Roller Coasters are Causing iPhones to Call 911: Here’s How to Stop it
If you're an iPhone user, and you plan on visiting a theme/amusement park anytime soon, you might want to know about this before your phone calls 911 without your knowledge.
I love riding roller coasters. Here in the Evansville area, we have several great places within driving distance of amusement/theme parks. There's of course, Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky, and a little further away is Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio. All of these places have great roller coasters that guests will wait for hours in line just to ride. If you plan on visiting any amusement/theme parks before they close for the season, you might want to know about something that roller coasters are causing iPhones to do while you ride them.
Roller Coasters Causing iPhones to Call 911
The new iPhone 14's have a feature on there called "Crash Detection" that can tell if you're in an accident and automatically call 911 to get assistance to you. However, according to CNET, there's a minor glitch associated with this feature that has been calling 911 for people who are on a roller coaster.
The feature, introduced at Apple's product event in early September, uses an axis gyroscope and high G-force accelerometer to detect four main types of crashes: front, side, rear-end and rollover crashes. If the sensors detect an impact, the feature will automatically connect the person wearing it to emergency services. If the wearer doesn't dismiss the call within 20 seconds, an audio message informs emergency services of the crash and provides its location. The feature is part of Apple's increased focus on safety features in its mobile products.
You can see how hitting a sharp turn or going through a loop on a roller coaster might feel like a crash to iPhones. So far, there have been 911 calls from Six Flags Great America near Chicago, and it's happened at least six times at Kings Island near Cincinnati since the iPhone 14 went on sale last month. The thing with this feature is that nobody would know that their phone has called 911, because you're not really checking your phone on a roller coaster. These rides typically last longer than 20 seconds, so you don't have enough time to cancel the call once you get off the ride. So, went on sale less than a month ago. You've only got 20 seconds to cancel the call once it detects a crash. And obviously, emergency crews have been called to these parks as a result.
Oh, and iPhone 14's aren't the only thing triggering the Crash Detection feature. It's also installed on the Apple Watch Series 8 too, according to CNET.
How to Disable This Feature Before Riding Roller Coasters
While this feature is clearly intended for car accidents, clearly there's some work to be done to detect if you're in a car or on a roller coaster. It's unclear at the moment if Apple plans to do anything about this, but there is a solution. If you have the new iPhone or Apple Watch, you can avoid these accidental calls by temporarily putting the device on airplane mode or disabling the feature in settings.