We lauded this SOS feature when it debuted, but it's apparently wreaking some havoc at a California refurbishment center. The latest drama hitting the news are reports of an Apple fix center accidentally making almost 1600 911 calls since October of 2017. Apple is clearly taking the problem seriously and working to address the issue, but with 20 911 calls going through a day from an Apple fix center and the calls happening since October, it's questionable as to exactly how seriously the company is committed to addressing this issue.
Apple said in a statement: "We're aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove fix and refurbishment facility".
Dispatchers also said that when they answer, they hear "people talking about Apple".
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On older iPhones, rapidly pressing the power button five times brings up a slider that lets you call 911. There's a similar feature in the latest version the Apple Watch software, too. "If you hold down the buttons until the countdown ends, your iPhone automatically calls emergency services".
While police can very quickly identify these calls as "butt dials", they are still problematic.
"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.
The Sheriff's department of Sacramento County says it has also received these calls, noting staff can sometimes hear fix technicians in the background. However, it did issue a statement that it's aware of the issue and working on a fix.
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"We're aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove fix and refurbishment facility".
Elk Grove Police Department spokesperson Jason Jimenez said the calls were traced to a cell tower close to the Apple campus, and the calls don't show any service provider information as normal cellphone calls do.
The key here is step two in this SOS process: "Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services". Switch the toggle for "Auto Call" to off. You would think that a tech would turn the phone off before starting to work on it, but maybe not.
When Auto Call is on and you try to make an emergency call, your iPhone begins a countdown and sounds an alert.
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