Crash Detection
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseSeptember 16, 2022; 16 months ago (2022-09-16)
Operating systemiOS 16
watchOS 9
PlatformiPhone 14
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch SE (2nd gen)
Apple Watch Ultra

Crash Detection is an Apple Watch and iPhone feature that automatically places an emergency service call when it detects that the device owner has been in a serious collision.


Apple, Inc. introduced Crash Detection on the Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra, and second-generation SE and the iPhone 14 series at an event on September 7, 2022. This came three years later than Google, who had introduced the Car Crash Detection feature on its Pixel 3 smartphone in 2019.[1] The company credits the watch's enhanced gyroscope and accelerometer for making the feature possible, and it also uses data from the watch's barometer, satellite navigation, and microphone features to detect a crash.[2][3] The feature was inspired by past success with Apple's Fall Detection and atrial fibrillation (AFib) detection in the Apple Watch, two executives told TechCrunch, noting that Crash Detection uses multiple inputs to avoid falsely triggering when, for example, an owner accidentally drops their device.[4] In a later interview, Apple head of software Craig Federighi said he was "amazed [by] how many letters we got, within days [of Crash Detection's release], from people who had been in car crashes", some of whom said it saved their lives.[5]

Successful uses

In October 2022, a man credited Crash Detection for saving his life by automatically calling emergency services after his tire blew out while he was driving 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and he crashed into a telephone pole. In a post on Reddit, the crash victim thanked Tim Cook and Apple for having developed the feature.[6] Cook responded hours later, wishing the crash victim well and explaining that the feature was built for incidents like this.[7]

In December 2022, a driver and passenger were saved after their car fell 300 feet (91 m) off the Angeles Crest Highway. Their iPhone 14 automatically detected the crash and called emergency services. The two were not seriously injured and were evacuated by helicopter to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, before being released.[8]

After a crash in Rowella, Tasmania in January 2023, one passenger’s iPhone 14 automatically notified authorities, who were on the scene within 8 minutes. A Ford Ranger pickup truck towing a horse trailer crashed into a tree stump. Five people were injured in the crash and four horses were killed.[9]

In August 2023, 3 suspect teens were found by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office when their car crashed on Lake Hatchineha Road (County Road 542) in Poinciana, Florida. The Polk County deputies and fire rescue crews were responding to a single-vehicle crash from one of the occupants' iPhone.[10][11]

False positives

Crash Detection has triggered during roller coaster rides because devices have mistaken the rides' sudden stops for car crashes.[12][13]

In Minnesota in early 2023, emergency responders in multiple counties reported receiving calls triggered by Crash Detection where no emergency existed, including several from snowmobile riders. A reporter noted that although the iPhone makes a noise before calling authorities, that noise might not be audible through winter clothing or over the sound of a snowmobile engine.[14]

Emergency dispatchers have received many false alarm calls from iPhone 14 and Apple Watch users who have been skiing safely. In Colorado, a wave of false 9-1-1 calls led Aspen Mountain to advise device owners to upgrade their operating systems or disable the feature.[15] In Japan's Hida Mountains, emergency dispatchers reported 134 false emergency calls, more than 14% of the total emergency call volume, between December 16, 2022 and January 23, 2023, attributed to Crash Detection triggering while iPhone 14 owners were skiing.[16]

In addressing the occurrence of false positives, iOS underwent six optimizations to Crash Detection, while in contrast, watchOS received only 1. The most recent iteration of iOS Crash Detection was introduced in iOS 17.3,[17] while the watchOS counterpart received its latest Crash Detection optimization featured within the framework of watchOS 9.2.[18]


  1. ^ Schoon, Ben (October 4, 2023). "Google Pixel phones feature Car Crash Detection like iPhone 14 and Apple Watch; how to turn it on". 9to5Google. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  2. ^ "Apple reveals Apple Watch Series 8 and the new Apple Watch SE". Apple Newsroom (Press release). September 7, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  3. ^ Ortiz, Sabrina (September 7, 2022). "Apple announces a new life-saving feature -- Crash Detection". ZDNet. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  4. ^ Heater, Brian (October 10, 2022). "Apple offers a deeper dive into crash detection". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  5. ^ Grothaus, Michael. "Exclusive: Apple software chief Craig Federighi on iOS 17's new privacy features, why he's afraid of AI, and why he's not". Fast Company. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  6. ^ Gibbs, Alice (October 18, 2022). "Man in 'life or death' 70mph car crash credits Apple Watch for saving him". Newsweek. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  7. ^ Siegal, Jacob (October 19, 2022). "Man says Apple Watch saved his life in brutal car crash, and photos show the aftermath". BGR. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  8. ^ Melnick, Kyle (December 20, 2022). "A couple's car fell 300 feet. A new iPhone feature aided their rescue". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  9. ^ "Five people injured, four horses dead as phone's crash detection brings authorities to scene in eight minutes". ABC News. 2023-01-29. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  10. ^ "IPhone crash detection helps Polk deputies find 3 teens injured in stolen car wreck". 31 August 2023.
  11. ^ "3 teens injured after crashing stolen vehicle in Polk County: Deputies". September 2023.
  12. ^ "iPhone 14's Car Crash Detection Feature is Calling 911 About Roller Coaster Rides". Gizmodo. 2022-10-10. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  13. ^ Stern, Joanna (2022-10-09). "'The Owner of This iPhone Was in a Severe Car Crash'—or Just on a Roller Coaster". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  14. ^ Kraker, Dan (January 9, 2023). "Apple devices trigger false calls for winter rescues in Minnesota". MPR News. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  15. ^ Richtel, Matt (February 3, 2023). "'My Watch Thinks I'm Dead'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  16. ^ "Japan Skiers' Smartphones Making Unnecessary Emergency Calls". The Japan News. The Yomiuri Shimbun. January 29, 2023. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  17. ^ "About iOS 17 Updates". Apple Support. 2024-01-22. Retrieved 2024-02-07.
  18. ^ "About watchOS 9 Updates". Apple Support. 2023-10-25. Retrieved 2023-10-26.