IPHONE users have been warned to update their phones after discovering a problem in Apple’s new crash detection feature.
The potentially life-saving software will link users to emergency services in the event of a serious car accident.
However, the feature that was introduced this year can’t tell the difference between an actual crash and someone just falling off, say, while skiing.
When a car accident is detected, your iPhone or Apple Watch beeps and displays an alert.
If you do not answer within 20 seconds, your device will automatically call the emergency services.
The feature is available on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, as well as Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Ultra.
Some first responders have complained that the problem is causing them to receive alerts from skiers, snowboarders and snowmobile drivers who don’t really need their help.
Peter Reed, a member of the Kimberley Search and Rescue Service in British Columbia, Canada, said: “In our case, it was an elderly gentleman whose daughters gave him an apple watch to keep an eye on.
“He was cross-country skiing and found that the watch was sending panic messages to his daughters and also to us.”
Reed said helicopter rescue calls cost the province more than $10,000 (£8,200) per incident, and if they go on a bogus call, it diverts their resources from those who really need them.
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Similarly, Golden Search and Rescue said they received three warnings in just two days from people who did not need help, apparently due to simply falling or making quick movements.
According to Ritesh Kotak, a Toronto-based cyber analyst, crash detection software is actually built into new Apple devices.
He said: “Think of it as an antenna that allows it to communicate with the satellite. Therefore, older iPhones or other types of devices will not work with this service.”
According to the 911 hotline in Gallatin County, Montana, USA, about 28 Apple iPhone 14s have sent false “car accident detection” alerts.
Reports also say the feature sent warnings to authorities after it mistook a rollercoaster ride for a car accident.
An update to address this issue was released on December 13 for iOS 16.1.2 and 16.2 on iPhone 14 and 14 Pro.
Apple stated, “Users are encouraged to get the update.”
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