Apple Watch's fall detection feature fails hilariously on national television



The Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 both have a trio of life-saving features. Of course, there is the heart rate monitor that alerts users when their heart is beating too fast; this is often a symptom of a major medical issue including high blood pressure, heart muscle disease, heart valve disease, coronary artery disease, a tumor or an infection (the monitor is actually found on every Apple Watch). The Electrocardiogram (ECG) feature found on Series 4 and Series 5 units looks for abnormal heart rhythms that could be the sign of Atrial fibrillation (Afib). This can cause heart failure, blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

The third life-saving feature on the Series 4 and Series 5 Apple Watch is the fall detection feature. If the device detects that the person wearing it has had a hard fall, it will sound an alarm, tap the user on the wrist and display an alert on the screen. The watch will display two options; one will dismiss the alert ("I'm okay") while the other will call 9-1-1 ("EMERGENCY SOS"). On the other hand, if the timepiece determines that the user is not responsive, it will automatically call emergency services and the message will include the location of the incident. Once that call has ended, the Apple Watch will message the user's emergency contacts to alert them that he or she has suffered a hard fall and that emergency help has been summoned. It also will give the location of the person requiring assistance.

The Apple Watch was responsible for 47.9% of global smartwatch shipments during Q3


Last night on U.S. network television, the Apple Watch's fall detection feature made an unexpected cameo appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden. During a bit that is called "Know For Your Row," audience members in a particular row are given easy to moderately hard trivia questions to answer in an attempt to win money for the rest of the people sitting in that section. In the course of playing this game, a woman from Chicago was asked a question about the animated film "Shrek," which she answered correctly; a few seconds after she sits back down, a strange alarm can be heard faintly in the background. "What's that noise?" Corden asks, turning around. As it turns out, it came from the Apple Watch that the woman from Chicago was wearing. Apparently, the act of sitting back in her chair set off the fall detection feature on her smartwatch.


You might notice more people wearing an Apple Watch these days. Just a few days ago we told you that Apple had 47.9% of the global smartwatch market during the third quarter (July through September). The company shipped 6.8 million units during the three-month period, well ahead of the 1.9 million delivered by runner-up Samsung. Apple grew shipments by 51% on a year-over-year basis indicating that the device continues to show outstanding growth for a product that was first released on April 24, 2015. Apple is even outperforming the industry as a whole, which saw deliveries of global smartwatches rise 42% during the quarter.

There is talk that the Series 6 Apple Watch might include some new health-related features such as a native sleep tracking app and a feature that would monitor the blood pressure of users. The latter would be a most useful addition to the device. And there is always speculation about Apple adding a glucometer that would employ a non-invasive method to capture the user's blood sugar reading; this would be a welcome tool for the millions of insulin dependent diabetics that need a drop of blood to measure their blood sugar before every meal.

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32 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Uh ohhhh, trouble in paradise. reminds me of the FaceID fail.

2. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2474; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

After replaying the video it appears it happens when she lifts her hands to his head to kiss him on the cheek and then drops them back down.

5. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

Lol, this is just a post for the Apple haters mate, we all know it works great, like the guy who fell in the hiking trail. Better than the throwaway crap being done in Google and Android OEMs. :)

8. lyndon420

Posts: 6861; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

What? Throwaway crap? This woman was obviously not in cardiac distress, or about to die...dispite the warning from her Apple watch. Why are you suddenly hating on Android??! You are a leftist yes??

10. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

It worked as it should, Apple literally have a warning in the Fall Detection setting stipulating that if you are active a lot it can falsely be activated, PA should really do their homework, here we go, have a look at the Screenshot with the phone:https://support.apple.com/en-za/HT208944

17. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1339; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

So Apple admits that fall detection does not function correctly. Your logic is flawed. Admitting a product is defective does not mean it is functioning properly when it malfunctions.

19. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

How is it defective when it’s working as it should? High impact movement will never be easy to detect, I’d be happy that it chose to call emergency rather than it not work when it really should. We’ve already got countless examples of it saving lives anyway so it’s definitely NOT defective:)

22. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1459; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

So products that give a high false positive rate are good because on occasion they get it right? And you don't have countless examples of it saving lives, you have a handful of cases. Like the AFib detection on the Apple Watch, it's wrong more than 90% of the time, but according to you that makes it good.

13. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Do you always assume that an iphone fan is a leftist? That's worse than be called an isheep.

11. Vancetastic

Posts: 1699; Member since: May 17, 2017

But but but but ANDROID!! WAAAHHH!

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4302; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Works great.../s

4. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I thought that the lady might have actually fallen, and the alarm didn’t go off. But this seems like “better to be sure and sound the alarm, then not”. And i think it worked as should within the falling parameters. Do you guys think you have to literally fall off the ladder or down the stairs to consider a fall? Some people can literally stumble and knock their head in a corner and get knocked out - her hand motion might have registered enough to consider a stumble (which can result in injury). Now if she actually fell and the watch didn’t register - that would be a fail from me!!

6. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

You make a great point but don’t bother, this is just a post for the Apple haters to clutch on to, look at the first comment on this article:’D it’s for people like that.

7. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Even that Face ID thing he’s talking about - you have to be an idiot not to know that it actually worked as it should. Too many people were trying to play with the phone before the announcement and it locked itself out due to too many wrong attempts. My phone will do that too after my kids give a crack at it a few times.

9. lyndon420

Posts: 6861; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

@Vokilam You should be showing your kids a playground/or Lego...instead of your iPhone...just saying!

14. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I agree with you absolutely, my kids get extremely limited screen time (about 2 hours a week combined) but the phone is just laying there on counter sometimes, and when they try to unlock it - the phone automatically tries to read their faces - after just a few attempts will default to passcode unlock.

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1699; Member since: May 17, 2017

You were backstage? I mean, that was the explanation, but how do you know it's true? Either way, it was hilarious and embarrassing, and no harm was done to Apple's sales, so yay.

15. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I didnt need to go back stage to know what happened, one of three things: 1. its the first tech of its kind and people that handled the device before presentation had to have tried it or at least looked at the screen a few times. or 2. the phone was turned on before the presentation, and by default will ask for passcode the first time you try to unlock, or 3. someone had attempted to shut it down, which will also default to passcode unlock. All of which are easily possible and performing as it should.

23. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1459; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

So essentially you're just guessing really, you simply don't know.

26. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Why would it had failed, when the device was Already shipped to all distributors in the world, and millions of people bought them and no one had their Face ID not unlock like that phone? For crying out loud - You can even see it on the screen that it’s asking for a password because the phone had too many attempts - exactly how it’s designed to function even on the third iteration of Face ID in latest iphones today. You guys are too desperate for a scapegoat.

28. Vancetastic

Posts: 1699; Member since: May 17, 2017

Ok, but my point stands, and it was still funny.

16. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Reading all the rationalization for it not working right is as funny as all the excuses when it was found iPhone touchscreens weren't as accurate as Android touchscreens.

20. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

But it did work, lol, it was just a little to sensitive, but it worked.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Working would be gasp detection going off in a fall. This was a fail. Not a huge fail, not a big deal, but it's hilarious seeing the usual names swooping in to save Apple's day.

30. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

*fall* detection

27. Vancetastic

Posts: 1699; Member since: May 17, 2017

It would also appear that Apple fanboys lack a sense of humor. Shocking, I know....

18. chargerboy

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 30, 2019

It probably detected her sitting down at a fast pace. Better than not detecting.

21. Zrtsg

Posts: 5; Member since: May 09, 2019

Cppycat

24. TerryD

Posts: 559; Member since: May 09, 2017

I wonder if we'll ever see any stats on 'lives saved by Apple watch'. I've seen at least 3 or 4 stories so far but that's pretty low in relation to the number of Apple watches out there.

31. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

The rest of millions of Apple Watch owners died - the watch didn’t work.

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