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 taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert. You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping "I'm OK."
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've been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically.1
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.
If you're immobile and there are multiple emergency numbers in your country or region, Apple Watch automatically chooses a single emergency number to dial.
If you have iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro, Fall Detection notifications to emergency services may be communicated by the Emergency SOS via satellite system when you're outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, where Emergency SOS via satellite is available. Learn more about Emergency SOS via satellite.
How to make a call
To call emergency services, drag the Emergency Call slider in the alert.
How to end a call
If you call emergency services, you can end the call when your call is finished or if you no longer need emergency care:
- Tap the end call button .
- On the End Call screen, tap Yes.
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 begins 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 emergency services, tap Cancel. When the countdown ends, your Apple Watch automatically contacts emergency services as well as your emergency contacts.
When the call connects, your Apple Watch plays an audio message that informs emergency services that your Apple Watch detected a hard fall and then it shares your current location as latitude and longitude coordinates.2 If you previously turned on the Share During Emergency Call setting under your Medical ID, your Medical ID is also automatically shared with emergency services. The first time the message plays, the audio is at full volume, but then the volume is reduced so that you, or someone nearby, can talk to the responder. The message continues to play until you tap Stop Recorded Message or the call ends.
Wrist Detection must be turned on for your watch to automatically call 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 automatically recorded 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 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 age 55 and over, this feature turns on automatically. Make sure that your correct age appears in your Medical ID and your Health Profile. Fall Detection is available only for those 18 or older.
Apple Watch cannot detect all falls. Your watch might 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 emergency services on your iPhone or Apple Watch, your Medical ID will automatically be shared with emergency services2.
- Tap Done.
You can't set emergency services as an emergency contact.
Set up other emergency features
1. In specific regions, once the emergency call connects, the local emergency system might require a manual input, such as "Press 1 for..." In those very rare instances, the menu option cannot be automatically selected for you to complete emergency service notification, but your emergency contacts will still be notified.
2. Available only in the United States and Canada. When you call or text emergency services, your location and encrypted Medical ID information are sent to Apple. Your location is used to determine if Enhanced Emergency Data service is supported in your area. If supported, Apple forwards your information to a partner for delivery to emergency services. Apple cannot read your Medical ID information. If your 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 emergency services is not available in all countries or regions.