Skiers and snowboarders equipped with Apple Smart Watches unintentionally call 911 for Fall-Detection. According to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, this led to a “massive increase in unintentional 911 calls.”
The Spokesman-Review reports that “Apple watches spur ‘dramatic’ increase in 911 calls at Schweitzer Mountain, according to the sheriff’s office.” On a Facebook post, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office stated:
“Last Saturday, nearly 30% of our 911 calls were unintentional 911 calls from people enjoying activities on Schweitzer Mountain,”
They also added that:
“treat each 911 call as an emergency until we can verify otherwise. These unintentional 911 calls can take emergency resources away from true emergencies somewhere else in the county.”
It is not the first time that Apple’s detection technology has resulted in false emergency calls; in the past, Apple Car detection has wrongly identified a roller coaster ride as a major car accident and called 911 multiple times.
Apple watches and the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro are equipped with fall detection technology. Apple claims that if the watch detects movement, it prompts the user to reply, sends an alert message if no answer is received, and then automatically dials 911 within 20 seconds. If a user is 55 or older, fall detection is enabled automatically. Users as young as 18 may manually activate fall detection.
Apple Watch and iPhone 14 and 14 Pro users who want to engage in such activities are recommended to alter their settings. The feature may be temporarily disabled by switching to Airplane Mode or by accessing Settings-> Emergency SOS-> Call After Severe Crash and turning it off.