iPhone 11 Squeezing iPhones into Cupholders = Endless 911 Hangup Calls...

eRondeau

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 3, 2004
1,040
132
Canada's South Coast
I supervise a busy 911/Police/Fire Communication Center in a municipality of 100,000 people. Every day we answer around a hundred 911 calls. About half of those are accidental (pocket-dials, butt-dials, little kids pushing buttons on the phone). Lately though we've noticed a concerning new trend with accidental 911 calls -- people squeezing their iPhones into cupholders in their vehicles, lawn chairs, and even floating pool chairs. This has the effect of forcing-down the sleep/wake button and the volume button -- which results in an automatic "Emergency Mode" call to 911. It cannot be defeated (PLEASE DO NOT TRY IT!) This never used to happen when the sleep/wake button was on top, but now that it's on the side of newer iPhones it happens almost too easily. I've even done it myself with my iPhone 11 in my car cupholder. This sunny afternoon my shift dealt with a dozen of these, almost all in campgrounds & parks and on beaches. Every one of these takes resources away from true emergencies, and there's certainly no shortage of those now. I so wish Apple could change this -- block the Emergency Mode 911 call if the phone is stationary and not moving around. Please give those of us answering 911 calls a fighting chance.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,229
3,405
First, thanks for doing a critical and stressful job.

Second-- I'm really sorry that it's being made that much more difficult by bad hardware design. The intent of "easy to call 911" is good, but making it too easy also makes it easy to trigger accidentally.

I'd suggest this is a big enough deal to have someone in the chain of command contact Apple on the topic-- not sure how. I'd hope they're responsive on it.
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors G5
Sep 21, 2012
14,198
14,125
In the middle of several books.
I supervise a busy 911/Police/Fire Communication Center in a municipality of 100,000 people. Every day we answer around a hundred 911 calls. About half of those are accidental (pocket-dials, butt-dials, little kids pushing buttons on the phone). Lately though we've noticed a concerning new trend with accidental 911 calls -- people squeezing their iPhones into cupholders in their vehicles, lawn chairs, and even floating pool chairs. This has the effect of forcing-down the sleep/wake button and the volume button -- which results in an automatic "Emergency Mode" call to 911. It cannot be defeated (PLEASE DO NOT TRY IT!) This never used to happen when the sleep/wake button was on top, but now that it's on the side of newer iPhones it happens almost too easily. I've even done it myself with my iPhone 11 in my car cupholder. This sunny afternoon my shift dealt with a dozen of these, almost all in campgrounds & parks and on beaches. Every one of these takes resources away from true emergencies, and there's certainly no shortage of those now. I so wish Apple could change this -- block the Emergency Mode 911 call if the phone is stationary and not moving around. Please give those of us answering 911 calls a fighting chance.
I highly suggest you email Tim Cook. tcook@apple.com Keep the email brief and very succinct. Also provide contact details in case someone from the executive relations department wishes to speak with you further.

I have contacted Tim several times and each time, I have received a reply as well as personal conference.
 
Last edited:

Bballrob

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2017
360
375
Alaska
Actually, as it counts down from 5 to 1, when it gets to 3, it makes a loud distinctive sound and you can stop it by pressing cancel on the screen.

Also, 100 calls per day doesn’t sound like that many. That’s only about 4 per hour. You sure you got that number right?
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,704
5,772
That really suck, I suggest taking that advice from @BasicGreatGuy and email Tim Cook.

I remember when this feature was first featured on MR, I posted saying that I bet people would be accidentally dialing 911, and many people basically said that it would be really difficult to accidentally activate the Emergency SOS feature.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,920
17,560
Isn't there a setting to disable automatic calling when it comes to SOS mode?
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,704
5,772
I still think the cupholder problem deserves separate mention. The repair center problem is under Apple's control, the cupholders are under the control of every idiot with an iPhone-- which is to say not controlled at all...
Yeah, I think that the cupholder should be mentioned, as it might not be something that Apple Engineer's think about when they design and test features like this.


This kind of reminds me of a post that someone made a while back when describing how the design of the Apple TV's Siri Remote was tested by engineers and how the problems with the design were not apparent back then. They said that the Siri Remote was most likely placed on a table or work bench next to the TV that the ATV was connected to, picked up in a well lit room, and replaced back on the table when the engineer was not using it.

If the remote was tested in a dark living room on a couch or recliner chair, we may have gotten a totally different design.
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Isn't there a setting to disable automatic calling when it comes to SOS mode?
I think there is, but I think it is not toggled as default.
 
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