Apple Watch Fall Detection Works After Man Collapses

Three Apple Watches on display in Apple Store.
Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Apple recently updated its Apple Watch with a new Series 4 addition. The company announced the new watch in September, and boasted about the watch’s increased screen real estate, as well as updated features and functionalities, including an ECG feature and new fall detection capability.

The Apple Watch has previously made headlines for saving lives by alerting users of different issues, most recently, the watch’s built-in heart rate monitor prompted 24-year old Mike Love to visit his doctor, according to the New York Post. A healthy resting heart usually beats around 60 times per minute, but Love was receiving notifications from his Apple Watch that his heart rate was at 130-140 beats per minute while asleep. Love took a trip to the doctor, which revealed a hole in his heart that had been there since his birth.

After undergoing surgery, Love says he doesn’t want to live without his Apple Watch.

“I don’t think I’d live without one now. I love it for the convenience but also the fact it just picked up something medically that I had no idea about and it potentially saved my life.”

This time, it wasn’t the watch’s heart monitor that potentially saved a life in crisis, it was the new fall detection, according to BGR.

Fall detection works by offering to call emergency services if it recognizes the wearer has fallen. If the wearer does not respond to the prompt, perhaps because they were rendered unconscious, the watch will automatically call for help.

Luckily, 34-year-old Swedish man Gustavo Rodriguez didn’t need that option. Aftonbladet reports that Rodriguez “credits his Apple Watch with coming to his rescue after crippling back pain led him to collapse near his stove.”

The report states that while cooking, Rodriguez was struck with a sudden, and intensely sharp pain in his back. He said he tried to ignore it but the pain only intensified.

“I moved the frying pan and it just hit me. It felt like someone pushed a knife into my back,” he said.

The pain knocked Rodriguez off his feet and “everything went black.” He said his watch soon chimed in and asked “Do you want to call 112?”

“My Apple Watch had sensed the fall and wondered if it should make an emergency call,” he continued.

Rodriguez said he didn’t utilize the emergency service call option, but instead called his mother-in-law from the Apple Watch, who came over to turn off the stove and take her son-in-law to the hospital. Rodriguez was given a morphine shot to reduce his pain.

Website 9to5Mac says the fall detection comes automatically enabled on Series 4 for elderly customers, and can be activated manually for everyone else. The company warns “that some activity could be mistaken for falls with more active customers.”