Is Your Apple Watch Accidentally Calling 911?
More and more health-conscious individuals are opting for a "doctor on their wrist" or a smartwatch. Police say that has led to an increase in accidental 911 calls, and it’s become a distraction for law enforcement.
Police said many of the calls appear to be coming from Apple Watch users, who may accidentally graze the watch’s touchscreen or large buttons on the side. Most of the time users are unaware they’ve called the police until the call has been answered.
“What happens is while people are moving around in their sleep or exercising, they’ll get the Apple Watch into the emergency mode. Without knowing it, the watch will actually call 911,” Overland Park Police Capt. Jim Sutterby said.
Sutterby said ofter times dispatchers who respond to the "accidental" calls, hear that their Apple Watch triggered the call. It is protocol for dispatchers to return calls that result in the caller hanging up or remaining silent.
The unwanted calls distract emergency dispatchers and take away resources meant for actual emergencies according to a story on NEWS 4 Buffalo.
Tech experts say this is common. Jae Reynolds, manager of Mobile Revive said he advises customers to buy a protective case for their Apple Watches. That provides a protective covering for knobs and buttons.
Reynolds said there’s also the option of turning off the iPhone’s SOS function. That can be done within the connected iPhone’s settings.
Apple while not familiar with the problem says the Emergency SOS function has been useful in life-threatening situations.
To place a call using the Apple Watch, a user must press and hold the watch’s side button — located below the Digital Crown button — until the Emergency SOS slider appears. After the user drags the slider, a countdown begins. Once it ends, the call to 911 is placed automatically.
Apple gives instructions on its website on how to end an emergency call that was accidentally started. “If you start an emergency call by accident, tap the End Call button, then tap Yes to confirm that you want to stop the call,” it says.
Police agencies recommend callers who accidentally call 911 not to hang up, but instead to tell the dispatcher the call was mistakenly placed.