Apple Watch Series 4 Fall Detection Feature is Off by Default Unless You're 65+

Apple Watch Series 4 has a new feature called Fall Detection, which uses the new next-generation gyroscope and accelerometer to detect a fall and provide options to contact emergency services if necessary.

As it turns out, Fall Detection is disabled for most users and will need to be manually enabled. In an Apple support document found by a Reddit user, Apple explains that Fall Detection only turns on automatically if you've set your age on Apple Watch or in the Health app and you're over 65 years old.

applewatchseries4falldetection
If you are not over age 65 and want to use Fall Detection, it will need to be enabled in the Emergency SOS section of the Apple Watch app.

Apple's support document also explains other aspects of the Fall Detection feature. When the Apple Watch Series 4 detects a "significant, hard fall" with Fall Detection enabled, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert.

From the options that display on the screen, you can select either "I fell but I'm OK," "I did not fall," or "Emergency SOS" to contact emergency services.

If the Apple Watch detects that you're moving, it will wait for a response, but if you're immobile for about a minute, it will begin a 15-second countdown before automatically calling emergency services and alerting emergency contacts that are set up in Medical ID in the Health app on iPhone.

Fall Detection in the Series 4 was tested over the weekend by multiple YouTube channels to see how the feature works and how hard of a fall is necessary to cause an alert.

Test falls onto softer surfaces like foam or carpet didn't seem to trigger the Fall Detection feature, but harder falls onto less forgiving surfaces did appear to work better. YouTube testers were not able to get the feature to trigger with each and every fall, suggesting there's some margin of error, which users should be aware of.



Apple says it gathered data from thousands of people over a period of time to create the Fall Detection algorithms, which are able to test both forward facing falls with wrists out and backward facing slips with wrists up.

Apple does warn in its support document that the Apple Watch Series 4 won't detect all falls, and also says that false positives are possible. "The more physically active you are, the more likely you are to trigger fall detection due to high impact activity that can appear to be a fall," reads the document.

Given the possibility of false positives for active adults, most people will likely want to leave this feature disabled, but it's a good idea to know how to turn it on if you may need it.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Fortimir Avatar
55 months ago
Makes sense.
Does it though? It's a heavily advertised feature. Being disabled by default doesn't appear to be obvious or clear.

But most importantly, people of any age can fall and take advantage of this. If the algorithm is good enough and hard enough to fake, I don't see the disadvantage for always being on.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seanmcbay Avatar
55 months ago
I’ll keep it on on mine even though I’m nowhere near 65 years old. I know false positives are possible but if I can’t deactivate it before it calls 911 then I’d probably need it.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FelixDerKater Avatar
55 months ago
Makes sense.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avanpelt Avatar
55 months ago
My dad was prone to falling — especially in the last three or four years of his life. He passed away earlier this year, but if he was still living, I would’ve bought a Series 4 for him in a heartbeat specifically for the fall detection feature. He never used one of those “help line” bracelets (even though he should have); but he was kind of a gadget guy and I think he would’ve liked this latest Apple Watch — particularly with the larger display.

I bought a Series 4 for myself a few days ago and I turned the fall detection feature on. It’s one of those “I hope I don’t need to use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there” features.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keirasplace Avatar
55 months ago
" Again, Apple’s health claims are not that the Watch will detect these falls, but simply that it could."

This is literally from the verge review lol. So again, if it's not reliable then it's a gimmick at best. And by every single review, including the verge review, they couldn't get it to work.....
The verge could not reproduce a fall, that's all they said.
A fall is 180G from .9m and 380g from 1m80 on concrete. Over 100G's on wood over concrete.
They're not doing it for good reason; they don't want to injure themselves.
Reproducing this or something less severe will damage even a healthy individual.

They're not testing and actual event UNLIKE APPLE whose claims must actually stand muster long term cause people will actually depend on their device.

They and the independent said Apple had a sampling of ACTUAL PEOPLE IN ASSISTED LIVING and with MOVEMENT DISORDERS (2500 which is a hell of a lot of people to monitor).
That's the whole point of the argument. They HAVE ACTUAL DATA of ACTUAL FALLS.

Unlike those bozos on YOUTUBE and YOU.

You are the epitome of desingenousness; you truly don't give a crap if you have a point, you'll pound it till it bleeds anyway.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fortimir Avatar
55 months ago
I wonder how this work in an amusement park like Busch Gardens...
You mean like being on a rollercoaster? I would think these algorithms are extremely specific, and I doubt any (or at least the vast majority of) rollercoaster has the matching characteristics of a trip/slip fall.
I’ll keep it on on mine even though I’m nowhere near 65 years old.
Same. I'm a cyclist and hope these algorithms detect falling (or being thrown) off.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

applefifthavenue

Man Robbed After Buying 300 iPhones From Apple Fifth Avenue

Tuesday November 29, 2022 11:54 am PST by
An unnamed 27-year-old man who purchased 300 iPhones from Apple Fifth Avenue on Monday morning was robbed shortly after leaving the store, according to 1010Wins Radio in New York. He was carrying 300 iPhone 13s in three bags and walking to his car at 1:45 a.m. when another car pulled up next to him. Two men jumped out and demanded that he hand over the bags. Not wanting to hand over 300...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

'M2 Max' Geekbench Scores Leak Online, Revealing Rumored Specs and Performance

Wednesday November 30, 2022 2:39 am PST by
Geekbench scores allegedly for the upcoming "M2 Max" chip have surfaced online, offering a closer look at the performance levels and specific details of the forthcoming Apple silicon processor. The Geekbench results, first spotted on Twitter, are for a Mac configuration of with the M2 Max chip, a 12-core CPU, and 96GB of memory. The Mac listed has an identifier "Mac14,6," which could be...
eufy camera

Anker's Eufy Cameras Caught Uploading Content to the Cloud Without User Consent [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 1:01 pm PST by
Anker's popular Eufy-branded security cameras appear to be sending some data to the cloud, even when cloud storage is disabled and local only storage settings are turned on. The information comes from security consultant Paul Moore, who last week published a video outlining the issue. According to Moore, he purchased a Eufy Doorbell Dual, which was meant to be a device that stored video...
Apple Park View

Elon Musk Meets With Apple CEO Tim Cook Amid Claims of Twitter App Store Dispute [Updated]

Wednesday November 30, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Twitter CEO Elon Musk today met with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, according to a tweet shared by Musk this afternoon. Musk thanked Cook for taking him around Apple's headquarters, with no mention of what the two might have discussed. The meeting comes just after Musk on Monday claimed that Apple has "mostly stopped" offering ads on Twitter, and that...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
apple music replay 2022 highlight reel cropped

Apple Music Replay 2022 Revamped With 'Highlight Reel' [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 4:02 am PST by
Apple today rolled out an updated Apple Music Replay experience for 2022, showcasing a new "highlight reel" feature. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The overhauled experience, which started to be noticed by Apple Music subcribers on Twitter earlier today, puts the new highlight reel feature at the forefront of the Replay webpage, which users are encouraged to...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...