Update: iOS 16 Crash Detection accidentally triggered by roller coasters — here’s what we know.
Nobody wants to try out the iPhone 14's Crash Detection feature in real life for obvious reasons, but fortunately for the team at TechRax, they've been able to demo the feature with the help of a jury-rigged remote-control car.
As you can see in the video below (via MacRumors) an iPhone 14 Pro gets taped in place inside the car, within view of a GoPro camera. After some false starts the car (operated by remote-controlled pulleys) is directed at a wall of scrapped vehicles in low-speed and then high-speed collisions, which successfully gets Crash Detection to trigger.
Both times, the iPhone begins its countdown to automatically call the emergency services, before being canceled by the TechRax crew before it goes through. Interestingly, in at least the low-speed crash's case, there's a small delay between the crash and Crash Detection kicking in.
This obviously isn't a complete test of the feature because there are so many variables when it comes to vehicle collisions. But the fact that it works here should provide some comfort.
Apple says Crash Detection works by using the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's gyroscope and accelerometer to detect various parameters that could indicate a crash. That includes sudden changes in speed and direction, but also loud sounds and pressure changes, the latter of which is caused by rapidly expanding airbags (as we see in TechRax's high-speed crash test).
Android users may be jealous of this iPhone feature, but the Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6a (plus any other Pixel that launched after the Pixel 3) all have Google's Car Crash Detection ability. It also uses the phone's sensors and location to check for possible collisions, and will contact the emergency services within 60 seconds if it registers a potential accident.
Also, if you don't need a new iPhone, but are in the market for a new Apple Watch, then the new Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE (2022) also offer Crash Detection. That means you could in theory pay as little as $250 (for the base SE model) to get access to what could prove a life-saving feature.