Apple this week posted a video explaining how to use the new car crash detection feature enabled by default on all iPhone 14 models, the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch Ultra, and the second-generation Apple Watch SE.
In addition to posting the video, Apple also published a new support document. Apple says the crash detection feature is designed to detect severe car crashes, including head-on impact, side-impact, rear-end collisions, and rollovers. Apple warns users that the feature cannot detect all crashes.
If a severe car crash is detected, users will interact with the Apple Watch if they are wearing one. Otherwise, users can interact with the iPhone.
How Crash Detection on your iPhone and Apple Watch works
Crash Detection is designed to detect severe car crashes—such as front-impact, side-impact, and rear-end collisions, and rollovers—involving sedans, minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and other passenger cars.
When a severe car crash is detected, your iPhone or Apple Watch sounds an alarm and displays an alert1.
- Your iPhone reads the alert, in case you can’t see the screen. If you have only your phone, the screen displays an Emergency Call slider and your phone can call emergency services.
- Your Apple Watch chimes and taps your wrist, and checks in with you on the screen. If you have only your watch, the screen displays an Emergency Call slider. If you have a watch with cellular or your watch is connected to Wi-Fi, it can call emergency services.
- If you have your iPhone and Apple Watch, the Emergency Call slider appears only on your watch, and the call is connected and the call audio plays from your watch.
- If you’re able, you can choose to call emergency services or dismiss the alert.
- If you’re unable to respond, your device automatically calls emergency services after a 20-second delay.
- If you’ve added emergency contacts, your device sends a message to share your location and let them know that you’ve been in a severe car crash.
- If you’ve set up your Medical ID, your device displays a Medical ID slider, so that emergency responders can access your medical information.
If the vehicle has its own integrated way to detect a crash and make a call, that process will proceed without change. Crash Detection won’t cancel any emergency calls already in progress on your iPhone. Crash Detection will cancel ongoing, non-emergency calls on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
The car crash detection feature utilizes sensors like the accelerometer and gyroscope on a supported iPhone or Apple Watch.