apple
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's new Crash Detection feature is getting turned on by accident and initiating false 911 calls to emergency services.

As reported by MPR News in Minnesota, the feature, which launched with the new iPhone 14 lineup, Apple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch Series 8, is kicking off false alarm 911 calls. The report specifically calls out a number of instances where snowmobiling or skiing has kicked off accidental calls to emergency services despite no such crash or accident occurring.

The feature, which is designed to automatically call emergency services in the event of a car crash, has been causing concern due to the large number of false alarms it has been generating.

The false alarms have been causing significant problems for emergency services, as they have been inundated with calls that turn out to be non-emergencies. This is concerning officials who worry that such false alarms could lead to delays in response times for genuine emergencies.

One official said that “it was taking up a lot of time in our dispatch center, and if they can’t verify that it’s false, then they have to send deputies out, and it’s a lot of stress on our office, being that we’re a small office in the first place, to go and track some of these calls down."

Apple needs to fix this fast

It remains to be seen how Apple will address the issue, but it is clear that the company will need to find a solution quickly in order to prevent further problems for emergency services and to restore trust in the feature.

The issues have been reported before. Soon after launch, Crash Detection was going off for people riding roller coasters. Apple has since released a software update to address that particular issue, but it seems that even more updates are needed in order to properly handle these other false activations.

Apple has explained that the feature is specifically designed for certain vehicle types, so it's unclear why the feature is being activated for all of these different situations. As Apple explains, the feature will automatically detect a car crash (in certain vehicle types) and call emergency services using both your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple says that "with a new dual-core accelerometer capable of detecting G-force measurements of up to 256Gs and a new high dynamic range gyroscope, Crash Detection on iPhone can now detect a severe car crash and automatically dial emergency services when a user is unconscious or unable to reach their iPhone."

Crash Detection is currently available on the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Ultra.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.