Apple Watch Fall Detection, a feature introduced in Series 4, is part of Apple’s overall commitment to wearer’s health and well-being, and is tightly integrated with your iPhone. Enabling the feature allows the Apple Watch to detect a hard fall, notifies you with a vibration tap on the wrist, and sounds an alarm. You can choose to contact local emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the watch’s digital crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping the I’m OK button. Fall Detection works only with the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5, as older models don’t have the accelerometer and gyroscope power needed for this special feature.
If the watch registers movement after a fall, it waits for you to respond and won’t automatically summon emergency services. After one minute, if the device detects no movement after your fall, it will call an ambulance automatically. The watch dials your local ambulance service and plays an audio message informing them of the fall while sharing your latitude and longitude location.
Once a call ends, the watch can then send a message to your predesignated emergency contacts from your Medical ID, complete with location information to inform friends or family of the fall and its call for help. For countries and regions with multiple emergency service numbers, Apple Watch will call the ambulance number.
Because this feature is especially useful to seniors and frail elderly who may be alone for significant periods of time, everyone who enters age 65 or over in the Apple Health app, automatically has the Fall Detection feature enabled. Those younger than 65 will have to manually enable it, and it may be a good idea for both kids and adults of all ages. You can turn the feature on or off at will. Here’s how to use it.
Enable Fall Detection
- Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.
- Tap Emergency SOS.
- Scroll to the bottom and toggle the switch for Fall Detection on or off.
Set up Medical ID on your iPhone
Make sure your emergency contacts are notified about your fall by setting them up in Apple Health. Here’s how to do it.
- Open the Health app on the iPhone, tap Summary at the bottom of the window, and locate Set Up Medical ID.
- Tap Get Started.
- Enter your date of birth and other health information.
- Scroll to the bottom to find the add emergency contact button and tap.
- That tap takes you to your contacts, where you can just tap the contact you want to register and designate their relationship to you. To change your contact or deregister the one you set up, tap the minus icon next to the contact. Apple Watch derives your emergency contact from your Medical ID.
- To make your Medical ID available from the lock screen, enable Show When Locked at the top of the window. In an emergency, this provides your information to first responders so they know basic things about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.
- Tap Done.
On your Watch
If you enable fall detection on your phone, you must also enable it on your Apple Watch for it to work properly.
- Open Settings on your Apple Watch.
- Tap General.
- Enable Fall Detection.
To call emergency services, drag the Emergency SOS slider within the alert. If you call emergency services, just end the call when you’re finished, or if you decide it’s not an emergency, tap the End Call button, and Yes on the End Call screen.
The iPhone automatically logs falls in the Health app. To check your fall history, open the Health app on your iPhone, tap the Health Data tab, then tap Results.