iPhones and Apple Watches might soon call for help if you're in a car crash

Apple Iphone 13 Pro Colors
Apple Iphone 13 Pro Colors (Image credit: 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.

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.