Apple fix center linked to flood of false 911 calls


Apple is working with local police to remedy a surge in unintentional emergency calls to 911 that are originating from the company's distribution and fix center in Elk Grove, California.

The accidental 911 calls, which started in October 2017, typically had nobody at the other end of the line.

Apple said in a statement that it was aware of the problem with 911 calls from its Elk Grove facility.

On older iPhones, rapidly pressing the power button five times brings up a slider that lets you call 911. As of now, Apple is receiving complaints from the police department that they are receiving emergency calls from users and when they receive the call there is no one on the other side to talk to them. But they are a nuisance to operators trying to address real emergency calls, particularly if they come in while a dispatcher is dealing with another situation.

"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 added.

It's not known which devices are making the calls, but given that they all have the SOS feature, it could be anything with a 4G connection - iPhones or Apple Watches. That's an average of 20 calls per day.

According to CBS Sacramento, the calls are dead air and ambient conversation with no sounds of any struggle or emergency. Apparently, fix technicians are accidentally setting off the Emergency SOS feature which was added back during the launch of iOS 11.

Apple says it is taking the matter seriously.

Apple told the TV station it's investigating the issue and vows to resolve it. In 2011, researchers from Google studied 911 calls in San Francisco and found that 30 percent of emergency calls from wireless phones were accidental.

Neither Apple nor the authorities involved have provided an explanation for the false alarms, but it's possible that the Emergency SOS feature in the latest Apple software could be to blame.

You just have to open Apple watch application on your device, then tap the "My watch" option from general settings tap on Emergency SOS and turn off the option labeled "Hold to Auto Call".