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.
Everyone understands that technology isn’t perfect, but when it comes to contacting emergency services, you must always have your smartphone on hand. Unfortunately, an unexpected problem prevented a Pixel 3 user from contacting 911 two weeks ago, and we now know what happened thanks to a Google internal inquiry. On Friday, November 26, Reddit user u/KitchenPicture5849 shared an account of their experience trying to contact an ambulance. Their Pixel 3 froze one ring after placing the call, rendering the phone unable to speak with the person on the other end. While the gadget did alert this person that their location had been forwarded to emergency services, the caller was unable to provide the operator with their apartment number or the status of the person who required medical assistance since the Pixel was frozen on an app screen. The caller was able to redial from a landline, which was fortunate.
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’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:
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.