Android phones dialling Emergency SOS number by accident | Mobile News

Android phones dialling Emergency SOS number by accident

Emergency SOS feature on Android phones is creating a big problem for the police.

| Updated on: Jun 23 2023, 16:36 IST
Emergency SOS
The Emergency SOS feature allows you to contact emergency services in seconds. (HT Tech)
Emergency SOS
The Emergency SOS feature allows you to contact emergency services in seconds. (HT Tech)

If you're an avid rock climber or hiker, then you're well aware of the risk that comes along with it. While these activities pump up your adrenaline, you also get involved in risky situations in areas where there is not a soul in sight, in case of any mishap. This is where the Emergency SOS feature comes in handy, which is present on both iPhones and Android phones. It allows you to contact emergency services in seconds, even in situations where you don't have cell reception. However, it also has given rise to a new problem that is currently plaguing the police in the UK.

Accidental calls

In a conversation with the BBC, UK police have revealed that the Emergency SOS feature is being accidentally activated on some Android phones, wasting crucial time and police resources that could have been used to deal with potentially life-saving situations. Devon and Cornwall Police say that they received 169 accidentally dialed calls between 12 AM and 7 PM on Sunday alone.

On most smartphones, the Emergency SOS feature gets activated by pressing the power button 5 times, and the police say that it could accidentally be happening in pockets. Apple also announced its Emergency SOS feature last year which can contact emergency services even in places where there is no cell reception.

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According to the police, most of them are silent calls, meaning that it takes them about 20 minutes to deal with each individual call.

Android 13 update causing trouble

While Emergency SOS has been present on Android phones since Android 12, it is causing more of an issue since the Android 13 update. The National Police Chiefs Council said, "Nationally, all emergency services are currently experiencing record high 999 call volumes. There's a few reasons for this, but one we think is having a significant impact is an update to Android smartphones. "

Speaking to the BBC, a Google spokesperson said, “To help these manufacturers prevent unintentional emergency calls on their devices, Android is providing them with additional guidance and resources.”

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First Published Date: 23 Jun, 15:55 IST