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'My Watch Regularly Thinks I've Had An Accident:' Apple Crash Detection Technology Is Overwhelming Some 911 Centers Apple released even more sensitive crash detection technology in 2022, but it's run into some bumps during ski season.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Courtesy company
Apple crash detection.

Ski season has a new character: unnecessary 911 calls.

As skiers with updated Apple Crash Detection and emergency response technology take to the slopes, nearby 911 call centers have been flooded with false emergency calls.

While Apple's tech is intended to detect a crash and then automatically alert authorities, the latest version, which was introduced in September, seems to have an issue with false alarms while users are skiing with the iPhone 14s or Apple Watches, per The New York Times.

"My whole day is managing crash notifications," one emergency services worker, Trina Dummer of Summit County, Colorado, which contains popular ski resorts like Breckenridge and Keystone, told the outlet.

Apple told Entrepreneur it has brought down the rate of mistaken crash detection with recent software updates, which users need to update their devices to access — and that it has more on the way.

In addition, the company said that it is continuing to work with 911 call-processing facilities on Crash Detection and even that the company has provided training materials and webinars.

Related: A Couple Survived After Their Car Tumbled 300 Feet Into a California Canyon. They Had No Cell Service But Were Rescued After Their iPhone Detected the Fall.

Dummer told the NYT her center had 185 false Apple-related calls in mid-January in one week — twice the number of calls the facility would normally receive in that timeframe.

Apple introduced the first version of this type of technology in 2018 with Apple Watches called Fall Detection. The idea was it could tell if a wearer had a major fall, then could call emergency services.

At its yearly product event in September, Apple introduced Crash Detection, which has a new gyroscope and accelerometer for detecting higher amounts of G-force, company executives told TechCrunch. The technology comes with all the new iPhone 14s.

Related: Apple Event: New iPhone 14s Won't Have Sim Cards, New Apple Watches Unveiled

After setting off the detector, the phone screen says "crash detected" and gives 10 seconds to continue with the call or cancel it. If it does not get an answer, it gives another 10 seconds, but this time with "loud whoops to get your attention," while vibrating or tapping (on Apple Watches), per Apple Support.

However, Brett Loeb, an emergency services communications official in the Aspen area, told the NYT that people don't seem to notice the alerts while skiing.

"A lot of people don't feel it or hear it," he told the outlet. He added that Aspen Mountain has put up signs to let people with the latest iPhone or an Apple Watch know that they could create false 911-calls, and to either upgrade to an improved version or turn off crash detection.

Another official in Summit County told Fox Business that a team of Apple employees had come to the area and attempted to ameliorate the issue from a software perspective.

But the problem hasn't just been ski resorts. One woman, Stacey Torman, who works at Salesforce in London and is also a spin class instructor, told the NYT that vigorous motions in her classes like pumping her fists and waving her arms have set off her device.

"My watch regularly thinks I've had an accident," she told the outlet. It's also been set off by rollercoaster riders, per the Wall Street Journal.

One couple said in December that Crash Detection likely saved their lives after a crash into Monkey Canyon in California.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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