People are calling 911 with their Apple Watches while they sleep

Resetting Apple Watch
Resetting Apple Watch (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • People are accidentally calling 911 with their Apple Watch while they sleep..
  • The feature is supposed to make it easy to get help when needed.

People in Kansas are managing to call 911 while wearing an Apple Watch in their sleep so often that it's causing a strain on local resources, according to a new report.

A local Fox News report, spotted by Apple Insider, notes that the people making the calls don't even know that they're doing it – because they're asleep.

A spokesperson for Overland Park police said the calls seem to be coming from Apple Watch users, who frequently graze against the watch's touchscreen or large buttons on the side. Most of the time, those users are unaware they've called police until the call has been answered.

What seems to be happening is an accidental firing of the Apple Watch's Emergency SOS feature. That's initiated by a long-press of the Side button, although the feature can be disabled. It appears people are inadvertently triggering the feature while sleeping.

With a local 911 call center receiving 250 calls each hour, the addition of accidental calls is something teh facility could very much do without.

The unwanted calls distract emergency dispatchers and take away resources meant for actual emergencies. Sutterby said Overland Park's 911 center gets around 250 calls per hour.

One way to avoid all this is to buy a protective case for your Apple Watch, making the Side button more difficult to press and hold. These are just some of the best Apple Watch cases we've come across, and there are tons more to choose from if you want to go this route.

The Emergency SOS feature is designed to give Apple Watch wearers a quick and easy way to seek help when it's needed most and is just part of Apple's continued focus on health and safety through its products.

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.