Apple Crash Detection Feature Can Be Triggered by Rollercoaster Rides: Report

Apple’s new Crash Detection feature, available on iPhone 14 and the company’s latest Apple Watch models, is designed to automatically contact emergency services in the event of a severe car crash.  However, it can sometimes mistake a rollercoaster ride for a car crash (via Reddit).

One Reddit user found this out the hard way when they visited a Six Flags location over the weekend.

“I had my new 14 Pro in my (zippered) pocket this weekend at Six Flags, and while I was sitting on the final break run of Joker (A ride built by a manufacturer known for more intense forces), I got a crash alert on my Apple Watch,” said Rationalspace787 on Reddit.

iPhone 14 models, Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch SE (2nd-generation) all use an improved 3-axis gyroscope and a new high g-force accelerometer to look for signs of a car crash.

They automatically notify emergency services and contacts if they detect the user has been in a car crash — unless the user dismisses the crash alert and marks themselves safe.

While talking about Crash Detection during the “Far Out” product launch event earlier this month, Apple said the feature also uses data from a barometric pressure sensor to detect pressure changes consistent with those caused by airbag deployment.

A rollercoaster ride likely would not exhibit the same pressure changes as a vehicle airbag going off. It looks like Apple has some more work to do on Crash Detection to dial the feature in.

“Luckily I dismissed it before it dialed out, but it was unnerving to say the least!” the Reddit user continued.

“I have a Series 7 [Apple Watch], so the crash detection must have been detected on my phone, and the watch just alerted me it was happening. If I hadn’t had the watch on, it would have dialed in my pocket while I was still on the ride.”

Another user chimed in to say the feature also went off when they were using a rollercoaster as well.

As for how Apple could avoid these false positives that can startle users and family members when they trigger? A shortcut to temporarily disable Crash Detection for a certain time period or based on location would be a start, say these users.