With the iPhone 14 generation, there is not only accident detection, but also a satellite SOS function to call for help when there is no mobile phone connection. However, opinions are divided in the rescue services on the fundamentally useful features.
How? ‘Or’ What 9to5Mac reported that crash detection in the iPhone 14, which automatically makes an emergency call if a crash is detected by the iPhone’s built-in sensors, has caused many fake emergency calls. Each false alarm places an additional burden on local emergency services and can potentially delay real emergencies.
“In the latter case, the Kita-Alps Fire Department in Nagano, Japan, reported receiving 134 false calls between December 16 and January 23, which were ‘primarily’ due to the failure of the fire alarm system. iPhone 14 accident detection falsely triggered when owners were skiing on ski slopes Overall, the Japanese emergency response center received 919 calls this month, which means that the some 100 false calls caused by the iPhone’s crash detection feature accounted for more than a tenth of the workload.
For example, 9to5Mac reports accident detection and mistakenly triggered emergency calls on the iPhone 14. Also in the US there have been several reports of false alarms from the emergency function, for example during of roller coaster rides. It was not until December last year that Apple adapted the function with iOS 16.1.2 with “crash detection optimizations for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models”. Crash detection is available for iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro (Max), Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Ultra. Anyone who is going to ski or ride a roller coaster can temporarily deactivate the function under Settings → SOS emergency call → “Call after a serious accident”.
“This technology has the potential to save lives”
Another security feature of the iPhone 14 generation is a satellite SOS, which can send an emergency message even if you no longer have a phone connection. 9to5Mac reports not only on a new case in which two women used the satellite emergency call in a remote winter forest in Canada, but also on positive feedback from emergency services regarding Apple’s functionality.
Dwight Yochim, an executive with British Columbia Search and Rescue in Canada, said he believed the above case was the “first use” of Apple’s new feature in British Columbia.
“There is no cell phone coverage there, but one of them had the new Apple phone with the SOS function and activated the emergency call, and to my knowledge, he is the first SOS deployment to BC If they hadn’t had this, at some point family or their work would have said, “Hey, they didn’t show up” and the search area would have extent from where they were last seen to where they suspect they are, and it could have been several hundred miles.
This is something that may have saved their lives. It’s a turning point. This technology has the potential to really help us save lives and reduce the time it takes us to do so.
According to Yochim, his rescue team handles about 1,700 to 1,800 searches per year. Apple’s SOS satellite on the iPhone 14 could significantly reduce that number. “If we know exactly where the person is, we just have to go save them,” Yochim explains. Tedious searches would thus be a thing of the past. The SOS satellite function has also been available on all iPhone 14 models in Germany since December 2022.
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