According to 9to5Mac, Apple iPhone 14 has added a “car accident detection” feature. This means that if the phone detects that the user has been in a serious car accident, it will call emergency services. However, since the phone’s release, false alarms have been happening.
Every false call places an undue burden on local emergency services. In this latest incident, emergency services in the Northern Alps of Nagano Prefecture, Japan, say they received 134 false alarms between December 16 and January 23, primarily due to the iPhone 14 crash detection system being incorrectly triggered while users were skiing.
Overall, Japanese emergency services received a total of 919 calls during the month, which means that the approximately 100 false alarms caused by the iPhone crash detection feature accounted for more than one-tenth of their workload.
In addition, false alarms from iPhone crash detection during winter sports have been reported across the United States. Another high incidence of false alarms was triggered by roller coasters. This may be because the high speeds and crashes involved in these activities can easily be confused by the algorithm as a pattern of driving and car crashes.
When the iPhone thinks a crash has occurred, it starts a countdown on the user’s device (accompanied by a loud warning alert) before automatically calling emergency services, and the user can choose to cancel the process. However, during activities such as roller coasters or skiing, users may not hear the alert and therefore not be aware that the situation is occurring and will not cancel the call.
Sources say Apple is working with local emergency services to further mitigate this issue. iOS 16.1.2 release notes in late December showed that Apple added “crash detection optimization” to iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models.
Of course, in addition to false alarms, there have been numerous incidents where crash detection has worked as expected and helped save lives. Just today, ABC reported that iPhone’s crash detection alerted emergency services to a car accident in Australia, allowing police to arrive on the scene just eight minutes after the accident.