Police warn Android users about the 999 call button
The police in the UK have warned that a new feature on some Android phones is causing “silent” 999 calls to be made by accident.
When an Emergency SOS button is hit over and over, the phone rings.
Chiefs of police have said that they think it is one reason why there have been a record number of 999 calls.
Google, which makes the most popular software for Android phones, says it expects phone makers to fix the problem with updates.
Smartphones like the Galaxy from Samsung, the Pixel from Google, and the OnePlus run on Android.
The National Police Chiefs Council said that the new update to Android software “added a new SOS emergency function for devices to call 999 by pressing the power button five times or more.”
“Across the country, all emergency services are getting a record number of 999 calls.” There are a few reasons for this, but one we think is having a big effect is an update to Android smartphones.Devon and Cornwall Police said that taking care of quiet calls took 20 minutes. They told people who dialed 999 by mistake to stay on the line and let the operator know it was a mistake.
The police told the BBC that between midnight and 7:00 p.m. BST on Sunday, they got 169 quiet 999 calls.
Police Scotland said that BT had told them that there had been “a significant rise in mistaken calls to 999.”
Even though the feature was added to Android 12 in 2021, many have noticed problems since the Android 13 update last year.
Manufacturers’ websites have instructions on how to turn off the feature, and most phones have a setting that lets users turn off the emergency SOS call choice.
Most of the time, you can get to this by going to settings and tapping the Emergency SOS toggle to “off” or by looking for “emergency call” in the safety and emergency section.
This is not just a problem in the UK. At the beginning of June, the European Emergency Number Association warned that a “surge in automatic false calls from Android devices” had been reported by some of its members.
A Google representative told the BBC that it was up to the phone makers who chose to include Emergency SOS to decide how it worked on their phones.
“Android is giving these manufacturers more guidance and tools to help stop their devices from making emergency calls by accident,” they said.
“We expect that gadget makers will soon send out updates to their users that fix this problem. Users who are still having this problem should turn off Emergency SOS for the next few days.”