We are seeing that a number of manufacturers’ devices are unable to call the emergency 9-1-1 number in the United States. Please take note, as it can save your life!
The issue was first raised on Reddit when a OnePlus 5 customer saw a building fire in Seattle. He tried to call 9-1-1 to alert the emergency services but the OnePlus 5 rebooted. The customer tried twice more at the time and the handset rebooted on both occasions. Later on, the owner recorded the OnePlus 5 as it rebooted when tasked with calling the emergency number.
After the initial story broke, a number of other Reddit users discovered that their device was also unable to call the emergency services number – with the ASUS ZenFone 3 also being afflicted. The issue is believed to be caused by the third-party ‘phone dialer application not properly communicating with the native Android phone framework, but the issue may only cause a problem with some carriers and not all.
Calling the emergency number is not the same as a straightforward call as the smartphone provides additional information and will roam to any mobile network. Some customers have been receiving text messages from their carrier warning them that their device may not be able to call 9-1-1. Other smartphone customers have reported that their device worked when asked to call emergency services. Carriers and device manufacturers will be scrambling to find a fix for the issue, which will almost certainly be issued in the shape of a software update – so keep your eyes peeled for our Droid Updates Weekly series, where we post all the device updates that rolled out over every given week.
Please do not call 9-1-1 to test if your phone restarts. You may be fined for calling the emergency number, or worse, you may lengthen the time it takes for a genuine call to get through to the emergency services. If you are worried that your smartphone may not be able to make an emergency call, you can use Google to find the number of your local emergency calling switchboard, and call them on the non-emergency number to ask if you can test the device. Stay safe, people.