April 24, 2024

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Unlimited Technology

Microsoft Teams is the reason some Android users can’t dial 911

And a fix is in the works


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Everyone knows technology isn’t infallible, but when it comes to contacting emergency services, your smartphone must always be at the ready. Unfortunately, an odd error prevented a Pixel 3 user from calling 911 two weeks ago, and after an internal investigation at Google, we now know what happened.

Nine days ago, Reddit user u/KitchenPicture5849 posted an account of their experience trying to call for an ambulance on Friday, November 26. One ring after placing the call, their Pixel 3 froze, rendering the phone unable to communicate with the person who had answered on the other end. While the device did notify this person it had sent their location to emergency services, the caller could not tell the operator their apartment number or the condition of the person who needed medical attention, with the Pixel stuck on an app screen. Thankfully, the caller was able to re-dial from a landline, but as far as worst-case scenarios are concerned, this is about as bad as it gets for anyone who relies on a smartphone.

ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

After posting their account to Reddit, this user successfully recreated the bug, with their phone and Verizon logs showing no record of a call placed to 911. Google reached out to the user to gather more information and to ensure this issue wasn’t widespread. Now, a little over a week after the initial post, we’re finally learning what happened — and how users can prevent it.

Google’s Pixel Community account shared the company’s findings in a comment on the post this evening after its team reproduced the issue. The bug was spotted on devices where a user installed Microsoft Teams but hadn’t logged in with an account. An “unintended interaction” between the app and Android prevented emergency calls from being placed properly. Unsurprisingly, both Google and Microsoft are prioritizing a fix:

Because this issue impacts emergency calling, both Google and Microsoft are heavily prioritizing the issue, and we expect a Microsoft Teams app update to be rolled out soon – as always we suggest users keep an eye out for app updates to ensure they are running the latest version. We will also be providing an Android platform update to the Android ecosystem on January 4.

Google also warns users running Teams on any Android 10+ device to make sure they’re signed into an account. If you aren’t signed in, uninstall and reinstall the app to prevent your 911 calls from being blocked. You’ll still need to update Teams once Microsoft releases its patch, but it’ll solve the issue for now. If you are currently logged in, make sure you don’t log out before this bug fix is released.

If you’re concerned, make sure you bookmark Google’s comment on that Reddit post; the company plans to update it once the new version of Teams is available to everyone.


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