March 2, 2024
Accidentally triggering emergency SOS on your iPhone can be a daunting experience. The article discusses the legal implications of triggering accidental emergency calls and provides step-by-step guidance on how to disable the SOS feature, how to avoid making common mistakes, and how to de-escalate a false alarm.


Emergency situations can arise anytime, anywhere, and sometimes, we may accidentally trigger the SOS feature on our iPhone. Introduced with iOS 11, the emergency SOS feature is designed to help you get help quickly in case of an emergency. You just need to press the side button of your iPhone five times in quick succession to call the emergency services and notify your emergency contacts. However, accidental calls can result in legal repercussions, causing unnecessary strain on emergency services. In this article, we will discuss what happens if you accidentally call emergency SOS on your iPhone and what steps you should take, in a calm and informative way.

Providing Step-by-Step Guidance

If you accidentally call emergency SOS on your iPhone, the most crucial thing to do is to remain calm. Panicking or cancelling the call during an emergency is dangerous. Instead, follow these simple steps:

  1. Wait for the call to connect.
  2. When the operator answers, explain that it was an accidental call and that you do not require emergency assistance.
  3. End the call using the red phone icon.

You will receive a notification with an option to call back within a few minutes. You can use this option to call back emergency services if you still need their help or if your situation changes.

To avoid accidentally triggering SOS in the future, you can disable the feature by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “Emergency SOS”.
  3. Toggle “Auto Call” off.

Once you turn off the Auto Call feature, you will need to press and hold down the side button on your iPhone and either Volume button for a few seconds to trigger an SOS call. Manually triggering the SOS call can help prevent false alarms from accidental button presses.

Legal Implication

Accidental calls to emergency services can have legal ramifications. False emergency calls are a criminal offense in many countries and can lead to hefty fines or even imprisonment. It is essential to remember that emergency services are for real emergencies and not for accidental button presses or pranks.

Here are a few examples of real-life instances where people have faced legal action due to false emergency calls:

  1. In March 2019, a woman in California was arrested after calling 911 to report a medical emergency and later admitted that she accidentally pressed the SOS button on her iPhone.
  2. In October 2020, a man from Florida was charged with misusing the emergency phone system after accidentally calling 911 using the SOS feature on his iPhone during an argument with his girlfriend.
  3. In November 2020, a man from Colorado was fined $250 for calling 911 using the SOS feature on his iPhone while recording an Instagram Live video.

iOS Emergency Feature

Aside from the SOS feature, iPhones also have other emergency features, such as Medical ID and Emergency contacts.

Medical ID allows you to store critical health information that can be accessed when you press the Medical ID button on the emergency call screen. You can set up Medical ID in the Health app on your iPhone.

Emergency contacts can be added under the Health app’s Medical ID section. You can add up to three contacts who will be contacted in case of an emergency and will receive a message with your location.

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these emergency features to ensure that you can access them quickly in case of an emergency.

De-escalating a False Alarm

Emergency services personnel understand that accidents can happen, and they will generally respond to any emergency call to ensure that the situation is under control. However, if you accidentally trigger an emergency call, it is essential to de-escalate the situation to avoid any misunderstandings.

The most important thing to remember is to stay on the line and explain that it was an accidental call. If emergency services personnel arrive, be polite and explain the situation to them. Show them that you are in control of the situation and that there is no emergency.

If you are in a public place, try to inform any bystanders or witnesses that it was an accident and that you do not require assistance. This can help prevent unnecessary attention and misunderstandings.

User Reviews

Accidentally triggering the SOS feature on your iPhone can be a stressful experience. Here are some real-life stories from users who have experienced this:

“I accidentally activated SOS on my iPhone while trying to adjust the volume. I panicked and ended the call immediately. But I received a call back within 2 minutes, and I explained the situation to the operator. It was over in less than 5 minutes, and I learned to be more careful while using my iPhone.” – Katherine, Manchester

“I triggered an SOS call on my iPhone while trying to show my friend how the feature worked. An ambulance arrived at my doorstep within minutes. I explained to the paramedics that it was an accident, and they were polite and understanding. It wasn’t a great experience, but I learned my lesson.” – Jack, New York

Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes that can result in accidental SOS calls:

  • Pressing the side button too many times in quick succession. It’s important to be aware of the button’s sensitivity and be careful while pressing it.
  • Not customizing the side button’s settings. Customizing the side button’s settings can help prevent accidental calls by adjusting the button’s functionality.
  • Not understanding the emergency features. It’s important to have a good understanding of your iPhone’s emergency features to avoid accidental triggering.

Emergency Services’ Perspective

Emergency services personnel understand that accidents happen, but false alarms can put a strain on their services and their ability to respond to real emergencies. False alarms can result in wasted resources, delay response times, and put first responders in unnecessary danger.

It’s crucial to use emergency services only in case of a real emergency. Avoid using emergency services for jokes or pranks, as this can result in legal repercussions and prevent actual emergencies from being responded to in a timely manner.


Accidentally triggering the SOS feature on your iPhone is common, but it’s essential to remain calm and follow the right steps. Turning off the Auto Call feature, understanding the other emergency features, and being aware of common mistakes can help you avoid making false alarms. It’s important to use emergency services responsibly and only in cases of real emergencies.

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