Festival-goers found that they were causing chaos for emergency responders after it turned out that their iPhones thought that they were dancing too much.
During this year’s Bonaroo Festival, it's reported that were about five times the number of false 911 calls than average, although Director of Coffee County 911 Communication Center Scott LeDuc did at least confirm that the calls don't seem to have impacted responders' ability to do their jobs.
It's thought that the iPhone's Crash Detection feature was to blame, with phones calling for emergency services because people's dancing was enough to make them think a collision had occurred.
False crash detection
WKRN reports that 911 calls were triggered at a rate previously unseen, with alerts sent to people in the area in an attempt to get them to turn off the Crash Detection feature. Doing so did appear to reduce the number of calls emergency workers received. “It probably reduced it 40 to 60%,” LeDuc told the news outlet.
“Our employees really stepped up, as first responders always do really step up in the line of duty and they did,” LeDuc said. “And we didn’t have any situation where we couldn’t help someone because of the amount of calls.”
Crash Detection is a feature that's baked into the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro as well as the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. It's designed to call for emergency services when the owner is unable to, but it's been known to place false calls since it was introduced in late 2022. Apple has tweaked the system in an attempt to reduce unwanted calls, but it would appear that there is still a way to go.
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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.