Apple Inc.’s iPhone 14 crash detection feature is falsely reporting car crashes again, this time by people skiing.
In October, it was reported that emergency services workers were being called to the Kings Island amusement park in Ohio when iPhone 14 users were on rollercoasters and similar false alerts were also triggered at another park near Chicago. Forward to ski season and the same thing is happening on the ski fields in Colorado.
According to the Colorado Sun, dispatchers at the Summit Country 911 Center fielded 71 automated crash notifications from the phones of skiers at the county’s four ski areas last week. None of them involved an emergency.
Because all 911 emergency notifications are investigated, each false notification took time to sort out. The operations center would try to contact the skier and if the call was not answered, a special operations deputy contacted ski patrollers to check the location of the automated call.
“We are not in the practice of disregarding calls,” Trina Dummer, the interim director of the Summit County 911 Center, told the newspaper. “These calls involve a tremendous amount of resources, from dispatchers to deputies to ski patrollers. And I don’t think we’ve ever had an actual emergency event.”
The false emergency notifications are not limited to Summit County alone, with dispatch operators in Grand, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt countries in Colorado also fielding record numbers of false emergency calls from iPhone 14 users. As dispatch centers prioritize calls in the order they are received, false notifications are said to delay the response to real emergencies.
Apple supposedly addressed the issue with the release of iOS 16.2 on Dec.13, with “optimizations” meant to prevent iPhone 14s from calling emergency services when users are enjoying rollercoasters and other intense rides. Given the reports out of Colorado, they seemingly did not allow for something as simple as a skier falling over.
While the crash detection feature clearly has flaws, others sing its praises. Yahoo News reports that a California couple is lucky to be alive after they crashed their car 300 feet into a canyon and were saved after their iPhone 14 contacted authorities. Authorities were also alerted to a fatal crash in Nebraska in October that involved the death of six young people.