Apple Iphone 13 Pro ColorsSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • iPhones and Apple Watches could soon be able to call emergency services if they think someone has been involved in a car accident.
  • A new report says the feature could roll out next year.

Apple plans for iPhones and Apple Watches to be capable of automatically calling for help when someone is involved in a car accident, according to a new report. Apple Watches can already detect falls and call emergency services if required, but this new feature would extend that to iPhones and car crashes.

A new Wall Street Journal report claims that Apple is working on the feature, dubbed "crash detection," for a launch next year.

Apple Inc. plans next year to roll out a product feature called "crash detection" for iPhones and Apple Watches, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the feature.

The feature appears to work in a similar way to fall detection, with devices monitoring for a sudden change in gravitational forces often caused by an impact.

While the WSJ report says that the timeline could change, or Apple could can the feature completely, it does say that the company has been working on crash detection for a year already.

Apple has been testing the crash-detection feature in the past year by collecting data shared anonymously from iPhone and Apple Watch users, the documents show. Apple products have already detected more than 10 million suspected vehicle impacts, of which more than 50,000 included a call to 911.

It isn't immediately clear whether crash detection would be a feature reserved for new hardware or if a software update for existing devices would suffice, however.

Fall detection is already one of the best Apple Watch features that everyone hopes they'll never need. We'll have to wait and see whether crash detection follows suit. Some cars already offer similar functionality, but bringing crash detection to iPhones and Apple Watches would open the functionality to everyone in every car, no matter the brand.