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Why is the iPhone 14 calling the police when you're on a rollercoaster?

Emma Xerri

| Last updated 

Why is the iPhone 14 calling the police when you're on a rollercoaster?

The new crash detection feature on Apple’s iPhone 14 has seen emergency services accidentally called after the movement from rollercoasters has been mistaken for that of a car accident. 

Apple says its crash detection feature is 'designed to detect severe car crashes – such as front-impact, side-impact and rear-end collisions and rollovers'.

The new feature will then make an automated call to emergency services if it believes the user has been in a road accident thanks to a built-in accelerometers and a gyroscope, which can measure sudden changes in speed and direction.

If the sensors detect a user has been in an accident, the phone commences a 20-second countdown.


The user can stop the alarms from being sent to emergency services if the crash detection was false.

Credit: StockStudio / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: StockStudio / Alamy Stock Photo

If, after 20 seconds, the user does not intervene, the phone will make an automated call to emergency services, saying: "The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash and is not responding to their phone."

This message can be played in case the user is unable to reach their phone to call, or is unconscious.


Whilst great in theory, it appears this crash detection technology has encountered some bumps in the road.

Rollercoaster riders have accidentally called the emergency services after the movements on the rides have set off the iPhone 14's sensor.

Theme parks in the US have responded to the issue by urging guests to switch off their mobile phones or put them on flight-safe mode when they go on rides, and other park officials are advising riders not to bring their phones with them for safety reasons. 

Another iPhone user told the Wall Street Journal that the new feature saw his mother and girlfriend being mistakenly informed that he had been in a car accident, after accidentally dropping his phone off the handlebars of his motorcycle.


However, the crash detection feature has also already served its purpose in phenomenal ways.

According to the Independent, police were called to a fatal car crash in Nebraska after the owner’s iPhone 14 called 911 after detecting the impact.

Emergency responders stated it was the 'worst crash in Lincoln in recent memory'.

An Apple spokesman said its algorithms were 'extremely accurate in detecting severe crashes' and had been validated using over a million hours of crash-test data.


The company has said the technology would continue to improve over time.

Featured Image Credit: Wachiwit / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Technology

Emma Xerri
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