Police issue a 999 call feature warning to Android users.

Police departments all throughout the UK have issued warnings about a new Android function that is causing switchboards to receive unintentional “silent” 999 calls.

When a side button is hit several times, the Emergency SOS feature dials.

Police commanders have stated that they believe it to be a contributing factor in the record-breaking 999 calls.

The company that creates the most popular Android phone software, Google, says it anticipates vendors to provide updates to fix the vulnerability.

Smartphones with Android operating systems include the OnePlus, Google Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy models.

The new Android software update “added a new SOS emergency function for devices to call 999 through the power button being pressed five times or more,” according to the National Police Chiefs Council.

“Nationally, all emergency services are currently dealing with 999 call levels that are at an all-time high. There are a few causes for this, but we believe that an update to Android cellphones is the main one.

Silent calls, according to Devon and Cornwall Police, took 20 minutes to handle. They asked those who dialed 999 by accident to stay on the line and admit their error to the operator.

The police department said to the BBC that between 00:00 and 19:00 BST on Sunday alone, it received 169 quiet 999 calls.

According to Police Scotland, BT had noted “a significant rise in 999 accident calls.”

Although the capability was added to Android 12 in 2021, numerous complaints about specific problems have been made since Android 13’s upgrade last year.

Manufacturer websites typically include instructions on how to stop the feature, and most phones allow users to disable the emergency SOS call capability in their settings.

This is normally accessed by going to settings, safety and emergency choices, and switching the Emergency SOS toggle to the “off” position, or by looking up “emergency call” there.

The issue is widespread, not only in the UK. Beginning in June, the European Emergency Number Association issued a warning after receiving information about a “surge in automatic false calls originating from Android devices” from some of its members.

A Google representative told the BBC that it was up to manufacturers to control how Emergency SOS operated on their products if they choose to make it available.

“Android is offering these manufacturers additional guidance and resources to help them prevent unintentional emergency calls on their devices,” they stated.

“We believe that device manufacturers will soon release updates to their customers that fix this problem. Users who face this problem should turn off Emergency SOS for the next few days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *