Here’s how it works
If Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or later detects a hard fall while you’re wearing your watch, it will tap you on the wrist, sound an alarm and display an alert. You can choose to contact the emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the top left-hand corner or tapping ’I’m OK’.
If your Apple Watch detects that you’re moving, it will wait for you to respond to the alert and won’t call the emergency services automatically. If your watch detects that you’ve been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically.1
After the call has ended, your watch will send a message to your emergency contacts with your location letting them know that your watch has detected a hard fall and dialled the emergency services. Your watch gets your emergency contacts from your Medical ID.
If you’re immobile and there are multiple emergency numbers in your country or region, Apple Watch will automatically choose a single emergency number to dial.
If you have iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro, Fall Detection notifications to the emergency services may be communicated by the Emergency SOS via satellite system when you’re outside mobile and Wi-Fi coverage, where Emergency SOS via satellite is available. Find out more about Emergency SOS via satellite.
How to make a call
To call the emergency services, drag the Emergency Call slider in the alert.
End a call you started accidentally
If the call has been made, but you don’t need emergency services, don’t hang up. Wait until a responder answers, then explain that you don’t need help. If you call emergency services, you can end the call when your call is finished.
What happens if your Apple Watch detects that you’re immobile
If your Apple Watch detects that you’re immobile for about a minute, it will start a 30-second countdown, while tapping you on the wrist and sounding an alert. The alert gets louder, so that you or someone nearby can hear it. If you don’t want to call the emergency services, tap Cancel. When the countdown ends, your Apple Watch will contact the emergency services automatically, as well as your emergency contacts.
When the call connects, your Apple Watch will play an audio message informing the emergency services that your Apple Watch has detected a hard fall. It will then share your current location as latitude and longitude coordinates.2 If you’ve previously turned on the Share During Emergency Call setting under your Medical ID, your Medical ID will also be shared with the emergency services automatically. The first time the message plays, the audio will be at full volume. After this, the volume will be reduced so that you or someone nearby can talk to the responder. The message will continue to play until you tap Stop Recorded Message or the call ends.
Wrist Detection must be turned on for your watch to automatically call the emergency services: open the Settings app on your Apple Watch, tap Passcode, then make sure that Wrist Detection is turned on.
When are falls recorded
Falls are recorded automatically in the Health app, unless you reply that you didn’t fall when your Apple Watch asks. To check your fall history, open the Health app on your iPhone, then tap the Browse tab. Tap Other Data, then tap Number of Times Fallen.
Turn Fall Detection on or off
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab.
- Tap Emergency SOS.
- Turn Fall Detection on or off. If Fall Detection is turned on, you can select Always on or Only on during workouts.
If you entered your age when you set up your Apple Watch or in the Health app, and you’re aged 55 and over, this feature turns on automatically. Make sure your correct age is displayed in your Medical ID and your Health Profile. Fall Detection is only available for those aged 18 or over.
Apple Watch cannot detect all falls. Your watch may detect high-impact activity as a fall and trigger Fall Detection.
Set up your Medical ID and add emergency contacts
- Open Settings on your iPhone, then tap Health > Medical ID.
- Tap Edit.
- Enter your date of birth and other health information.
- To add an emergency contact, tap the add button under emergency contacts. Tap a contact, then add their relationship.
- To remove an emergency contact, tap the remove button next to the contact, then tap Delete.
- To make your Medical ID available from the Lock Screen, turn on Show When Locked. In an emergency, this gives information to people who want to help. To share your Medical ID with emergency responders, turn on Share During Emergency Call. When you make a call or send a text to the emergency services on your iPhone or Apple Watch, your Medical ID will be shared with the emergency services automatically.
- Tap Done.
You can’t set the emergency services as an emergency contact.
Set up other emergency features
1. In specific regions, after the emergency call has connected, the local emergency system may require a manual input, such as “Press 1 for...". In those very rare instances, the menu option cannot be selected for you automatically to complete emergency service notification, but your emergency contacts will still be notified.
2. Only available in the United States and Canada. When you call or text the emergency services, your location and encrypted Medical ID information will be sent to Apple. Your location will be used to determine whether Enhanced Emergency Data service is supported in your area. If it’s supported, Apple will forward your information to a partner for delivery to the emergency services. Apple cannot read your Medical ID information. If you turn off “Emergency Calls & SOS" under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services, this check cannot be performed, and Medical ID information will not be shared. Texting the emergency services is not available in all countries or regions.