It has been a rough couple of months for Apple. After it was revealed to the public that the company was slowing older iPhones, the tech giant was scrambling to recover from a huge amount of negative PR. Recent updates to their devices have been plagued with bugs as well, causing the company to refine their development process by giving developers more time to roll out updates in order to address issues more comprehensively. The latest drama hitting the news are reports of an Apple repair center accidentally making nearly 1600 911 calls since October of 2017.
The source of these calls appears to be the Apple repair center in Elk Grove, California.
In an interview with CBS News, police dispatcher Jamie Hudson reported that “We’ve been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple…We’re able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location.”
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As mentioned above, the calls have been happening on a daily basis since October of 2017, with an average of 20 calls each day. Usually there is no one on the end of the line, which ties up the resources as dispatchers deal with these fake 911 calls.
“The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call.”
All of the calls are coming from the Apple repair center off of Laguna Boulevard, and Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sheriff’s department reports that they can sometimes hear some chatter on the other end of the line – confirming that the calls are indeed coming from Apple phones.
“To them, it sounds like people talking about Apple, or devices or generally about maintenance and repairs.”
Apple has yet to determine which phones are making repeated 911 calls, but it’s generally pretty easy for an iPhone to contact authorities. Just by pressing a single button, an SOS alert toggles on and 911 calls are placed immediately. With an Apple repair center generally tasked with fixing faulty phones, it’s clear that there are at least a few offending devices that are flooding police dispatchers with these fake 911 calls.
“It could potentially have an impact on the services we provide,” said Sgt. Hampton.
Apple has made a statement to CBS News, stating that “We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue.”
Apple has had many problems in the past few months, and while they have definitely caused a lot of outrage in the community, none have been truly dangerous until now. Apple is clearly taking the problem seriously and working to address the issue, but with 20 911 calls going through a day from an Apple repair center and the calls happening since October, it’s questionable as to exactly how seriously the company is committed to addressing this issue.
All things considered, this is probably not currently a big concern for Apple with the number of other problems they have on their plate. If lives are lost due to 911 calls from an Apple repair center tying up resources, however, this annoyance could soon turn into legal trouble for the tech giant.
However, Jason Jimenez of the Elk Grove Police Department has stated that the problem is currently not quite that serious.
“911 is a lifeline for everyone in our community, so having these lines open and available is paramount and so getting this problem resolved…At this point, public safety is not in danger and we are working with Apple to resolve the issue.”
Hopefully Apple figures out what’s going on sooner rather than later, as tying up the lines with 911 calls is certainly an embarrassment for the company as well as a potential safety concern.