Apple this fall put a new emphasis on saving the lives of its customers, with a new Crash Detection feature that complements the existing suite of safety and emergency features on the Apple Watch and iPhone.
Most users will think of Crash Detection as a handy background feature: something that offers peace of mind and hopefully never springs into action. But you may feel differently if you start experiencing false positives, as has been reported anecdotally by some roller coaster riders. If your iPhone or Apple Watch mistakenly believes it has detected a crash and somehow you don’t notice, you could be in the embarrassment of having to explain to emergency services why they were called to a theme park.
Hopefully that won’t happen. But if you’re concerned about experiencing false positives with your iPhone or Apple Watch, here’s how to disable the emergency alert.
Turn off crash detection on Apple Watch
To disable crash detection on the Apple Watch Series 8, SE (2nd generation), or Ultra, open the Watch app on the paired iPhone and make sure you’re on the My Watch tab at the bottom of the screen. Now tap on Emergency SOS and in the Crash Detection section, tap on the switch labeled “Call after severe crash” then confirm Disable.
The switch will turn gray to indicate that it is turned off. Tap again to turn it back on and it will turn green again.
Disable Crash Detection on iPhone
If you want to disable crash detection on iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max (which are the only handsets that currently support the feature), you need to go to the Settings app and go to Emergency SOS again. Tap the switch labeled Call after severe crash.
In either case, disable the emergency call element; Apple doesn’t explicitly provide a way to disable crash detection completely, but it’s not clear if your device will continue to check for crashes if you follow the instructions above. What is clear is that detected crashes won’t be such an inconvenience if the emergency services and your emergency contacts are not involved.