iOS 16.4: Apple wants to have improved accident detection

After numerous reports from exasperated rescuers who were unnecessarily automatically called to an alleged car accident by an iPhone, Apple is again improving its so-called crash detection algorithm for iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. This is according to the leaflet accompanying the release candidate version of iOS 16.4, which has been distributed since this week. The iPhone group had already worked on this area of ​​the operating system in previous iOS versions.

However, only Apple knows exactly what is going better now. “Optimization of accident detection on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models” is stated succinctly without giving any further details in the release notes. In January it was reported that the company had contacted rescue services directly in order to avoid false alarms in the future. These are particularly popular when skiing and snowboarding, there were and are reports from various winter sports areas in the USA, Europe and elsewhere.

Crash detection was introduced last year for all iPhone 14 models and the latest Apple Watch variants (SE 2, 8 and Ultra). The feature is designed to detect a serious car accident and automatically contact local rescuers if a user doesn’t respond to the device within 20 seconds. However, when it comes to fast snow sports, the algorithm seems to have trouble distinguishing them from car accidents – even though the iPhone should know it’s not in a vehicle.

The false detections also affect the Apple Watch, but apparently less frequently than the iPhone. In some ski areas, owners of the iPhone 14 are already being advised not to wear the iPhone on their body when doing winter sports, which is not advisable for safety reasons. Another area where accident detection is often used is amusement parks – especially fast rides such as roller coasters.

According to Apple, it had trained its crash detection algorithm with a large database and carried out its own crash tests. The technology uses the iPhone’s built-in acceleration and gyro sensors, as well as the microphone and the detection of changes in air pressure. It also checks GPS data to ensure iPhone is in a vehicle. iOS 16.4 would be the third round of optimization for accident detection. The algorithm was already readjusted in iOS 16.1.2 (November 2022) and iOS 16.3.1 (February).

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