Apple’s iPhone 14 and Apple Watch ‘Crash Detection’ feature making accidental emergency calls isn’t entirely new.
Following the feature falsely detecting crashes when the wearer is riding a roller coaster, it was discovered that Crash Detection also sometimes gives false positives when the user participates in winter sports like skiing. Now, as reported by The Globe and Mail, instances of false alarms rung by the feature have also been reported in Canada.
According to the publication, at least four false reports occurred during the week of December 15th.
For those unaware, Apple introduced Crash Detection alongside the iPhone 14 series at its latest fall hardware event. The feature is only available with the iPhone 14 series, the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE (2022). It alerts nearby authorities when it detects that you’ve been in a crash.
In one of the false alarms, an iPhone stashed in the glove box of a snowmobile in British Columbia’s backcountry alerted authorities, and an exhaustive search involving the RCMP and a helicopter ensued. It’s estimated the search cost Canadian tax payer’s roughly $10,000.
“The following day, Golden and District Search and Rescue received two more emergency calls related to Apple Inc.’s new crash detection system,” reads The Globe and Mail’s report. “A similar thing happened on Saturday near Rossland, B.C., where police believe a skier’s phone mistakenly called for help.”
Apple’s iOS 16.1.2 update includes “Crash Detection optimizations.” It’s currently unknown how much the update helps prevent false positives.
Crash Detection is turned on by default. You can turn off alerts and automatic emergency calls from Apple after a severe car crash in Settings > Emergency SOS, then turn off Call After Severe Crash.