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iPhone Crash Detection feature still triggering false Emergency Calls, over 130 in the Japanese Alps in a month

Updated Jan 31st, 2023 11:56AM EST
iPhone 14 crash detection feature in action. iOS 16.1.2
Image: Apple

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One of the iPhone 14 new features is Crash Detection. Apple claims its accelerometer, alongside a high-dynamic range gyroscope, can detect whether someone has been in a car crash accident. When it does, the iPhone automatically dials emergency services if the user can’t reach their iPhone.

Apple says the iPhone 14 uses the barometer, which can now detect cabin pressure changes, the GPS for additional input for speed changes, and the microphone, which can recognize loud noises typified by severe car crashes, to detect if the user has been in an accident.

Unfortunately, a report by The Wall Street Journal last year said roller coasters were triggering Crash Detection and becoming a headache to authorities. A few weeks later, in November, Apple released iOS 16.1.2 to address these issues and optimize the new feature.

While the company thought it had addressed all the issues, Japanese Alps emergency services (via 9to5Mac) would say otherwise, as between December 16 and January 23, the local authorities received 134 false calls, “mainly” from the iPhone 14 Crash Detection system incorrectly triggering it as users go down the ski slopes.

In total, the Fire Department Kita-Alps Nagano received 919 emergency calls, and almost 10% were fake. The Japan News reports what could have caused these false calls:

The system is believed to have activated when a smartphone user fell or collided with someone else while skiing or snowboarding.

The department usually calls the number to check the situation when it receives an automated alert but there is no follow-up from the smartphone’s user. If the user does not answer, the department calls again sometime later, which puts a burden on operations

A local authority warns users that if they realize they made a false call, they should inform the person who answered of the mistake. In addition, they ask people to answer the return call.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is said to be “engaging with local emergency services who are facing regular erroneous Crash Detection calls in an attempt to mitigate the issue further.”

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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