How to Disable Emergency SOS on iPhone to Stop Dialing 911 Accidentally
The iPhone XS, XR, XS Max, and iPhone X offers an Emergency SOS feature which will automatically dial 911 when the devices side buttons are held down for several seconds. The Emergency SOS countdown then starts blaring an alarm and counts down from 3, 2, 1, before dialing emergency services on your behalf, thanks to a feature called Auto Call. While this could theoretically be useful in some extreme scenarios, it can also be triggered surprisingly easy by simply trying to force reboot the iPhone X, taking a screenshot on iPhone X, by trying to temporarily disable Face ID, or even just by accident of holding down a few buttons.
With a little settings adjustment, you can disable Auto Call with Emergency SOS. With the feature disabled, you can still use Emergency SOS, but you will have to swipe the onscreen Emergency SOS control to dial emergency services, rather than simply hold down the iPhone X, XS, XR hardware buttons.
How to Disable Emergency SOS Auto Call on iPhone XS, XR, X
This disables auto calling of emergency services by holding down buttons on the iPhone X, yet still allows the feature to be used directly if need be.
- Open the “Settings” app on iPhone X and then go to “Emergency SOS”
- Disable “Auto Call” by flicking the switch to the off position
Now you can still summon the Emergency SOS screen (which is also the same screen which lets you shut down and turn off iPhone X, XS, XR and access Medical ID), without accidentally calling 911 due to the Auto Call feature by holding the buttons a little too long.
Again, you can still call emergency services through Emergency SOS if you disable Auto Dial, but you must swipe to the right on the Emergency SOS button when it appears on screen after holding down the side buttons on the iPhone X.
Don’t forget you can have Siri dial Emergency Services and 911 for you too, so if you have Hey Siri enabled for voice activation, you can do it entirely hands free, and perhaps more intentionally.
And in case you were wondering, yes people are accidentally dialing 911 due to this feature, and I myself have unintentionally activated it several times, thankfully canceling it within the few second countdown in time to avoid a mistaken call which ties up local emergency responders. The same feature also exists on the Apple Watch, where likewise people are accidentally dialing emergency services with that device too.
If you’re at all worried about this, or if you have discovered the siren alert blaring out of your pocket unexpectedly because it’s dialing 911, just disable Auto Call and you’ll prevent most erroneous dialing.