Apple watch

How to Enable Apple Watch Drop Detection in watchOS 8

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The Apple Watch Fall Detection feature has saved lives, but it’s not automatically enabled for all users. Here’s when you should turn it on and how you do it.

Originally, if a user was 65 or older, fall detection was enabled by default and anyone younger had to enable it themselves. Now Apple has lowered that age to 55, but it’s still true that anyone younger should positively choose to turn it on.

They should also think about the physical activities they typically do. Apple will have set a specific age because many activities such as hard contact sports would be likely to trigger fall detection.

The fact that Apple has reduced the age to 55 suggests that it has a few years of data on the proportion of false positives. But, still, if you’re tackled in a football game, you want to get out of it, you don’t want the emergency services showing up.

Maybe if the game was ice hockey.

Whether you’re over 55 or older, make sure your age is entered correctly in the Health Details section of the Apple Health app on your iPhone.

Once you’ve done that, here’s how to enable fall detection.

How to activate fall detection

Make sure you do it now, before you need it. But whenever you want, you can set up the watch’s fall detection feature through the Apple Watch itself or through your iPhone.

How to Enable Fall Detection on iPhone

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app
  2. Press on My watch
  3. Scroll to Emergency SOS and press it
  4. Press to activate Fall detection

How to enable fall detection on Apple Watch

  1. On your Apple Watch, open Settings
  2. Scroll to S.O.S. and press it
  3. Press to activate Fall detection

More options

Whether you do it on the watch or the iPhone, that’s all you have to do, but there is another option. In the Fall detection settings section on either device, you have the choice between Always onand Only during training.

By default, once you enable fall detection, it is set to Always on.

Apple says enabling fall detection “only during workouts can reduce false

detections.” That seems like the wrong way, as the workouts are physical and so jerks or crashes that can trigger fall detection seem more likely than when you’re in the gym bar afterwards.

However, there is no option to activate fall detection only when you are not training.

Don’t rely on fall detection

Apple Watch Fall Detection is a remarkable thing, and what it does when it detects a fall is particularly polished. Sudden movement is registered by sensors such as the accelerometer, and the watch immediately informs you of what happened.

If it’s a false positive or if you fell but are fine, you can press the I’m fine button, and everything is fine. Likewise, you can press the close or press the digital crown on the watch.

However, if you don’t press this button, the watch will make an emergency call. Apple doesn’t give a specific time the watch will wait for you, but says it’s “about a minute”.

Once this call is made, it also sends a message to your emergency contacts.

Note that fall detection is available on all currently released Apple Watches except the Apple Watch Series 3.