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PSA: Some Pixel owners still can't dial 911 during an emergency
- Users continue to report various issues with calling 911 emergency services on several Google Pixel smartphones.
- These incidents have continued to occur after a possibly related bug was highlighted and fixed in January 2022.
Back in late 2021, reports had emerged of a weird bug on Google Pixel devices that would render them unable to connect to 911 emergency services. The issue was traced to Microsoft Teams, and both Google and Microsoft issued fixes in early 2022. But it seems that 911 calling is still somewhat randomly broken on Google Pixel devices, and some users are finding this out the hard way.
Redditor /u/TonyStamp595SO found themselves in an unfortunate situation where they needed to connect to emergency services immediately. They tried dialing 911 from their Pixel 7, but the phone failed to connect. The phone would keep dropping the call within a second of pressing the call button, which occurred for three attempts. The Redditor tried dialing from their Pixel 6 Pro next, and it connected immediately, and the emergency was handled.
This incident by itself is harrowing. But as it turns out, Redditor /u/10-1-100 compiled over 20 such reports last year. The real kicker is that these reports exclude reports older than 2022, as that would include a publicly acknowledged bug that was subsequently “fixed.” The compilation was last updated in January 2023, so there may be other reports that have not yet been highlighted between then and now.
We do not know the real reason behind this 911 calling bug on Pixel devices, even though general call dropping is a commonly reported problem on the Pixel 7 series. There is no indication that this bug is still connected to Microsoft Teams.
There are plenty of variables across the reports, ranging from different carriers to Wi-Fi calling. What is common in these reports is that the device is a Google Pixel smartphone.
To clarify, this bug does not occur on all Pixel devices. Many users report expected behavior when contacting emergency services. However, for these unfortunate reports highlighted above, the phone did not reliably connect to emergency services when it was really needed.
We’ve contacted Google for a statement and to learn more about the issue. We’ll update this article when we hear back from them.
In the meantime, you can try to schedule a “test” call to confirm that emergency calling is working on your Pixel smartphone. Remember that you may or may not face issues even after a successful test.
How to schedule a “test” call to ensure that 911 emergency calling is working on your phone
According to 911.gov (the official website for the National 911 Program in the US), you can schedule a test call to check whether your Pixel smartphone can successfully place a 911 call. However, a test call is different from directly calling the emergency service!
Instead of directly calling 911, you need to schedule a test call with your local 911 call center by contacting its non-emergency phone number.
- The website advises visiting the National Association of State 911 Administrators site.
- Select the state where you live. This will show you the details of your 911 administrator.
- Contact the administrator to find out the non-emergency number of your local 911 call center to schedule a test call.
- Call the non-emergency number to schedule a day and time for a test call.
- Make the test call during this scheduled slot only.
If you know or can locate the non-emergency phone number of your local PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point), you can inquire with them to schedule a test call without needing to route through the 911 administrator.