You were just living your life, minding your own business, when suddenly, you got the coveted email from your wireless carrier: “You’re eligible for an upgrade on your wireless device!” the email read. And no sooner had you read the email than you were standing in line at your friendly neighborhood AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile Store, purchasing your new phone.
You got the new iPhone 14, and you’re in love–you’re thinking it’s a match made in Heaven, right?
But for all your infatuation with your shiny new Midnight-colored iPhone, there’s a tremendous downside, especially if you’re a thrill-ride or coaster junkie. It’s true; if you’re the proud new owner of an iPhone 14, you’re going to want to leave your new friend behind the next time you board a coaster attraction at the parks.
In early September, Apple first announced the upcoming release of its newest smartphone–the iPhone 14. On September 16, the phone became available for purchase, and it has been quite a hot commodity. Only one week after the new phones debuted, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max were selling like hotcakes, and the manufacturer’s market share for “high-end handsets” like the 14 with prices higher than $500 had already reached 55% in off-season and 60% in peak season. Sales of the iPhone 14 Pro could even allow the peak-season share “to become the norm if they maintain their current momentum.”
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Credit: AppleAnd it’s easy to see why.
The newest member of the iPhone family boasts a larger screen size (6.7 inches in addition to the current 6.1-inch design) and comes in several popular Apple colors: Midnight, Blue, Starlight, Purple, and (PRODUCT)RED. The new iPhone 14 has a new dual-camera system, the “best battery life on iPhone,” and an industry first: a safety feature with Emergency SOS via satellite.
It also has a unique Crash Detection Feature that knows when the user has been in a car crash, and it can even call 911 if the user is unable to do so. On October 4, an iPhone 14 was responsible for alerting police to a car crash that took the lives of six people, and that’s only one example of the promising technology built into the phone that makes the feature both viable and worthwhile.
But the new feature is flawed.
Dispatchers for local emergency services are some of the hardest-working heroes we have on our front lines. They set everything into motion and coordinate getting help to those who need it most. But sometimes, dispatchers get calls in which no such assistance is warranted. It’s usually unintentional and accidental. But with the new iPhone 14, calls are being placed to 911 dispatchers when there simply is no emergency.
It seems that the safety feature on Apple’s new iPhone 14 can’t tell the difference between a car crash and a ride aboard the Space Mountain attraction at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, as several users at different theme parks have reported the phones calling 911 because the feature mistakes a thrill ride for a car crash.
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In the short time since Apple unveiled the new iPhone 14, the Crash Detection feature has misinterpreted a roller coaster ride as a vehicle collision several times, per The Wall Street Journal.
Sara White got a new iPhone 14 before visiting Kings Island Park in Ohio. She boarded the Mystic Timbers roller coaster, which reaches speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, and during the ride, her iPhone called 911 and alerted the dispatcher that the phone’s owner was involved in a serious accident.
“The owner of this iPhone was in a severe car crash and is not responding to their phone,” an automated voice says during the 911 call. The initial message was followed by longitude and latitude coordinates, giving first responders Sara’s approximate location (within 6 meters). During the call to 911, screams are heard in the background, surely adding to the confusion.
But they were the screams of excited riders onboard the coaster.
Responders were dispatched to the theme park and discovered that there had been no car crash. The Journal reports that Sara’s scenario was one of six that have been reported by the Warren County Communications Center, each one misidentifying a thrill ride as a severe car crash.
According to Apple, the new Crash Detection feature is available on these devices:
- iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models with the latest version of iOS
- Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Ultra with the latest version of watchOS
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Apple Watch users, has this happened to you on a coaster? pic.twitter.com/GzfqnmjZ2J
— Coaster101.com (@Coaster101) September 28, 2022
- Magic Kingdom at Disney World
- Kings Island
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
- Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, VA)
- Kings Dominion
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas
At the time of this post, Apple has yet to make a public statement about the new feature and its tendency to mistake thrill rides for serious car crashes.
To be sure a device doesn’t call for emergency services unnecessarily, experts advise users to turn off their devices altogether, or simply switch the devices to “Airplane Mode” during the ride.