iPhones are adept at offering fast access to the emergency services, enabling 911/999 to be dialled even if the phone in question is locked.
That’s very much by design.
What isn’t by design is the overwhelming number of 911 calls accidentally made from iPhones at an Apple service centre in Sacramento, California.
Police dispatchers at Elk Grove Police Department say they’re receiving around 20 accidental 911 calls a day, which have been traced back to the Apple centre.
The calls have totalled over 1,600, most of which simply feature silence interspersed with employee chit-chat, since October last year.
What’s causing the massive volume of accidental calls to be made is unclear. Naturally, the police are concerned they are getting in the way of real emergency calls.
‘Greatly impacting us’
Dispatcher Jamie Hudson told CBS: “We’re able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location.
“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.”
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Apple says it is taking the matter seriously.
A spokesperson said: “We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue.”
The police say the issue isn’t compromising public safety “at this point”, but said resolving the problem is of paramount importance.
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