Apple Watch’s made after Sept 21, 2018 have this free, potentially life-saving feature already baked in.

87-year-old Dotty White might not be here today if it hadn’t been for the how quick emergency services got to her following a crash in her fairly new Toyota Rav4. White credits a feature Apple has baked into all their new Apple Watches for getting her help when she couldn’t.

This free feature that you should already have if you’ve got an Apple Watch 4 and newer is called “Fall Detection.”

Through a clever bit of programming tied into the Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch, with Fall Detection turned on, knows when you’ve had a fall (or car crash) because of the severity of energy transmitted through the watch and gets help on your behalf.

Check out White’s amazing story as originally reported on News Center Maine and a photo of her damaged Toyota Rav4 below.

Presumably White got this Apple Watch as a gift, a piece of technology she’s got used attached to her wrist for quite some time.

When you configure an Apple Watch, when you input your age, if you’re over literally over the age of 65 and don’t lie about it (to fool yourself that you’re somehow younger) Apple’s Fall Detection is automatically turned on.

If you’re younger than 65, you have to manually turn on “Fall Detection.”

According to Apple,

“If your Apple Watch detects that you’re moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won’t automatically call emergency services. If your watch detects that you have been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically. After the call ends, your watch sends a message to your emergency contacts with your location letting them know that your watch detected a hard fall and dialed emergency services. Your watch gets your emergency contacts from your Medical ID.

The news piece doesn’t go into the severity of White’s crash but it was hard and strong enough to cause extensive damage to the front end and the left side of her Toyota Rav4’s suspension. The forces inured White and sent her into a panic not knowing how she’d go about calling for help and informing her loved ones.

That’s when White’s Apple Watch came to the rescue.

Her apple watch detected what it thought was a ‘hard fall’ and immediately notified her family and first responders of the crash becaues of “Fall Detection.”

“The watch dialed my son in Florida, it dialed my daughter in Massachusetts and my daughter in Maine,” White said. “So they knew something had happened and they knew where it happened.”

Her son, James White, says he was notified instantly through a text message. He immediately called his sister, who — after receiving the message herself — rushed to her mother’s side.

“It was really helpful to get that message,” James White said. “I knew mom was all set at that point.”

White is not the only person I’ve come across online who’s benefited from this potentially life-saving feature.

This Redditor hit a deer, totaled his car, and, although he could call emergency services himself, his Apple Watch got the ball rolling for him anyway.

What if I don’t have a new Apple Watch, have an android device or don’t even own a smart phone.

If you have an older Apple Watch, you’re out of luck.

Android devices don’t have any Fall Detection technology but with an accelerometer and gyroscope, upcoming Android 10 supposedly will have their version of Fall Detection in the Q1 of 2020.

If you’re smartphone-less, you can subscribe to crash detection and pre-emptive emergency service response through aftermarket companies like OnStar.

You can also try your luck searching for “Fall Detection” apps on the Apple Store and Google Play but their quality may vary.

Do you have a newer Apple Watch or know how to get Fall Detection on an older Apple or Android device?

Did Fall Detection save you from a potentially life-threatening situation or know of someone who’s benefited from Fall Detection?

Let me know in the comments below.


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