County Sheriff blames iPhone for more than 700 accidental 911 calls this year alone

Emergency SOS on iPhone
Emergency SOS on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A country sheriff says iPhones are responsible for more than 700 mistaken emergency calls this year alone.
  • They say people are accidentally activating iPhone's emergency features while riding ATVs or in boats.

Apple's iPhones are to blame for more than 700 911 calls made without their owners knowing, according to one north Wisconsin sheriff. And that number is for this calendar year alone.

The issue? The iPhones are having their Emergency SOS feature triggered by accident when people are riding ATVs or out in their boats, the county's dispatch supervisor believes.

As reported by local news, the Langlade County Sheriff's Office says that more than 159 identical 911 calls were received in June alone.

The Emergency SOS feature is triggered when a device's side button is pressed five times in succession, and it seems people bouncing around in vehicles is enough to do exactly that.

The Sheriff's Office says people riding in trucks, ATVs and boats have accidentally hit their button five times, triggering the calls.

Anyone who has this happen to them is advised to stay on the line so they can assure call handlers that they are fine and that the call was a mistake, the report goes on to say. However, action will be taken if the accidental calls appear to originate from one individual more than they should.

The Emergency SOS feature is one of the best iPhone safety features the device offers. It's just a shame it seems to be causing call handlers problems, especially when they've got better things to do than deal with accidental calls.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.