Google Warns Of Bug That Can Block Android Emergency Calls

The Tap Economy

Google says it and Microsoft are working to fix rare issue with Android and Microsoft Teams after US user reports phone unable to call 911

Google has said it is responding to an unusual bug in the Android mobile operating system that can prevent users from being able to call emergency services.

The bug affects a “small number of devices” with Microsoft’s Teams application installed, when the user is not logged in, Google said.

It said both it and Microsoft were “heavily prioritising” the issue.

Google responded after a US user reported being unable to call emergency services for their grandmother, who appeared to be having a stroke.

Google android smartphonesEmergency call blocked

All other calls worked normally, but calling 911 did not work on the device, the user said on Reddit.

The user later attempted to replicate the bug and found that no 911 calls made from the device were able to connect.

The user said they were concerned that they had been forced to call 911 from their grandmother’s landline.

“Let’s be real, as someone without a landline, I sure as hell don’t want a phone that freaks out when I try to call 911 in the middle of a life-threatening emergency,” the user wrote.

“I’m supposed to trust that a phone will do the main thing is built for, and place the call, and let me speak to the human on the other end.”

Google said it was able to “reproduce the issue under a limited set of circumstances” and believes the bug is present on a “small number of devices” with the Microsoft Teams app installed, when the user is not logged in.


The company said it was only aware of one user report of the bug, which it found was caused by an unintended interaction between Teams and Android.

“Because this issue impacts emergency calling, both Google and Microsoft are heavily prioritising the issue,” Google said in a statement also published on Reddit.

It said a Teams update was forthcoming, with an Android platform update scheduled for 4 January.

The company said some users running Android 10 or above are affected.

Users can bypass the flaw by remaining signed into Teams. If they are not signed in, they can uninstall and reinstall the app as a temporary solution, although a Teams update will still be required.

Essential service

Other Reddit users expressed dismay that a third-party app had disrupted such an essential service.

“How is a third-party unprivileged app able to cause problems in such a system-level operation as an emergency call?” one user wrote. “Good on Google for the detailed response, but this bug is concerning.”

Another user based in California said they had notified the state attorney general’s office asking them to look into the “unacceptable” incident.