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iPhone 14 crash detection alert was triggered by a rollercoaster ride, says report

WSJ reports that iPhone 14 Crash Detection call was set off by a rollercoaster ride.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on
iPhone 14 and iPhone14 Plus next to each other.
Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Crash Detection on the iPhone 14 is only meant to call emergency services when it detects you've been in a crash, but apparently hopping on a rollercoaster has triggered the action too. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Apple emergency feature placed a call to the Warren County Communications Center from one owner's iPhone 14 – with the microphone on, which captured background noise – while she was on a rollercoaster ride in an Ohio-based fun park.

The automated voice message repeated seven times: "The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash and is not responding to their phone."

Responders did turn up to the location reported by the iPhone 14 Pro, but didn't identify an emergency scene. The owner realized her phone had placed the emergency call later, when she was queuing for a dodgem car ride. 

Also: iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Is the newest iPhone worth the upgrade?

Apple released the feature with the new iPhone 14, Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra, and SE. 

According to the report, the Warren County Communications Center has received six false alarms since Apple released the iPhone 14 last month. 

The feature kicks in after the device's sensors detect a possible crash, similar to the Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature. When the alarm is triggered, the user should see a warning on the screen for 10 seconds, followed by a 10-second countdown to the call that's then placed with 911 along with an alarm sound.   

Crash detection relies on the device's new f-force accelerometer, the barometer and microphone, which combine with motion algorithms. The motion algorithms were developed through head-on, rear-end, side-impact, and rollover crash tests, trained on one million hours of real-world driving and crash data, according to Apple

The Apple Watch Fall Detection feature has been credited with saving lives and its EKG monitor has also been useful for people with previously unseen heart conditions. Apple does offer settings to manage Crash Detection on iPhone 14 models. Crash Detection is on by default but users can disable the feature via Settings > Emergency SOS, and then turning off Call After Severe Crash. 

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