As a frequent biker, I am aware of the very real and potentially deadly consequences of taking a hard fall. A simple misplaced rock can spell disaster for a solo biker cycling through a local trail should they endure a hard fall. Additionally, as we get older, the chances of experiencing a fatal or severe fall increases significantly with the loss of bone density and balance. 

However, it always seems like Apple is ahead of the curve when it comes to safety and innovation with the release of their Hard Fall Detector implemented into the Apple Watch. If you have an Apple Watch version 4 or later, you may want to consider activating and learning more about how this unique state-of-the-art feature can potentially save a life. 

Following a hard bicycle fall in Washington State last week, a man credited Apple’s Hard Fall Detector with saving the life of his father. After being knocked unconscious, the Apple Watch automatically contacted emergency services and the father was transported to the hospital and received proper care within 30 minutes of impact. Should he have been left unattended, the situation could have been a lot worse.

While it may seem like a complicated bit of technology, Apple’s Hard Fall Detector is actually quite easy to use. Essentially, as soon as the watch detects that you’ve suffered a Hard Fall, a notification will appear on the screen of the watch. You’ll be given the options to either send out an SOS emergency signal to local authorities or dismiss the notification. 

However, it is important to note that if the Apple Watch detects no movement after about one minute, the watch will begin a 30-second countdown with an audio alarm that will increase in volume. At the end of this timer, emergency services will be automatically contacted on your behalf. Should you be unconscious at the time, the Apple Watch also shares your exact longitude and latitude with the police so that they may accurately locate you. 

The automatic SOS feature will only function if Wrist Detection is activated. To prevent emergency services from being called, disable Wrist Detection in your settings. It’s also nice to know that the automatic emergency contact feature will operate successfully in a variety of countries and regions around the world and will work with the specific country’s ambulance system to connect you with medical services as soon as possible.

While it may seem like a fool-proof way to address potentially fatal accidents, it’s important to note that unwarranted or misplaced SOS calls can result in some heavy fines or even jail time. Although Apple planned for these incidents by preventing the automatic SOS call from being placed should movement be detected following the fall, make sure you understand how to properly set-up and operate the Hard Fall Detector before activating.