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How to turn on Apple Watch fall detection

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© nextpit by Irina Efremova

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A few months ago, on a bike tour in Germany I realized that the fall detection function of my Apple Watch was not activated. Researching a bit, I discovered that the function is not active by default for all people, only for users over 55 years. In this tutorial I show how to activate the Fall Detection function on the Apple Watch for those who also took it for granted.

First, the function that detects falls has been available since 2018—was announced with the Apple Watch Series 4—and initially came enabled by default for people over 65. Recently, Apple has changed this criteria, now the feature is active by default for users 55 and older.

But why should you enable the fall detection feature? Apple offers a number of SOS features to make everyday life less worrisome, but of course this is not a guarantee. However, if you choose to use fall detection, using built-in sensors, your Apple Watch will register sudden movements, such as falls, that occur while you are moving.

If a fall is recorded, an alert will be sent to your watch. If it is a false positive or you are fine, simply tap the "I'm OK" button and the action will be terminated. However, if you don't interact with the alert, the Apple Watch will make an emergency call which can take up to a minute. After this, a message to your emergency contacts will be sent automatically.

Screenshots showing how to turn on fall detection feature on an Apple Watch
Be sure to turn on the fall detection function on your Apple Watch before you need it / © NextPit

How to turn on Apple Watch fall detection

There are two ways to activate the fall detection function on your Apple Watch: through your iPhone or your watch. In both cases, the process is quite simple.

Activating fall detection via iPhone

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap My Watch.
  3. Click Emergency SOS.
  4. Enable the Fall Detection option.

Enabling fall detection on your Apple Watch:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open Settings.
  2. Click SOS.
  3. Turn on Fall Detection.

Once Fall Detection is enabled, by default the function is set to remain "Always On". However, you can choose to keep it active only "During physical activities." The difference here is that if you choose the latter option, according to Apple, this "reduces false fall detection."

There you go! Now if you do suffer a serious fall, the fall detection function can assist with first aid.

So, do you keep Fall Detection active? Have you ever had to use it? What other features of your Apple Watch do you use the most?

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Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi
Head of Editorial

With over 10 years of reviewing smartphones and wearables, I recently became addicted to smart home gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem two years back, Android remains as one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now write for the US market. I love my records and I believe that the best way to get to know a place is through its food.

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