Be careful, your iPhone can call the police when you’re skiing

Apple’s collision detection causes problems on the ski slopes. How do you prevent Accident Registration from notifying the emergency services by mistake?

Your iPhone and your Apple Watch wants to take care of you, but sometimes these devices are overzealous. To try to save your life in the event of a car accident, these can prevent the preparedness for you. But sometimes this emergency system is accidentally triggered. One moment you’re skiing on the slopes, the next you’re explaining to the police that no, you’re not in danger.

Apple’s collision detection causes problems on the ski slopes

The standard function here is of course Crash Detection, which is found in the iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, as well as the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE. The system analyzes your surroundings to determine whether you are in a serious accident. The devices account for frontal, side, rear and rollover impacts, according to Apple. Unfortunately, the set is a bit too sensitive.

KSL reports several cases of accident registration, not due to car accidents, but simply for users who were skiing. According to the local emergency services, their services are alerted three to five times a day for this false reason.

Apple thought and designed Crash Detection with a buffer period. When your iPhone or Apple Watch detects an accident, you have 20 seconds to tell whether you have actually been involved in an accident. When skiing, you will likely miss the 20-second window and help will be alerted.

And the police are not the only ones who need to be warned. If you have defined emergency contacts, your iPhone or Apple Watch will also notify them by sending them your location. They might then wonder how a car accident can happen in the middle of a ski area, but hey…

This is not the first time that Accident Detection has been caught in this way. Apple had already had to install a patch after iPhone owners saw their device contact emergency services during a roller coaster ride. A further example therefore that any high speed activity, or at least significant variations in speed, can trigger the system.

Having said that, you probably don’t want your trip to the mountains to be constantly interrupted by emergency services either. If you know you’re going skiing, you can disable the feature’s auto-dial. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Emergency Calls, then turn off “Call for Serious Accident.” To turn off the feature on your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone, select “Emergency calls” and disable “Call after serious accident”. Remember to reactivate the system before returning to your vehicle.

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