iPhone 14's hapless Crash Detection feature tweaked in new iOS update

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

Apple's Crash Detection system, built into every iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, has a bad reputation right now. It has the potential to save lives, but some emergency workers have already accused it of calling for help too readily. Now Apple appears to be trying to fix that via software updates.

The release notes for iOS 16.3.1 confirm that this update adds tweaks to how Apple's best iPhones handle crashes, potentially ensuring that fewer false positives result in calls to emergency services.

What's your emergency?

Whenever an iPhone detects a crash, it calls emergency services if it doesn't receive a response from a human within 20 seconds. But we've already heard reports of people's iPhones thinking people have been in a crash when they haven't.

Some calls have been triggered while people were skiing, for example. Others report that calls have been placed to emergency services simply because an iPhone fell off a car's dashboard. None of this is good news for emergency workers who are already busy with real emergencies. Now, it looks like Apple is working to try and reduce the workload.

"Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models," Apple's iOS 16.3.1 release notes rather starkly say. Unfortunately, there are no more details as to what that means. Still, it doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility that Apple is taking its Crash Detection systems to ensure fewer false positives. Hopefully, without introducing the opposite — iPhones that don't call for help even though it's needed.

The new iOS 16.3.1 update is available for download now, and we suggest installing it as soon as possible, especially if you enjoy activities that might otherwise make the iPhone think you've been in a crash when you thankfully haven't.

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.