Apple reveals the one thing you shouldn’t do if your iPhone accidentally calls 911

iPhone 14 Review
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Apple has changed its stance on what people should do if their iPhone or Apple Watch calls emergency services when they aren't needed.

The iPhone 14, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra all support Crash Detection — a feature that can detect when someone has been in a car crash and then call for emergency services automatically. But it's a feature that's caused more than a few unrequited calls to go into call centers around the world and Apple has changed what it wants people to do if they find themselves initiating a call that they don't need.

Don't cancel the call, Apple says. Even if you're perfectly fine.

Faux crashes detected

Ever since Crash Detection launched there have been reports of rollercoasters and skiing falls causing it to trigger, calling emergency services as a result. Apple previously told users to "tap Cancel and confirm that you don't need emergency services" if they didn't need help. But it's now changed that wording.

The change, which was made to a support document and spotted by MacRumors, now tells people that they should let the call connect and explain the situation.

"If the call has been made, but you don't need emergency services, don't hang up," Apple says. "Wait until a responder answers, then explain that you don't need help."

It appears that Apple wants to ensure service responders are not left wondering if the call dropped by accident and whether someone is hurt. By canceling the call people were leaving things open-ended. By letting the call connect, they can explain that a false call was placed and that no assistance is required.

Apple has been tweaking its Crash Detection system to try and prevent false emergency calls, but some are sure to get through. The feature is only available on the best Apple Watches and iPhones to date, but as it trickles down to more handsets we can surely expect even more calls to be made to emergency services in error.

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.