You may wear your smartwatch to record your walk in the park or a run. When you stumble or trip during your walk or run in the park, your Galaxy Watch can send out an SOS signal to get you help. That’s the fall detection feature on the Galaxy Watch that senses unusual movement, checks if you’re okay, and can call for help if needed. Due to the possibility of several false positives (when you’re just playing with your kids), the feature isn’t enabled out of the box. Here’s how to turn on fall detection on your Samsung Galaxy Watch and customize it to be your savior in an emergency.
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What Is Fall Detection
Samsung Galaxy Watches, including the Active2 and WearOS models, have a built-in personal safety feature called Fall Detection. It can automatically detect if you’ve suffered a hard fall and send an SOS message to the emergency contacts to notify them of the accident.
The contact can decide to check on you, inform the authorities, or call for help.
The feature relies on the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors onboard to detect abrupt movements, changes in speed, and impact forces. It is coupled with algorithms that differentiate between a sudden, impactful fall and routine activities like walking, running, or adventures like a roller coaster ride.
What Happens When Your Galaxy Watch Detects a Fall?
If your Galaxy Watch detects a significant impact or hard fall that doesn’t align with typical daily activities, it may trigger the fall detection feature. Here’s what happens:
- It throws an alert: As soon as a hard fall is detected, the Galaxy Watch will vibrate and sound an alarm at maximum volume with a 60-second timer. There can be a delay in detection depending on the situation.
- It waits for your response: Dismiss the alert if you’re fine. If in trouble, swipe the SOS option to send a message to your emergency contacts immediately.
- If you don’t respond: If you do not interact with the watch within 60 seconds, it’ll automatically send an SOS message to your pre-selected emergency contacts. Depending on your settings, it can also make an emergency call.
- What the emergency contacts get: The SOS message includes a help message with your current GPS location. Any medical information you’ve added to the Galaxy Wearable app will be shared, too.
Galaxy Watches That Support Fall Detection
Here’s the list of Samsung Galaxy Watch models that support the fall detection feature.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Finding your Galaxy Watch model is easy, even if you’re unsure about the names or numbers. Check our guide to identify your Galaxy Watch’s model number.
How to Turn On Fall Detection on Your Galaxy Watch
To set up fall detection on your Galaxy Watch, you need to select emergency contacts and activate Hard Fall detection. You can do this with the Galaxy Watch’s companion app or from the watch settings. Here’s how:
Enable Fall Detection Using Galaxy Wearable App
1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your Android phone. Ensure the Galaxy Watch is connected to the phone.
2. Tap Watch Settings. Scroll down and choose Safety and Emergency.
3. Tap Emergency Contacts and then Select from Contacts.
4. Choose up to four emergency contacts (family members, close friends, doctors, etc.). After that, go back to the previous screen.
5. Select Hard Fall Detection and enable the toggle.
6. Tap When to detect falls. Your watch can detect falls either Always, During physical activity, or Only during workouts.
We recommend you choose Always if you don’t do vigorous activity often but still have a high risk of falling. For example, you have a health condition and often travel alone.
7. Turn on Share info with emergency contacts. This enables your Galaxy Watch to send your location and SOS message to your emergency contacts when it detects a hard fall.
8. Lastly, you can customize the following options based on your preferences:
- Countdown: Choose whether the watch should call the emergency number automatically after a countdown. The default is 10 seconds; tap it to set your own countdown timer.
- Play warning sound: Turn on or off the warning sound that the watch plays while counting down.
- Emergency number to call: Specify the emergency number to call, such as police, ambulance, or fire department (depending upon your region). You can also choose your friends and family by using the Custom number option.
The Emergency SOS mode on LTE variant of Galaxy Watch 4, Watch 5, or Watch 6 operates even when it is not connected to a phone. However, the Bluetooth variants of Galaxy Watch need to be connected to the phone.
Enable Fall Detection Directly From the Watch
1. On your Galaxy Watch, swipe up from the bottom to open the app drawer.
2. Tap on Settings.
3. Scroll down and choose Safety and Emergency.
4. Here, tap Hard fall detection.
5. Turn on the toggle for Hard fall detection.
6. Scroll down to customize other options like countdown, emergency number to call, when to detect falls, and sharing info with emergency contacts.
Adding Emergency Medical Info to Galaxy Watch (Samsung Phones Only)
Samsung allows you to store medical information, such as blood group, existing health conditions, allergies, etc., on your Galaxy Watch. These details can be extremely useful in emergencies. However, note that this option is currently available only on Samsung smartphones.
On other phones, you may need to rely on their built-in emergency sharing options, such as the Safety app on Google Pixel. Here’s how you can add emergency medical info on your Galaxy Watch:
1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on the connected phone.
2. Head to Watch Settings and choose Safety and Emergency.
3. Tap Medical Info. Enter your name, medical conditions (if any), blood type, allergies, current medications, weight, height, and other details.
4. Once done, tap Save.
Can You Change Fall Detection Sensitivity
Previously, you could choose between Normal and High sensitivity for fall detection. With that, you could change the impact threshold at which the watch would trigger the emergency response. However, Samsung has switched to a pre-defined sensitivity level to balance accuracy and avoid false triggers.
Since several users are still reporting instances where Galaxy Watch falsely triggered the fall detection alert, there’s speculation that Samsung might re-introduce the option to adjust fall detection sensitivity. However, there’s no official statement from Samsung as of writing this post.
Testing the Galaxy Watch Fall Detection
We tried replicating the potential fall scenarios with our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and here’s what we learned:
- The Galaxy Watch (with default settings) doesn’t detect falls unless you’re involved in a physical activity or workout. Hence, if you (the person wearing the watch) are susceptible to falling even when not exercising or pursuing physical activity like trekking, running, etc., we recommend keeping it to Always.
- There won’t be any alert if you start to move or walk right after the fall since the watch thinks you’re fine and conscious. It vibrates only if you fall and stay still for 15-30 seconds. This makes it slightly unreliable for conditions like seizures or epilepsy, where someone might still be in motion post-fall.
- The feature works best when the person falls unconscious or cannot move after a fall. It takes time to register a fall, waits for your response, and sends an SOS message automatically if you don’t respond.
- You need to wear the watch correctly with a snug fit on your wrist.
- In short, fall detection works well most of the time, except for scenarios where immediate movement follows a fall.
How to Manually Trigger a SOS Call on Galaxy Watch
Fall detection is a great feature to have. But if it fails or you didn’t enable it, you can still trigger an SOS call in emergencies, as shown below:
1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.
2. Navigate to Watch Settings, tap on Safety and Emergency, and choose Emergency SOS.
3. Enable the toggle for Share info with emergency contacts. Set a countdown timer (gives you the time to cancel SOS when triggered accidentally) and change the emergency number if required.
4. In an emergency, press the Home button five times to call an emergency number. The watch will also send your emergency contacts an SOS message with your location details.
Turn Your Smartwatch Into Your Life Savior
While one may question the reliability of Galaxy Watch’s fall detection due to false triggers and cases where it doesn’t respond after a genuine hard fall, the potential benefits far outweigh these concerns.
Wearing a device with fall detection on your wrist adds to the overall sense of security and peace of mind, whether for yourself or someone you care about. It’s particularly helpful for people at a higher risk of losing consciousness or motor control or those with specific health conditions. Even if it works 4 out of 5 times, it could be a potential lifesaver by ensuring timely help.
Fall Detection is available on Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, select Huawei smartwatches, Google Pixel Watch, and several smartwatches and activity trackers from Garmin.