Apple Provides New Details in Response to WSJ’s Crash Detection Test

In response to a video published by The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern testing the Crash Detection feature in the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra, Apple has now provided some new information on how it works (via MacRumors).

Crash

The test, in which Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard, found mixed results with the iPhone and Apple Watch only detecting some of the crashes.

According to Apple, the result of the testing conditions in the junkyard failed to provide enough “signals” to trigger the feature every time. The company says Crash Detection relies on “advanced Apple-designed motion algorithms trained with over a million hours of real-world driving and crash record data.”

Here’s how Apple responded to Stern when he contacted them with the results:

A company spokesman said that the testing conditions in the junkyard didn’t provide enough signals to the iPhone to trigger the feature in the stopped cars. It wasn’t connected to Bluetooth or CarPlay, which would have indicated the car was in use, and the vehicles might not have traveled enough distance prior to the crash to indicate driving.

Had the iPhone received those extra indicators—and had its GPS shown the cars were on a real road—the likelihood of an alert would have been greater, he said.

Crash detection is enabled by default on the following devices:

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch SE (second generation)
  • Apple Watch Ultra

The feature can be found in the Settings app under Emergency SOS > Call After Severe Crash and is not available on older iPhone and Apple Watch models.