Don't toss your Apple Watch away if you get a hard fall warning, like Steven Spielberg did...

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 17

Director Steven Spielberg was giving a talk when his Apple Watch suddenly said he'd taken a hard fall. His reaction to the false alarm ended up making matters worse.

An Apple Watch screen showing a fall detection alert with an option for an emergency call.
Pressing the onscreen "X" will cancel any sort of false alarm on the Apple Watch.



Although false warnings from an Apple Watch are rare, they are not unknown -- and can sometimes happen at inopportune moments. In this case, the renowned filmmaker was in the middle of giving a talk about his earliest feature film.

When the Apple Watch on his wrist beeped and displayed the warning, Spielberg should have simply pressed the on-screen "X" to cancel it. Instead, eager to resume his talk, he removed it, and dropped it on the ground.

"I'm not going to press the SOS [button]," Variety reported him as telling the audience. "I'll pick it up later." Shortly thereafter, the Apple Watch -- having not received any response from its owner -- began an audible countdown before calling emergency services.

Spielberg then quickly retrieved it, and turned off the alert.

When it does not receive a response from someone who has actually taken a hard fall, or been in a vehicle accident, it will make an audible final attempt to get a response from the wearer before calling emergency services and the owner's primary contact in the Health app.

The Fall Detection feature was first introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4, and has been credited many times for saving people after an accident, calling for help when they cannot respond.

False alerts can happen when the Apple Watch detects it is moving rapidly, then stops suddenly. The device has had occasions where it falsely report crashes or falls during rollercoaster rides, and false hard falls or crashes while people skied, though Apple has since worked to reduce the number of incorrect alerts.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,864member
    I’ve gotten a number of those. I find them funny. I have learned to take my watch off if I’m going to be hammering or something like that. This is a Spielberg failure. 
    rob53Anilu_777StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    This is related to one of my biggest gripes about all the emergency features on the Apple Watch and iPhone.  When you accidentally activate any of them in a hurry to cancel it and the way to cancel it is very subdued compared to the activate function. It can cause you to panic while trying to find the deactivate option before time runs out.  This could be changed ever so subtly so the X is much more apparent. 
    edited June 16 VictorMortimermichelb76watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    XedXed Posts: 2,704member
    I got my first one recently. I did fall, but it wasn't anything severe. I simply looked at my watch and hit the option that noted that I was OK. 
    appleinsideruserAnilu_777luke hamblywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,421member
    This is related to one of my biggest gripes about all the emergency features on the Apple Watch and iPhone.  When you accidentally activate any of them in a hurry to cancel it and the way to cancel it is very subdued compared to the activate function. It can cause you to panic while trying to find the deactivate option before time runs out.  This could be changed ever so subtly so the X is much more apparent. 
    To be fair, my vision is still pretty good -- but the X on the illustration above looks pretty clear and large enough to easily tap to me.

    You'll note also that the call function has to be *slid across the screen* in order to work. This is a deliberate design choice to prevent accidentally calling for help when you don't need it.

    Also, a minute is quite a long time really. If you're okay, you shouldn't be panicking.

    Finally, if for some reason the call does go through, you should stay on the line with emergency services and tell them you are okay. Do not hang up prematurely.
    Anilu_777ronnmichelb76luke hamblywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    I got one a few months ago, no idea why.  I had not fallen.

    I just canceled it.
    Anilu_777
  • Reply 6 of 22
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,897member
    If fasle alarms aren't all that frequent and easily cancelled, I'd rather have it than not. 
    Anilu_777ronnmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Spoon!Spoon! Posts: 7member
    Once when I nearly fell I swiftly moved my arm to grab a railing to stop myself, and my Watch asked me if I'd fallen.

    Then a week later I slipped and fell on some black ice in the park... and the Watch did nothing. 

    It's good, but not perfect. I'd rather it err on the side of a possible accident, and be able to cancel the alert.
    timpetusronnmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    timpetustimpetus Posts: 43member
    I have had it give me a false alarm when I am playing volleyball, sometimes I hit the ball hard enough to trigger it.

    On the other hand, it helped save my life when my watch detected I’d crashed on my motorcycle and was unconscious. I’ll never be without it!
    Anilu_777ronntokyojimuluke hamblywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    False fall and crash warnings were so common during daily activities, i turned them off.  They didnt work, creating tons of false positives, i was unwilling to put first responders at risk over immature tech.  Perhaps if i engaged in higher risk behaviors, but for now, ill take my chances rather than make false alarms
    michelb76
  • Reply 10 of 22
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,390member
    Having too much money makes some people really stupid.  That's true of anyone who takes their expensive and not indestructible bauble and, without a second thought, casts it to the ground!  Incredible.

    With that said, I look forward to seeing more AI in our life in terms of greater intelligence that prevents such things from happening in the first place.  In other words, a watch that can actually observe the situation (not merely shock and orientation) to determine if someone is truly in jeopardy or just aggressively giving a speech.  To me, this is the promise of AI that we should all be looking forward to.
    Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,007member
    gardnervh said:
    False fall and crash warnings were so common during daily activities, i turned them off.  They didnt work, creating tons of false positives, i was unwilling to put first responders at risk over immature tech.  Perhaps if i engaged in higher risk behaviors, but for now, ill take my chances rather than make false alarms
    Interesting. I’ve never had a false alarm. I am very active and have had fall alerts when I wreck on my mountain bike, but I don’t consider those false alarms—it’s never gone off just from hard riding, other sports or hard yard work. I wonder why/how some people get many. 

    Anyway, my last wreck was a year ago and I broke some ribs trashed my shoulder. I turned the alarm off before I even knew how bad off I was. But if I had been unconscious out in the woods alone, you can bet that my watch alerting people to my situation would have been worth a few false alarms (if I ever had ever had any)
    Anilu_777ronntimpetuscharlesatlaswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    AlexeyVAlexeyV Posts: 14member
    I’ve had a hard fall just yesterday (from kids skateboard), but didn’t got alarm. And I never had false alarms. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,389member
    It's interesting what some people call false alarms. Walking, I tripped and fell against a door, catching myself falling into an inclined pushup position. The Fall Detection procedure was initiated.

    Even though I didn't hit the ground nor was unconscious, dazed, nor confused, I count this as a positive alarm. Having Fall Detection enabled since my Series 4 Watch, this is the only alarm I've ever received.

    There are two serious stumbles where the Watch didn't sound the alarm. I don't know if Apple would feel the alarm should have sounded or not. I didn't count that as a bad fall but who knows. I'll say I believe the FD was very accurate though maybe not perfect in my case.
    edited June 17 ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 659member
    Best to turn that feature off when presenting, if you wave your arms around.
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    jvm156jvm156 Posts: 15member
    Mine did this last week, for the first time ever, when i was flailing my arms in frustration at my Vision Pro not responding to gestures.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    I've received the SOS from my Apple watch several times, and each was after an actual fall - I wasn't injured in any of them and responded as such when queried by the Watch. I can understand Mr. Spielberg's reaction - likely because he'd never experienced such a warning. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    I've gotten the SOS alert numerous times playing Frisbee, doing home maintenance, and digging for landscaping, but fortunately have not actually needed it. The first time it went off I freaked out and didn't know how to turn it off and once I finally did, it wasn't in time and I started getting concerned calls from all my emergency contacts.

    The problem with Apple's implementation is when it goes off, you tend to panic because you don't want to call emergency services or your friends unnecessarily. And, you have to scroll to see your other options (if you don't notice the x), like I didn't fall, and I'm Ok. I would prefer that it just gave you two options that were both visible on the first screen: the first would be a green button, I'm Ok, and the second would be a red button for SOS. Obviously, if you are not Ok, you don't have to (or may be unable to) push a button, so I don't know why that has to be the only choice visible. I generally like the feature, just feel it could be made a lot clearer.

    In the meantime, I take the watch off when I'm digging, and try to remember when I'm playing Frisbee, but I've left the feature on just in case I have a real emergency.
    edited June 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    I get fall warnings all the time and have with my last 2 iterations of Apple Watch and my current Ultra 2. I am usually doing something active when they happen, but almost guarantied if I’m picking rocks, shoveling dirt, or cutting with an ax. A couple of times I’ve had falls (not injured) where it did not activate. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    I've worn an AW since Series 0, and I've had a few false alarms, most of which were when I was moving my arms suddenly in unusual ways. 

    Other than that, I've had it go off when I was running a chainsaw with the accompanying vibrations. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 280member
    I was surprised to get a fall alert when I was simply putting some weights on the floor.

    But I was more amused after I got a loud noise alert when I sneezed a couple of months ago.
    watto_cobra
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