iPhones and Apple Watches could be getting car crash detection, report claims

iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Two years ago, Google's Pixel 4 range introduced a safety feature in the US, UK and Australia that detected if the user was in a car crash and automatically dialed emergency services, and now a report suggests Apple could be following suit.

According to material seen by The Wall Street Journal and "people familiar with the feature", Apple plans to roll out crash detection to its iPhone and Apple Watch devices in 2022.

We suspect that Apple's implementation will be much the same as the Android version, which works via Google's Personal Safety app and uses the device's accelerometer and other sensors to detect if an accident has occurred. 

The phone will then ask the user if emergency services need to be called and, if there's no response, will automatically dial the country's appropriate emergency number as well as share GPS location and other info (such as blood type and organ donor status, if applicable).

It's worth noting that some modern cars already include features along these lines with their on-board smart displays and connected services, but making crash detection widely available to smartphone users will bring the safety feature to a great deal more drivers.

Rumor or reality?

While it's still in rumor territory, there's no reason to doubt Apple would be keen on introducing such a feature given the precedent it set in using the Apple Watch as a medical alert system

This utilizes similar sensor and accelerometer capabilities as mentioned above to detect falls for those with mobility issues, and then automatically sends SOS alerts to chosen contacts and eventually emergency services – it can also share a users exact location via GPS.

With this functionality already in place, it wouldn't be too big a stretch for the tech giant to introduce car crash detection that operates under similar principles, and it would presumably be under the same 'opt-in' capacity to allay any fears of privacy and personal data misuse.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.