Calling 911 on a smartphone

A weird Android bug prevents people from calling 911 if they have Microsoft Teams installed on their phone. This is a very concerning bug, as getting ahold of emergency services could be the difference between life and death.

Update, 12/13/21 9:23 am Eastern: Microsoft updated the Android app to make sure you can call 911 from your Android phone with Teams installed. Update the app as soon as possible.

The bug was reported on Reddit a few days ago. The user said when they attempted to call 911 on their Pixel 3 with Android 11. In doing so, their phone got stuck when they called 911, leaving them unable to speak with emergency services to tell them the apartment number where they were or what their family member’s condition was.

After a few days, Google actually commented on the post confirming the bug but noted that it requires a particular set of circumstances for it to happen. First, Microsoft Teams needs to be installed on the Android device. Second, the user needs to be logged out of their Teams account.

“Based on our investigation we have been able to reproduce the issue under a limited set of circumstances. We believe the issue is only present on a small number of devices with the Microsoft Teams app installed when the user is not logged in, and we are currently only aware of one user report related to the occurrence of this bug,” said a Google representative in a Reddit comment.

Google also addressed how it and Microsoft are dealing with the issue. The Google representative said, “We determined that the issue was being caused by unintended interaction between the Microsoft Teams app and the underlying Android operating system. 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.”

The company continued, “We will also be providing an Android platform update to the Android ecosystem on January 4,” in regards to when it would have a fix on the OS level.

Google offered steps for anyone running Microsoft Teams on Android 10 or newer (the bug doesn’t happen in older Android versions). “If you have the Microsoft Teams app downloaded, check to see if you are signed in. If you have been signed in, you are not impacted by this issue, and we suggest you remain signed in until you’ve received the Microsoft Teams app update,” said Google. “If you have the Microsoft Teams app downloaded, but are not signed in, uninstall and reinstall the app. While this will address the problem in the interim, a Microsoft Teams app update is still required to fully resolve the issue.”

Definitely check for the Microsoft Teams update, as that’ll provide you with a long-term solution. In the meantime, follow the steps outlined by Google to make sure you’re able to dial 911 when you need to.

RELATED: How to Properly Test 911 Services on Your Cell Phone

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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