Apple Watch fall detection calls 911 for unconscious man

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Apple Watch fall detection works on Series 4 and Series 5.
Apple Watch fall detection can save you if you’re knocked unconscious.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

911 services in a suburb of Phoenix reportedly received a call from a computer-generated voice telling them someone had fallen and wasn’t responding. The call came from an Apple Watch that detected its wearer was in trouble. EMTs rushed to the location given by the wearable and found an unconscious man.

Automatically calling for help after a bad fall is a feature of recent watchOS models. But users need be sure Apple Watch fall detection is activated.

Apple Watch calls 911 for Arizona man

The identity or age of the owner of the Apple Watch that called the Chandler Police Department’s Communications Center on April 23 wasn’t revealed.

But his wearable certainly helped him that day. “He would never have been able to provide us his location or any information on what was going on,” dispatch supervisor Adriana Cacciola told KTAR. “He wasn’t even aware that any help was coming until we were already there.”

A Washington man went through a similar ordeal last year. While mountain biking, he crashed so severely he was knocked unconscious. But his Apple Watch called 911 for him, and he awoke in an ambulance.

Enabling Apple Watch fall detection

Apple Watch Series 4 or Series 5 sense if a wearer has fallen. It then tries to determine if the person is injured. There are audible and inaudible alerts, along with an on-screen message asking if the wearer is OK.

Apple explains what happens next:

“If your Apple Watch detects that you’re moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won’t automatically call emergency services. If your watch detects that you have been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically.”

After calling 911, the Watch then sends a text message to notify the wearer’s emergency contacts, along with the injured person’s location.

To enable fall detection, open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone associated with the wearable, then tap the My Watch tab.  Tap Emergency SOS and turn Fall Detection on (or off, if desired).

For more details, read Cult of Mac’s guide on how to enable fall detection on Apple Watch for automatic assistance.