Apple’s new Crash Detection feature has a pretty unexpected flaw, as some owners have learned when they visit an amusement park. The new feature, which is supposed to alert authorities when it detects you’ve been in a car accident, has dialed 911 on rollercoasters. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the feature has sent police to amusement parks on numerous occasions after mistaking the ride’s twists and turns for a real emergency.
Apple rolled out Crash Detection with its new iPhone 14, Watch Series 8, SE and Ultra last month. The new feature has a gyroscopic sensor and high-g accelerometer trained on the impact experienced with simulated car crashes. If the sensors detect that you’ve been in an accident, your iPhone will display an alert and call emergency services if you don’t dismiss it within 20 seconds. When it calls law enforcement, it will play an audio message that alerts authorities you’ve been in a crash along with your location.
In a tweet yesterday (October 9) by WSJ reporter Joanna Stern, she shared an example of one of the 911 calls placed while an iPhone 14’s owner was strapped to a rollercoaster at Cincinnati’s Kings Island amusement park. As the automated message plays, you can hear muffled screams in the background as the rollercoaster runs its course. Six other emergency calls were triggered by park rides at King’s Island.
Since the iPhone 14 went on sale, the 911 dispatch center near Kings Island amusement park has received at least six phones calls saying:— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) October 9, 2022
“The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash...”
Except, the owner was just on a roller coaster.
🆕 by me: https://t.co/hp1fHZBIf6 pic.twitter.com/i0lZPoWzGz
For those with the devices equipped with Crash Detection, be sure to turn your phone on airplane mode when engaging in high velocity activities such as rollercoaster rides. You can also disable the feature off your iPhone 14 by:
- Open the Settings app
- Select “Emergency SOS”
- Scroll down to “Crash Detection”
- Toggle “Call After Severe Crash” off: A warning will appear telling the user that the feature will be disabled. This setting is tied to the Apple Watch Crash Detection setting, so toggling it off on iPhone toggles the feature off on Apple Watch also.
If a person only has their Apple Watch, the following settings will disable the feature:
- Open the Settings app
- Scroll down and select “SOS”
- Select “Call after Severe Crash”
- Toggle the setting off, then accept the warning to turn off Crash Detection. Crash Detection must be manually re-enabled for it to function again. It isn’t toggled by other system settings like Low Power Mode, so this must be toggled using one of the above methods.