Tech Guide

The new Apple Watch will call emergency services if you slip and fall. Here's how to turn it on

Key Points
  • The Apple Watch Series 4 can detect if someone slips and falls, and can automatically call emergency services.
  • The Apple Watch fall detection is off by default.
  • Here's how to turn it on using your iPhone.
You can turn on fall detection, which can automatically call 911 if you fall and don't say you're OK.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The new Apple Watch Series 4 has sensors that can automatically detect if the wearer trips and falls. It's ideal for people who might be prone to falling, such as the elderly. If someone with the new Apple Watch falls, and has the new feature activated, a pop-up will ask if they're OK. If they don't respond, it will sound an alarm and then automatically call emergency services.

The feature is off by default, since Apple says "high impact activity" can appear to be a fall for some people. If you want to turn it on, here's how.

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap 'My Watch' on the bottom left.
  • Choose 'Emergency SOS.'
  • Toggle the 'Fall Detection' option to on.
  • Tap 'Confirm' when it warns you that being active can accidentally trigger the alert.

When I tested this feature during our review, I noticed it sometimes takes a few seconds laying on the ground before it activates, but it seemed to work most times when I fell down purposefully in a gym. It's not 100-percent fail-safe, and Apple warns that it can't detect all falls.

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