The company is working with local authorities to remedy a surge of unintentional emergency calls to 911 that were apparently originating from the company's distribution and fix center in Elk Grove, California.
Jason Jimenez, public information officer at the Elk Grove Police Department, confirmed a report from CBS13 in Sacramento that emergency dispatchers have been fielding about 20 of the calls a day since October.
"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", said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson. The calls are draining local resources and may actually be impacting response times for actual emergency situations, authorities said.
Apple said it's looking into the matter. "When the dispatcher receives these calls, they only hear an open line, and they must call back the number to leave a voice mail".
All of the calls are coming from the Apple fix center off of Laguna Boulevard, and Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sheriff's department reports that they can sometimes hear some chatter on the other end of the line - confirming that the calls are indeed coming from Apple phones.
The company has not issued an official explanation on the cause of the errant emergency calls, but the culprit is likely the Emergency SOS feature that Apple rolled out with the iOS 11 upgrade. Officers eventually worked out the calls originated from the Apple campus on Laguna Blvd, and further traced the source to its fix workshop. In early 2017, Tolland County, Connecticut emergency responders reported a series of accidental calls coming from Apple Watches in the Tolland and Hartford areas. Emergency SOS will call contacts and local emergency services after the sleep/wake button is pressed five times in rapid succession. The Watch triggers a call to 911 just by pressing and holding the side button. Last year, authorities in CT reported a similar series of accidental calls, according to local media. If you continue to hold down the side button and Volume button, instead of dragging the slider, a countdown begins and an alert sounds. Switch the toggle for "Auto Call" to off. Naturally, the police are concerned the calls are getting in the way of real emergency calls.