Since October 2017, the Apple repair facility in Elk Grove, California, has called 911 emergency services over 1,600 times – by accident. Apparently, repair technicians are accidentally setting off the Emergency SOS feature which was added back during the launch of iOS 11.
It’s estimated that the technicians are making at least twenty accidental calls per day by triggering the Emergency SOS while testing an iPhone’s functionality. For users of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, an owner can trigger the supposedly helpful feature by holding down both the volume buttons and the Side button. For iPhone 7 users and below, it’s caused by pressing the Sleep/Wake button five times in quick succession. Basically, it’s very easily done, as the repair technicians at Elk Grove will confirm.
Police dispatcher Jamie Hudson commented on the issue by saying: “The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call.” Hudson later went on to say that the calls are taking away precious seconds from operators who have to deal with the calls and that the Emergency SOS function accidentally calling the station isn’t helping at all. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has also received a great number of accidental calls, too, apparently.
In response, an Apple’s spokesperson said this: “We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elf Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue.”
Seeing as Emergency SOS is an integral part of the iPhone’s identity and ethos of helping people in medical scenarios, we doubt we’ll see the feature removed entirely, although they may change the way iPhones are handled by their repair technicians.