Since October, devices from one California Apple repair facility have placed 1,600 erroneous calls to 911, taking precious time away from real emergencies.
Emergency dispatchers in Elk Grove, Calif. have been dealing with a troubling problem over the past several months: a flood of erroneous emergency calls traced back to a nearby Apple repair facility.
CBS Sacramento reported Thursday that Elk Grove Police have received around 20 erroneous calls from Apple devices at the facility every day, on average, since October. That adds up to around 1,600 false alarms, which are taking precious time away from real emergencies.
“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,” Police Dispatcher Jamie Hudson told the news outlet. “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.”
In a statement to PCMag, an Apple spokesperson said the company is looking into the issue.
“We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility,” Apple’s statement reads. “We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue.”
After answering, dispatchers can sometimes hear Apple employees working in the background, unaware they are on the line with 911.
“It sounds like people talking about Apple, or devices, or generally about maintenance and repairs,” Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department told the news outlet.
At this point, it’s unclear which Apple devices are placing so many calls to emergency services, or why this is happening. As the report suggested, the problem could have something to do with the Cupertino tech giant’s Emergency SOS feature, which can be activated on the iPhone X and 8 by pressing and holding the side button and one of the volume buttons. On iPhone 7 and earlier models, you can call emergency services by simply pressing the side button five times. On Apple Watch Series 3, this feature can be triggered by simply pressing and holding the side button.