The iPhone 14’s Car Crash Detection System Keeps Calling 911 During Roller Coaster Rides


When it was introduced in September, Apple made a big deal of its latest iPhone’s ability to detect car crashes and automatically contact emergency services. Now, though, reports suggest that the feature is prone to false positives.

The Wall Street Journal recently spoke to Sara White, a 39-year-old dentist who recently spent a day at the Kings Island amusement park near Cincinnati, Ohio, with her family. While there, she zipped her new iPhone 14 into her fanny pack before heading onto the Mystic Timbers roller coaster.

Although she thought she was being conscientious by trying to keep her phone secure and prevent it from potentially hitting someone, the combination of it being stowed away and being surrounded by loud noises meant that, when the roller coaster triggered the emergency alert on her phone, she didn’t notice in time to stop the call.

Read More: Apple iPhone 14 Lineup Debuts With New Car Crash Detection Feature And Satellite SOS Function

When she finally looked at her phone, she saw that she had missed several calls and a voicemail from an emergency dispatcher asking her if she was okay. Although they heard the sounds of an amusement park in the background, emergency responders were forced to send a team out to White to make sure she was okay.

Of course, first responders don’t like it when they receive false alerts because it’s a waste of resources and could make it harder to respond to real emergencies. But they aren’t the only people who are occasionally being needlessly put on high alert by Apple‘s new function.

The newspaper also spoke to Douglas Sonders, a motorcycle rider whose iPhone 14 flew off its handlebar mount in September and went tumbling onto the street. In this case, too, the phone said it detected a crash.

While that’s a fair assumption given the circumstances, Sonders couldn’t find the phone and could not, therefore, cancel the emergency alerts that the iPhone 14 also sends to an owner’s emergency contacts. Following the incident, the rider’s girlfriend, Gabriel Kennedy, was contacted via text and told that his “iPhone detected a crash.”

“I was freaking out. I was thinking the worst,” said Kennedy. “My best friend passed away in a car accident […] It brought me right back there.”

Apple says that this new feature is very accurate but, as more and more iPhone 14s make it onto the market, it seems inevitable that situations like these will grow more common. The company, though, says that it will continue to improve the feature.

In the meantime, people going on roller coasters and participating in other high G activities can turn the feature off in their settings, though it is on by default.


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