Heart Health

published : 2023-12-10

7 lucky people prove Apple Watch can save lives

Innovative Fall Detection and other health sensors on Apple Watch prove time and time again to be essential lifesavers

A person activating Emergency SOS on their Apple Watch, taken with a Canon EOS R6

In 1989, a catchphrase from a medical alert company, "I've fallen, and I can't get up," captured public attention.

Little did we know this concept of emergency assistance would evolve so dramatically with technology.

By 2018, the Apple Watch Series 4 introduced Fall Detection, a feature that has since become integral to late model Apple Watch SE through Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra series, playing a crucial role in health emergencies.

The life-saving potential of the Apple Watch's Fall Detection has been proven in various real-life scenarios. Here are just a few of some recent instances:

Averting hypothermia: A man at risk of hypothermia activated his Apple Watch's Emergency SOS, leading to a prompt and life-saving response from emergency services.

Rescuing a senior: A 78-year-old man's Apple Watch detected a significant fall, leading to immediate emergency aid and potentially saving his life.

Car accident rescue: Kacie Anderson, with her baby, relied on her Apple Watch to call for help after a severe car accident, highlighting the watch's critical role in emergencies.

Health alert: Heather Hendershot received an important health warning from her Apple Watch, emphasizing its capabilities beyond fall detection.

Technology reporter's experience: Toralv Østvang's Apple Watch alerted emergency services after detecting his immobility from a fall, showcasing its importance in emergency response by contacting the police, who contacted his wife and then told the paramedics where to find him.

Hotel room incident: Bayla Belle Christianson's Apple Watch, with its Fall Detection, summoned help after she lost consciousness, underscoring the feature's life-saving potential.

How the Apple Watch can sense a hard fall using sensors and algorithms

The Apple Watch has a feature that can detect if you fall hard by using the following components:

A senior man wearing an Apple Watch, showcasing the Fall Detection feature, taken with a Nikon Z7 II

Make sure your age is set correctly on your Apple Watch

This feature is automatically enabled for users who are 55 years old or older, based on the age they entered when they set up their Apple Watch or in the Health app. To make sure that this feature works correctly, check that your Medical ID and your Health Profile have your correct age. This feature is not available for users who are under 18 years old.

Set up your Medical ID and add emergency contacts

Manual Activation of Fall Detection on iPhone

If you are under age 55, you can manually enable this feature in your Apple Watch settings. Here's how:

These are the latest Apple watches offering fall-detection

Comparison of the latest Apple Watch models

Apple Watch SE – From $299 (GPS + Cellular), From $249 (GPS) – Features include a 44mm/40mm aluminum case, Retina display, S8 SiP, and various health and safety functions.

Apple Watch Series 9 – From $499 (GPS + Cellular), From $399 (GPS) – Offers a 45mm/41mm aluminum or stainless-steel case, Always-On Retina display, S9 SiP, and advanced health and safety features.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 – $799 (GPS + Cellular) – Features a 49mm titanium case, Always-On Retina display, S9 SiP, and comprehensive health, safety, and sports functions.

Integration with iPhone 14 & 15

For iPhone 14 & 15 users, Fall Detection notifications can be communicated via the Emergency SOS via satellite system in areas without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

A person using their Apple Watch to call for help after a car accident, taken with a Sony A7R IV

Kurt's key takeaway

The Apple Watch is more than just a fancy gadget. It’s a lifesaver. With features like Fall Detection and Emergency SOS, it can sense when you need help and contact emergency services for you. This is why I believe that it’s worth spending a little extra to equip your Watch with the cellular connection option. It can also monitor your health and alert you if something is wrong, which makes it worth every penny as I know of no other consumer watch that can do anything remotely close to powerfully acting as a lifesaving rescue tool.

Has technology ever come to your aid? Is this a feature that would be important to you or someone you care about? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear, and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for beginning mornings on "FOX & Friends." Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea, or comment at CyberGuy.com.

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