Apple's Elk Grove Repair Facility Makes ~20 Accidental 911 Calls a Day

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Repair technicians who work at Apple's repair facility in Elk Grove, California make frequent accidental 911 calls when testing Apple devices, Elk Grove police dispatcher Jamie Hudson told a local Sacramento news site.

    The influx of calls started back in October of 2017, which coincides with the introduction of the Emergency SOS feature that was added to the iPhone with the launch of iOS 11.
    To activate Emergency SOS, iPhone 8 and iPhone X simply owners need to press and hold on the Side button while also holding the two volume buttons at the same time, or rapidly press on the side button five times. Older iPhone users simply need to press the Sleep/Wake button five times in rapid succession to call emergency services.

    An Emergency SOS feature is also available on the Apple Watch and is activated by pressing on the side button of the device. It's not clear which devices are making the accidental calls, but placing a 911 call can be done with simple button presses on either device.

    Elk Grove Police have received an average of 20 accidental 911 calls per day from Apple, adding up to about 1,600 calls since October. Police dispatcher Hudson says the calls take "valuable seconds" away from real 911 calls that could be life and death situations.
    It's not just the Elk Grove Police department that's affected -- the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Communication Center has also received 47 accidental 911 calls since January 1, and sometimes, dispatchers can hear technicians working in the background. There is a loud tone and a countdown that plays when Emergency SOS is activated with the auto call feature, but it may be that repair technicians are not able to hear it.

    In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said the company is aware of the 911 calls coming from the repair facility and is working with law enforcement officials to put a stop to it.
    Emergency SOS is a feature that's enabled on every iPhone and Apple Watch by default, and it can't be disabled, so Apple may need to come up with a unique solution for its repair facilities.

    While Emergency SOS can't be turned off, there are settings that can be turned on to cut down on accidental calls. On Apple Watch, "Hold to Auto Call" can be disabled by opening up the Watch app, choosing the "General" section in "My Watch" and then selecting "Emergency SOS."

    On iPhone, auto call can be disabled by opening up the Settings app, navigating to "Emergency SOS" and toggling off "Auto Call."


    With Auto Call disabled on iPhone or Apple Watch, the same button presses will still activate emergency services, but you will need to use physical interaction in the form of a finger sliding across the screen to call 911 (or other emergency services numbers depending on your country).

    Emergency SOS was recently credited with saving a woman and her 9-month old baby after she was hit by a drunk driver. The woman lost her phone in the collision, but was able to use the SOS feature on her Apple Watch to make an emergency call.

    In addition to contacting 911, Emergency SOS serves another important purpose on the iPhone -- it quietly and discreetly disables both Touch ID and Face ID, allowing iPhone users who are being threatened to lock down their phones and require passcode entry instead of biometrics.

    Article Link: Apple's Elk Grove Repair Facility Makes ~20 Accidental 911 Calls a Day
  2. billybobthornton, Feb 22, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018

    billybobthornton macrumors newbie


    Apr 11, 2016
    “Hello this is 911 what’s your emergency?”

    “We need better software!”
  3. LordCoe13 macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    How would the repair facility be activating this and not realizing it?
  4. TheTruth101 macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2017
    Trust me... Apple is possessed by negligence. What a huge pile of garbage that company is. One of my best friends works there as a manager of whatever. He is actually the one who oversees the entire OS and iOS interfaces. When I talk to him, he keeps his mouth shut because he knows what I am saying is true. He is there because of the money and the reputation of the company but he knows the guts of Apple is pure garbage today.
  5. Attirex macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2015
  6. vic_w macrumors newbie


    Feb 7, 2018
    Reston, VA
    Stick a cell jammer inside those spaces or require that this kind of work entails that it be done ONLY in a Faraday cage.
  7. mabhatter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
    Because they’re testing all the buttons when people complain things don’t work, or maybe water damage shorts out some buttons?
  8. vic_w macrumors newbie


    Feb 7, 2018
    Reston, VA
    BS. Let me guess ...Samsung?
  9. LordCoe13 macrumors regular


    Sep 9, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    Right, but the phone would make it very well known that it's making the call. Their test procedure wouldn't be to press the button 5 times quickly and just sit there... The article made it seem like they were making the call and the technicians have no idea that the call is taking place.
  10. Reason077 macrumors 68010


    Aug 14, 2007
    I'm not surprised by this. The interface for Emergency SOS on the iPhone X is ridiculous.

    The slider looks exactly the same as "slide to switch off" and appears on the same screen. No wonder people are activating it accidentally, I've almost done it several times myself!
  11. gsapienza macrumors newbie


    Jul 4, 2009
    Employees like your friend are the current main problem at Apple.
  12. mistasopz macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2006
    This is some modern Apple-level quality right here. It could potentially distract from real emergencies and people can die as a result.
  13. sdwaltz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 29, 2015
    Yeah, I've done this from my watch by accident like 5 times.

    Apple needs to find a better way.
  14. EvilEvil macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    New York City
    Apple seriously needs to hire better software developers.
  15. snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    They don't need bigger headquarters and more layers of useless "managers" and yes man mentality...
  16. jyen macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2012
  17. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    I am surprised the repair facility hasn't been fined for all the false calls.
  18. gaximus macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2011
    Time to rob the store, talk about boy who cried wolf. (I know its from different phones:rolleyes:)
  19. appleunderpants macrumors newbie


    Feb 25, 2016
    I haven't found a single person that knew about this feature and there are apps like SafeTrek that do it better. It'd be hilarious to see a comparison of accidental calls versus real calls.

    A feature that definitely looked great on paper for the greater good but not so much in practice.
  20. joonyaboy macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2010
    Happened to me Riding my Motorcycle. Apple Watch called 911. Disabled it after that since the position of my wrists kept doing it. No worries.
  21. konqerror macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2013
    To Apple's credit, this feature was pushed onto them by telecom regulators in India.
  22. DVD Plaza macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2008
    I take off my Apple Watch when working in the yard as my gardening gloves repeatedly push against and activate the emergency call... had it with one of my work shirts too. Certainly needs some kind of tweak...
  23. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Is this a good thing? I can imagine a lot of emergencies where you would not want anyone to hear you making an emergency call, like if you're being kidnapped or robbed, or are just seeing some suspicious/illegal activity and are trying not to be noticed.
  24. spiddyman007 macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2017
    What’s the point of that. I already accidentally dialed 911 from that and even if I was in a situation where I couldn’t look at the screen to dial 911 why would I want the phone to make that loud ass noise as I hold the button??

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