How to Use Apple Watch for Medical Alerts

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Oct 7, 2020
1 min read
Did you know that the Apple Watch Series 4 and up can detect falls, monitor your health, and act as a panic button? In this post, we share how an Apple Watch can be used for medical alerts.

Does My Apple Watch Have Fall Detection?

According to Digital Trends, Apple introduced fall detection with its Series 4 watches, and the feature continues to remain available with the Series 5 watches. If the watch detects a fall, it will let you know by vibrating, playing an alarm, and displaying a message. From there, you can either contact emergency responders or cancel the alarm. Apple provides step-by-step instructions on how you can set up fall detection for your watch:

How to Turn On or Off Fall Detection

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app and click on the “My Watch” button
  2. Touch the Emergency SOS button
  3. Touch the slider to activate or deactivate the fall detection feature

In the event that your Apple Watch detects a fall, but you don’t make a selection, your watch will automatically contact an emergency responder. This feature mimics some of the newer technology found with some medical alert system providers. Medical alert providers like MobileHelp, Bay Alarm Medical, and GetSafe offer automatic fall detection as well that customers can purchase in addition to their medical alert systems. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that “falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults [aged] 65 and older.” In an emergency fall situation, every second can count – that’s why having emergency responders literally at your fingertips can make all the difference in the world.

Great Advancements, But Are There Any Drawbacks?

One of the cons that has been noted concerning Apple Watch’s inclusion of fall detection technology is that it may be less accurate. Medical Guardian writes that falls are “most accurately detected when the technology is worn close to the body, specifically by the breastplate.” Apple Watch may not be as user-friendly for the elderly versus a typical medical alert pendant or device which is designed specifically for seniors in distress in mind. This will be a judgement call for consumers to make.

Can My Apple Watch Be Used As a Panic Button?

The short answer: “Yes, it can!”

Lifewire writes that the Apple Watch can now be used as a panic button with the Alert app. This is an alternative for younger people and seniors alike in the event that they feel they need assistance. One of the positives is not needing an entire medical alert system that could actually be more noticable.

If the wearer needs help, all they’ll need to do is open the app on their Apple Watch, and from there, they can instantly get in touch with a loved one or caregiver. Granted, this may not be the most user-friendly for seniors, but it is definitely an option they can consider.

Other Ways Your Apple Watch Can Be Used for Medical Alerts

It’s not surprising that Apple has ramped up its medical alert features for its smart watches. The latest Series 5 Watch (keep an eye out because Series 6 looks like it could be on the way) also features the ability to monitor your heartbeat for irregularities and create a waveform. The ECG app can help provide you and doctors with insightful information about your heart, and it can also show signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). To get alerts for abnormal heart rhythms, you can download and use the Heart Rate app.

We believe that one of the biggest takeaways from these advancements with the Apple Watch is the ever-increasing ability to have access to the information, assistance, and people you may need in vital moments.

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on and elsewhere.

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