When Apple built crash detection into the iPhone 14, the company touted it as a life-saving feature. However, it’s causing some headaches for law enforcement, paramedics, and dispatchers who receive emergency calls informing them of a severe crash that never occurred.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a spate of these false positives have hit the Warren County Communications Center in Ohio since mid-September. In one such case, a King’s Island amusement park patron, 39-year-old Sarah White, rode the Mystic Timbers rollercoaster with her days-old iPhone 14 in her pocket. After the ride was over, her phone was flooded with notifications, missed calls, and voicemails from emergency services.
The iPhone registered the rollercoaster experience as a car crash and called 911, informing the police that “The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash and is not responding to their phone…” You can listen to the audio of the emergency call below.
Since the iPhone 14 went on sale, the 911 dispatch center near Kings Island amusement park has received at least six phones calls saying:
“The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash…”
Except, the owner was just on a roller coaster.
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) October 9, 2022
White’s case isn’t the only one to come out of Kings Island. According to WCPO 9, iPhone 14s placed 12 emergency calls from the park between September 18th and October 9th. Apple released the iPhone 14 on September 16th. The highest number of false alarms came on Saturday, October 1st, and Sunday, October 9th. Both weekend dates yielded five emergency calls originating from iPhones located within the theme park. And it isn’t just limited to Ohio. The Wall Street Journal report details similar events at theme parks across the United States.
In a statement to the Journal, an Apple spokesperson said that the iPhone 14 is “extremely accurate in detecting severe crashes” but noted that the technology would improve over time.
To avoid the hassle of dealing with emergency services (and to save them the time and effort of mounting a rescue operation), you can put your iPhone in airplane mode, disable crash detection, or just turn it off before you step into a rollercoaster.