Apple Watch And iPhone Devices Are Accidentally Sending Emergency SOS Alerts, Here's How To Avoid Embarrassment

Emergency SOS

Sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry. Apple is learning this after rolling out an Emergency SOS feature to Apple Watch and iPhone device owners through WatchOS 4 and iOS 11, respectively. While the feature is implemented with good intentions and could potentially even save a life, it is also resulting in emergency misdials, especially through Apple Watch devices.

On the Apple Watch, holding down the crown button for a few seconds triggers the Emergency SOS feature, which then calls the police and alerts any emergency contacts have been configured. This is precisely what happened to Jason D. Rowley, an online technology writer who posted a heads up on Twitter.
In a follow-up tweek, Rowley confirms that he accidentally triggered the Emergency SOS feature while sleeping. The local police department dispatched three officers to his home.

"The cops, understandably, didn't know my status, and since I'm a heavy sleeper I didn't hear their knocking. They had to enter to check on me. Good thing I forgot to lock the back door, otherwise I'd be dealing with a broken door," Rowley said.

Apple Watch Emergency SOS

When the feature is triggered on Apple Watch devices, wearers have a few seconds to turn it off before the police are notified. That did not help Rowley, however, as he was slept through the audible countdown. Apple gives users the option of disabling the feature, which can be found by opening the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tapping the My Watch tab, and then navigating to General > Emergency SOS.

This feature also exists on iPhone devices. On the iPhone 8 and later, it's triggered by holding down the side button and volume button at the same time. To change this feature, go to Settings > Emergency SOS and flip the Auto Call toggle to off. This will make it so that a slider appears after holding down the side button and volume button, which requires a swipe before an emergency call is placed.

On the iPhone 7 and older, the feature is triggered by rapidly pressing the side button (power button) five times. The setting is found in the same location (Settings > Emergency SOS).