Published: Sat, February 24, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Oops: Apple repair center calls 911 hundreds of times

Oops: Apple repair center calls 911 hundreds of times

Naturally, officials at the fix center have been trying to discover why so many calls are being made to the emergency services.

Elk Grove Police say that they have received around 20 accidental 911 calls a day from the Apple facility, which adds up to around 1,600 calls since October. Apple said that it's urgently working to stop further calls from taking place and not to clog up the lines for real emergencies.

In a statement to PCMag, an Apple spokesperson said the company is looking into the issue.

"We're aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove fix and refurbishment facility", Apple said in a statement to the local CBS affiliate when asked about the issue.

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Though Apple Watches and iPhones make it easier for individuals to get hold of 911 dispatchers quickly, the Watch's accidental calls issue has been a known problem for a while now. However, emergency responders can sometimes hear people in the background talking about Apple, Apple devices, or maintenance and repairs. With an Apple fix center generally tasked with fixing faulty phones, it's clear that there are at least a few offending devices that are flooding police dispatchers with these fake 911 calls. Apparently, fix technicians are accidentally setting off the Emergency SOS feature which was added back during the launch of iOS 11. Apple Watch SOS can be triggered by holding down the side button and will automatically call if held down long enough.

A single facility seems to be at fault for hundreds of false alarm 911 calls from Apple devices over the past few months. But police have clearly stated that "public safety is not in danger" due to the situation. Last year, the Tolland County Mutual Aid Fire Service in CT warned Apple that it was causing a rise in false alarms.

Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services. Emergency SOS will call contacts and local emergency services after the sleep/wake button is pressed five times in rapid succession. On the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, you can hold down the power and any volume button to bring up the slider.

Dispatchers are able to assess the non-initialized calls in 10 to 15 seconds, then clear the call, he said.

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