(WKBN) — While many people enjoy the entertainment features that today’s mobile devices have to offer, there is also a potentially live-saving function drivers may not be aware of: crash detection.

What is crash detection?

Crash detection is a function available on some smartphones and watches that alerts emergency personnel if the device is involved in a car crash.

Mobile devices take in stimuli to determine if the alert is needed through the use of microphones and motion sensors. For example, Google Pixel phones detect a crash through the use of the phone’s location, motion sensors and nearby sounds.

For those interested in using crash detection, they should ensure their device is set up will all the proper permissions allowing it to function, such as activating location and microphone services.

What types of devices have crash detection?

Crash detection is a relatively newer function and therefore is often found in newer generations of smartphones and devices.

Apple users with iPhone models 14 and 14 Pro updated to the latest version of iOS will have the function, as will the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE (second generation) and the Apple Watch Ultra.

When a crash is detected, your iPhone or Apple Watch will display an emergency screen giving the option of calling emergency services or canceling the call. If no action is taken after 20 seconds, the device will automatically call emergency services.

Google Pixel users will see this safety function on Android 13 and up. It may be available in older versions as well with more limited functions.

How can I use crash detection?

For Apple users, crash detection is turned on by default; however, users should set up their emergency contacts and enable location sharing with them. Further directions can be found in Apple’s guide here.

For Android users, the phone requires a SIM for crash detection through its personal safety app, which is available on all models and downloads automatically on later ones. A how-to tutorial can be found at Pixel Phone Help here.

Does crash detection actually work?

While crash detection is not guaranteed to work 100% of the time depending on the nature of the crash, it has been determined to work in the past, albeit with some issues.

Reported issues include false alarms set off from devices while the holder was partaking in recreational activities, such as snowmobiling and riding rollercoasters. To avoid situations such as this, the crash detection function can be disabled ahead of activities that may present similar cues as a crash, such as loud crashing noises and sudden movements.

The function has also been credited with saving lives, however, alerting authorities to a crash in a Forest in Los Angeles that didn’t have cell service and allowing them to save a motorcyclist after he fell off a cliff.

Locally, First News received a report Tuesday afternoon stating Trumbull County 911 dispatch was informed of a crash by an iPhone alert, and when deputies went to investigate, the alert proved true and there was a crash in the location it alerted to.