We all love to joke about how we never use our smartphones as actual phones — I mean, really, who calls people in 2021? But if you’re in an emergency situation, your first instinct will still be to pick up that phone and dial emergency services. If your smartphone isn’t capable of doing that, that’s going to be a big problem. Unfortunately, some Android users who have installed Microsoft Teams might find their devices in that category — unable to make a call the one time doing so is most critical.
A bug is stopping some Android phones from being able to call emergency services
Take it from Reddit user KitchenPicture5849, who needed to place an emergency call for their grandmother. They used their Pixel 3 to call emergency services, but after one ring, their phone “got stuck immediately.” The user wasn’t able to do much other than click through their apps with the emergency phone call running in the background. While their Pixel informed them that their location was sent to emergency services, there was no way to confirm that fact by actually speaking to a dispatcher over the phone.
Luckily, KitchenPicture was able to use their grandmother’s landline to call for help, but that’s no solution; any cell phone should be able to reliably dial emergency services in any situation.
Google has since addressed the issue publicly by replying to the original Reddit thread, after the u/PixelCommunity confirmed the existence of the bug on Pixel devices running Android 10 and newer. The cause? The presence of the Microsoft Teams app without being signed in.
It’s a bizarre trigger for a bizarre bug and we’re still not sure why not being signed into Teams causes emergency calling specifically to freeze up. But whatever the cause, the bug is real, and it’s serious. To address it, Google says Microsoft will be rolling out a fix for the Teams app on Android soon; Google will roll out its own fix in a larger Android update on Jan. 4.
How to stop this bug from preventing an emergency call on Android
Until then, however, there are steps you should take now to avoid this bug from affecting you should disaster strike. First, if you have Microsoft Teams on your Android device, make sure you’re signed in. If you open the app and are greeted by a sign-in page, immediately delete the app and reinstall it. Google says that uninstalling and reinstalling the app should fix the bug for now, though an official bug fix is still be necessary. Until then, be prepared for emergencies, and stay safe out there.