Apple Watch Series 4 Fall Detection Feature is Off by Default Unless You're 65+

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    Apple Watch Series 4 has a new feature called Fall Detection, which uses the new next-generation gyroscope and accelerometer to detect a fall and provide options to contact emergency services if necessary.

    As it turns out, Fall Detection is disabled for most users and will need to be manually enabled. In an Apple support document found by a Reddit user, Apple explains that Fall Detection only turns on automatically if you've set your age on Apple Watch or in the Health app and you're over 65 years old.

    [​IMG]

    If you are not over age 65 and want to use Fall Detection, it will need to be enabled in the Emergency SOS section of the Apple Watch app.

    Apple's support document also explains other aspects of the Fall Detection feature. When the Apple Watch Series 4 detects a "significant, hard fall" with Fall Detection enabled, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert.

    From the options that display on the screen, you can select either "I fell but I'm OK," "I did not fall," or "Emergency SOS" to contact emergency services.

    If the Apple Watch detects that you're moving, it will wait for a response, but if you're immobile for about a minute, it will begin a 15-second countdown before automatically calling emergency services and alerting emergency contacts that are set up in Medical ID in the Health app on iPhone.

    Fall Detection in the Series 4 was tested over the weekend by multiple YouTube channels to see how the feature works and how hard of a fall is necessary to cause an alert.

    Test falls onto softer surfaces like foam or carpet didn't seem to trigger the Fall Detection feature, but harder falls onto less forgiving surfaces did appear to work better. YouTube testers were not able to get the feature to trigger with each and every fall, suggesting there's some margin of error, which users should be aware of.



    Apple says it gathered data from thousands of people over a period of time to create the Fall Detection algorithms, which are able to test both forward facing falls with wrists out and backward facing slips with wrists up.

    Apple does warn in its support document that the Apple Watch Series 4 won't detect all falls, and also says that false positives are possible. "The more physically active you are, the more likely you are to trigger fall detection due to high impact activity that can appear to be a fall," reads the document.

    Given the possibility of false positives for active adults, most people will likely want to leave this feature disabled, but it's a good idea to know how to turn it on if you may need it.

    Article Link: Apple Watch Series 4 Fall Detection Feature is Off by Default Unless You're 65+
     
  2. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #3
    Does it though? It's a heavily advertised feature. Being disabled by default doesn't appear to be obvious or clear.

    But most importantly, people of any age can fall and take advantage of this. If the algorithm is good enough and hard enough to fake, I don't see the disadvantage for always being on.
     
  3. seanmcbay macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    #4
    I’ll keep it on on mine even though I’m nowhere near 65 years old. I know false positives are possible but if I can’t deactivate it before it calls 911 then I’d probably need it.
     
  4. radiology macrumors 6502

    radiology

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Location:
    Westlake, OH
    #5
    I wonder how this work in an amusement park like Busch Gardens...
     
  5. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #6
    You mean like being on a rollercoaster? I would think these algorithms are extremely specific, and I doubt any (or at least the vast majority of) rollercoaster has the matching characteristics of a trip/slip fall.
    Same. I'm a cyclist and hope these algorithms detect falling (or being thrown) off.
     
  6. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Clearwater, FL
    #7
    Turn it on if you’re worried.
     
  7. JaydenWalter macrumors newbie

    JaydenWalter

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2017
    #8
    As I understand it, the Apple Watch would detect movement after the "fall" and therefore it would not call emergency services, allowing the alert to be dismissed.
     
  8. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #9
    Rollercoaster falls also have at totally different force pattern than tripping or slipping. Probably wouldn't activate in the first place.
     
  9. macsrcool1234 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    #10
    It's not and thats the whole point. Apple literally says so....
     
  10. code-m, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018

    code-m macrumors 6502a

    code-m

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    #11
    I am going to go out here on a limb and state my obversations on this feature and AppleWatch Series 4. Generally most elderly people have poor eyesight/vision, not all however most. Even with the increased size of Series 4, an elderly persons hand and finger dexterity can be less than precise (not all however most). Given that WatchOS is simpler than most to navigate, it still has quite a bit to go to make it elderly friendly. Many elderly people do not understand new/er technology advances (there may be some exceptions to this). Fall detection is great for certain age groups (most can benefit), however given the above how quickly will an elderly person even dismiss false positives.

    Granted that usually some tech enthusiast family member or an Apple Store employee will configure these devices, my understanding is that most elderly people end up confused or lost in mobile technology. I am having a hard time understanding who this feature and device is really for. People who are genuinely fit, don’t require a device to get them moving (which includes me), for those who need some digital encouragement great, however would that not be better suited for a larger device such as a phone or even something smaller like a FitBit at a fraction of the cost.

    If you are an elderly person the technology has to seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle with zero or minimal learning curve, most will not even use half the power of what Series 4 will offer let along prior models. If it was a simple device with a single button that has this algorithm built into it that would be great. Press button for help, press twice to cancel, has a red light that falshes when activated for help and can detect Falls and provide a voice prompt.

    It is not great to age, your vision, hearing, dexterity, balance, etc take a severe hit. Cognition may also be affected, though that is not always the case. Usually the elderly do not have time to invest in complex technology, most will try if their cannot figure it out, their tend to forget and not try again.

    Though Apples marketing tells us that every elderly person is some Apple tech enthusiasts and raves about the AppleWatch, in reality most don’t receive enough of a pension or social security and struggle on a daily basis to obtain food, housing, clothing, medical, dental, etc. I am sure the AppleWatch is not on their priority of things in their remaining years.

    I am curious to hear people’s thoughts on this.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2018 ---
    I concur, the G-force and length of fall would not trigger Fall Detection if the algorithm is good. Besides you can always turn it off when boarding these rides if it is of a concern.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2018 ---
    I believe ECG is also not available until later this year. All this fuss over a larger screen with more complications. I have had some hard falls in my time, never required the assistance of feature or emergency such as this. Even light to moderate activity will strengthen the body to recover quickly. Which I guess is good for any wearable device to encourage a healthier lifestyle, however if you were already healthy prior to Series 0 introduction or even the FitBit, it may just offer an expensive encouragement at most.
     
  11. hamiltonrwatch macrumors regular

    hamiltonrwatch

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Location:
    slightly right of left
    #12
    Well, there's the rub(s)

    The reviewers have been making a big deal out of the ECG and "Fall Detection" capabilities of this device.

    Heart monitoring software is all well and good, but Apple's disclaimer is pretty through;

    "The ECG app is a software-only mobile medical application intended for use with the Apple Watch to create, record, store, transfer, and display a single channel electrocardiogram (ECG) similar to a Lead I ECG. The ECG app determines the presence of atrial fibrillation (AFib) or sinus rhythm on a classifiable waveform. The ECG app is not recommended for users with other known arrhythmias.

    The ECG app is intended for over-the-counter (OTC) use. The ECG data displayed by the ECG app is intended for informational use only. The user is not intended to interpret or take clinical action based on the device output without consultation of a qualified healthcare professional. The ECG waveform is meant to supplement rhythm classification for the purposes of discriminating AFib from normal sinus rhythm and not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment.

    The ECG app is not intended for use by people under 22 years old."

    As for "Fall Detection";

    "Apple does warn in its support document that the Apple Watch Series 4 won't detect all falls, and also says that false positives are possible."

    My wife is both epileptic, and had an ICD installed a few years ago. I wouldn't suggest anyone bet the farm on this technology until its been refined, retested, and, at least for the ECG element, FDA approved. That said, it's a great start.
     
  12. gavroche macrumors 6502a

    gavroche

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Left Coast
    #13
    Cant recall ever seeing anyone over 65 with an Apple Watch...
     
  13. code-m macrumors 6502a

    code-m

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    #14
    I concur, too much cheering for the great start. I prefer results and then cheer if warranted. Too many fans who jump the gun and then backtrack with excuses and throwing the words innovation and magic around like a cheap catchphrase. Good first step though.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2018 ---
    Apple Marketing says otherwise ;):p:D
     
  14. citysnaps, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018

    citysnaps macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #15
    "Given the possibility of false positives for active adults, most people will likely want to leave this feature disabled, but it's a good idea to know how to turn it on if you may need it. "

    Makes sense. No doubt this was carefully considered by Apple.

    If you're regularly climbing ladders, climbing mountains, or engaging in other similar activity, it's easy enough to turn on. Apple can always revise their threshold decision after more data is collected from public use.
     
  15. Fortimir macrumors 6502a

    Fortimir

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #16
    My mother is considering buying these for her parents because of this feature.
     
  16. UnLiMiTeD558 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
  17. jonblatho macrumors 6502a

    jonblatho

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Oklahoma/Missouri
    #18
    Apple Watch Series 4 may never get FDA "approval" because the Watch isn't (currently?) considered a Class III product. It's a Class II product, on the same level as an electric wheelchair—at most, it receives "clearance," which it already has. At some later date, the FDA may opt to reclassify the Watch as a Class III "approved" product, but it's fairly unlikely considering the low risk involved with use of the Watch.
     
  18. gwaizai macrumors regular

    gwaizai

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    #19
    A new market Apple wants to "break" into.

    All these health apps are great but my granddad can't even program a clock radio.
     
  19. Tapiture macrumors 65816

    Tapiture

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    #20
    It’s probably for the better, I can imagine the police getting spammed by calls from this.
     
  20. falainber macrumors 65816

    falainber

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2016
    Location:
    Wild West
    #21
    Good move by Apple. They know that people over 65 do not wear Apple watches.
     
  21. citysnaps macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #22
    For sure on that.

    With millions of boomers entering their 60s+, I can see Apple taking away share from dedicated subscription services that charge high monthly fees. There's still a lot of issues to work out to become a real threat, but I'm certain Apple has their eye on this and the market potential.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2018 ---
    Seriously?
     
  22. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #23
    My dad was prone to falling — especially in the last three or four years of his life. He passed away earlier this year, but if he was still living, I would’ve bought a Series 4 for him in a heartbeat specifically for the fall detection feature. He never used one of those “help line” bracelets (even though he should have); but he was kind of a gadget guy and I think he would’ve liked this latest Apple Watch — particularly with the larger display.

    I bought a Series 4 for myself a few days ago and I turned the fall detection feature on. It’s one of those “I hope I don’t need to use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there” features.
     
  23. citysnaps macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #24
    Yeah... That feature alone is reason enough for me to upgrade to a Series 4.
     
  24. boomer11 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #25
    i would absolutely get this for my parents but based on the reviews so far of fall detection, it seems more like a gimmick than something you can depend on
     

Share This Page