In brief: Most early reviews of the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro mentioned Apple's crash detection feature but nobody actually put it to the test, likely because Apple almost certainly forbid it for safety reasons. Now that the phones have launched, there is nothing Apple can do to prevent owners from seeing if it really works which is exactly what one YouTuber recently did.
TechRax rigged up a Mercury Grand Marquis with a crude remote-controlled setup to plow the car into stationary targets – junkyard-grade vehicles. An iPhone 14 Pro was fastened to the back of the driver's seat headrest and the car was outfitted with a GoPro to record the action. The YouTuber said everything was filmed "in a safe and controlled environment" but after watching the video, you'll probably disagree with this statement.
In testing, TechRax was able to get Apple's crash detection system to trigger twice. Both times, the feature activated roughly 20 seconds after the wrecks. A countdown gives the user plenty of time to cancel the call in the event of a non emergency.
The first crash equated to a minor fender bender. The second run connected with a bit more force, resulting in significant damage to the Mercury. Both air bags were deployed during the second impact.
Apple announced crash detection as a new feature on the iPhone 14 family and new Apple Watches earlier this month. It utilizes an improved gyroscope, a new g-force accelerometer, microphones, barometer, GPS and an advanced algorithm to detect if you've been in a crash and can automatically connect you with emergency services. In the event you are unconscious, your device will play an audio message for emergency services and supply them with your latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates.
Crash detection is enabled by default. Hopefully, it's a feature you will never have to use.
It goes without saying that you shouldn't try this at home. Remarkably, nobody got hurt during the filming of this video and somehow, no power lines were downed either. In hindsight, none of this would have met the standards of safety experts.