Have you accidentally started to call 911 with your iPhone? I have. Whether you’re just wondering how the feature works or want to make you don’t make an emergency call by mistake (again), follow along.
The iPhone X and later have a lot of great features, and along with them are new ways to navigate with gestures and other changes with the Home button-less device.
One particular change that many need to adjust to are the new ways you can use the Side button (previously sleep/wake button). Because of the various functions of pressing the side button and the volume buttons and the larger size of the side button, it can be easy to accidentally call 911.
How to not accidentally call 911
The default setting for iPhone 8/8 Plus and later has the ‘Auto Call’ for Emergency SOS turned on. This means that if you hold down the side button and either of the volume buttons and continue holding, the 911 call will be placed automatically.
The way I’ve accidentally done this has been when I’m trying to lower the volume on my iPhone, but I am also unintentionally also pressing the side button as well. So, the first option is to just get used to the larger side button make sure to avoid hitting it when changing the volume.
Fortunately, the default Countdown Sound that is turned on is so loud that you’ll get a couple of seconds to let go of the buttons (or tap cancel) before placing the call.
The other option to avoid accidentally calling 911 is to turn off the Auto Call feature. To do this head to Settings → Emergency SOS → Auto Call.
Turning this feature off still lets you make an SOS call, but after you invoke the Emergency SOS screen (by pressing and holding the side button and a volume button), you’ll have to manually slide to SOS slider to place the call. The Auto Call feature is also independent of the option to rapidly clicking the side button 5 times for a 911 call, which can be turned off in the same settings as well.
You’ll also notice that once you enter the Emergency SOS screen, you’ll have to use your passcode to unlock your iPhone, another security feature that came along with iOS 11.
Apple notes in a support document for the iPhone 7 and earlier, the Auto Call option isn’t available, so pressing the side button 5 times and then sliding is the way to make an SOS call.
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