Toronto police ask iPhone users not to test iOS 11 security feature that dials 9-1-1

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2017
A new security feature in iOS 11 allows iPhone users to temporarily disable Touch ID logins and quickly call 9-1-1 -- but it has had unintended consequences in Toronto, where the police have asked residents to stop testing it out.




In a post to Twitter this week, spotted by AppleInsider reader and Toronto to resident Tharanga, the Toronto Police Service asked that residents please do not try out the new 9-1-1 feature found in iOS 11. Authorities said they are receiving many test calls that tie up the emergency services lines, leading to a potentially dangerous situation for callers with an actual emergency.

"It works well!" the Toronto police said, assuring users that the feature does, in fact, work.

After installing iOS 11, iPhone users who find themselves in a dangerous situation can press the lock button five times to bring up an emergency screen with three options: slide to power off, Medical ID, and Emergency SOS.

Sliding the Emergency SOS button will quickly call 9-1-1 for a user who is in a dangerous situation.

But there is an optional choice, disabled by default, available in the iOS 11 Settings application, where users can enable an "Auto Call" when the lock button is pressed five times in quick succession.

Needless to say, the feature should not be tested by anyone, and only utilized in the event of a legitimate emergency. Calling 9-1-1 without an actual emergency is considered a crime in some regions.

Pressing the lock button five times also disables Touch ID logins, requiring a user to enter their password in order to access the phone once again. And when the iPhone X arrives in early November, users will be able to disable Face ID by gripping buttons on both sides of the phone, including lock and volume.
GeorgeBMac

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Didn't this feature always exist?
  • Reply 2 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,147member
    Eh?
    GeorgeBMacanton zuykovspace2001
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Now I gotta test it out...
    edited September 2017 GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Prior to iOS11, you could tell Siri to dial 9-1-1 for you. On the Apple Watch, you long press the side button to bring up the option to dial 9-1-1. Looks now iPhone has a similar way to dial it. I enabled this and also discovered there's a setting for it to insert a brief delay before the call is made allowing you to stop it. It would be problematic though if you're in an emergency situation with that delay enabled. It makes a loud beeping sound, which would certainly tip off the killer.
    space2001
  • Reply 5 of 12
    thisisasj said:
    Prior to iOS11, you could tell Siri to dial 9-1-1 for you. On the Apple Watch, you long press the side button to bring up the option to dial 9-1-1. Looks now iPhone has a similar way to dial it. I enabled this and also discovered there's a setting for it to insert a brief delay before the call is made allowing you to stop it. It would be problematic though if you're in an emergency situation with that delay enabled. It makes a loud beeping sound, which would certainly tip off the killer.
    On iOS you long press on the screen lock button to bring up the slide to power off option. On the Apple Watch you long press the identical looking button on the side which brings up two options. One is power off and the other is emergency SOS. Written in tiny text on the tiny Apple Watch screen. Does anyone else see a rather serious human interface issue with this design?
  • Reply 6 of 12
    It’s a shame that the lower effort gesture used in the X isn’t the norm. Pressing the sleep switch five times is a bit more steps than I’d like in a potentially life threatening situation. The simultaneous press used in the X makes much more sense.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Now I gotta test it out...
    Wet Paint!   Don't Touch!
    techno
  • Reply 8 of 12
    MacPro said:
    Eh?
    You shouldn't really be using your iPhone's new 911 call feature. It overloads 911 lines, eh!
    -Toronto police.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Nice features. A person’s emergency info can be retrieved easily by a third party in case the owner is otherwise incapacitated, assuming they are aware of said feature. 
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Of course after reading this, the first thing I did was press it 5 times and freaked out when it started the alarm and calling SOS. I guess I had enabled the delay feature. 
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Yes, and do not buy pistol and try to test it with ammo at home either. Some people...
    airnerd
  • Reply 12 of 12
    tyler82 said:
    Didn't this feature always exist?
    I know it did on some Samsung products, because I got a series of texts one day while in a meeting from my mom with odd photos, a map with a pin, and a garble audio recording to go with a text asking for help.  I freaked out and called her, the phone was in her car console and must have bounced around and clicked the home button 3 times.  

    I'm not a fan of that system, this one at least requires a tiny bit more intentional intervention.
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