What Is Crash Detection on iPhone and Apple Watch?

Crash Detection can detect impacts and automatically calls emergency services and contacts

Crash Detection is a feature on certain iPhone and Apple Watch models that allows the Apple devices to sense when a user has been in an impact-related accident, such as a car crash. Once active, Crash Detection will automatically attempt to alert emergency services and emergency contacts.

What Is Apple Car Crash Detection?

Apple car Crash Detection, officially referred to as simply Crash Detection, is a safety feature that was announced in 2022 for modern iPhone and Apple Watch devices. Crash Detection is built into the iOS 16 and watchOS 8 operating systems and is enabled by default on supported devices.

When the Crash Detection feature senses the user has been in a serious impact-related incident, the iPhone or Apple Watch will automatically display a warning screen. The user can then swipe the on-screen Emergency Call switch to activate a call to emergency services or select Cancel to turn the action off.

Apple Crash Detection feature displaying on an iPhone and Apple Watch with Emergency Call active.


If no user interaction has been detected after 10 seconds, the Apple device will automatically initiate the call to emergency services, play a Siri voice message that explains the situation, and also communicate your location using latitude, longitude, and search radius information. The call to emergency services will stop when the user selects Stop Recorded Message on the iPhone or Apple Watch’s screen or when the call is disconnected from the other end. The process will then repeat for one of your emergency contacts.

Apple's Crash Detection feature showing on iPhone 14 smartphone wit Crash Detected message showing.


How Does Crash Detection Work on iPhone and Apple Watch?

Apple’s Crash Detection feature works by using a combination of a gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, GPS, and microphone to process physical inputs that could potentially indicate that a major impact has occurred.

The Crash Detection feature has been designed to detect head-on, rear-end, side-impact, and rollovers and shouldn’t trigger when a device is simply bumped or dropped. Crash Detection can work with just an Apple Watch or iPhone but it’s also optimized to function when both devices are present. For example, the feature will show more information on an Apple Watch screen instead of an iPhone when both are in use as the smartwatch will likely be closer to the user than a smartphone when a serious accident occurs.

How Do I Set up Crash Detection on Apple Watch?

Crash Detection is enabled by default on Apple Watch smartwatches and doesn’t require any manual setup process.

How Do I Set up Crash Detection on iPhone?

As with Apple Watches, the Crash Detection feature is also enabled by default on iPhones as well and doesn’t need to be turned on.

While Crash Detection is enabled by default, it’s worth spending a few minutes to set up your emergency contacts on your iPhone.

How Do I Disable Crash Detection?

If you want to turn off Crash Detection, open Settings on your iPhone, select Emergency SOS, and turn the switch next to Call After Severe Crash off.

Which iPhones Support Crash Detection?

Apple’s Crash Detection feature is only supported on the iPhone 14 and, presumably, newer iPhone models. Crash Detection works on the following iPhones:

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

It’s assumed that Crash Detection will also be supported on the eventual iPhone 15 line of smartphones and any other future Apple iPhone models.

Which Apple Watches Support Crash Detection?

Crash Detection is supported on the Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation) and all newer Apple Watch models. Here’s the list of Apple Watch smartwatches that support Apple’s Crash Detection safety feature: 

Future Apple Watch models will also likely work with Apple’s Crash Detection feature.

Is There an iPhone Crash Detection App?

No, there isn’t a Crash Detection app for iPhone or Apple Watch. This safety feature is built directly into the iOS and watchOS operating systems.

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