Apple Watch 4 fall detection disabled by default

JC Torres - Sep 23, 2018, 10:23 pm CST
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Apple Watch 4 fall detection disabled by default

Apple has made it no secret that it wants the Apple Watch to be the health wearable you’d ever want (and, in consequence, require you to purchase an iPhone to go along with it. But while the new ECG heart monitoring is definitely interesting, it is actually the fall detection feature that’s piquing the curiosity of consumers and especially YouTubers. And while it does sound like a life saver, it won’t be unless you explicitly enable it, as it is turned off by default for anyone younger than 65.

That was perhaps the fine print that Apple forgot to mention in its spiels. Given how much Apple advertised that safety feature, some might have expected it to be enabled by default for all. Redditor No1ARSoul, however, noted that you’ll only find that out if you read the online manual for Fall Detection and how it’s enabled by default for anyone whose age is 65 or older in their Apple accounts. Everyone else will have to manually enable the feature in the Emergency SOS settings of the smartwatch.

You might not want to enable it though, especially if you’re a young one living a very physically active lifestyle. Fall detection relies on a number of sensors and algorithms in guessing whether your actually fell or not. High impact activity, however, could throw it off and think you just had an accident.

Such false positives, however, could easily be dispelled. It’s not like the Apple Watch will immediately go into panic mode and all emergency services immediately. If it detects a fall, it will “tap” your wrist, sound an alarm, and display an alert. You can, of course, tap on the appropriate button if you’re OK and if the Apple Watch detects motion, it will wait for you to react. If, however, you’ve been immobile for a minute, it will begin counting to 15 and if no action was taken after that, it will then call emergency services and emergency contacts you have hopefully set up in the Apple Health app.

The Apple Watch Series 4’s fall detection isn’t perfect, as some daring (if not crazy) YouTubers have found out. How you fall (soft versus hard) is important and, as mentioned, it may trigger false alarms. Needless to say, while it may be a life-saving feature, it shouldn’t be treated as a completely accurate and infallible one.


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