‘Very scary’ cell phone issue dialing 911 – Action News Jax

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Some cell phone users say they had an issue dialing 911 from their Google Pixel 6 models.

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DIALING 911 Karen Macleod said she tried to call 911 when her 5-year-old son, Andrew, was having a seizure. “He was with a babysitter [while] I was at work,” she said. Macleod said she called Glynn County’s 911 center, but something went wrong with her line because she heard one click and then silence every time she dialed. “I was panic dialing over and over again,” said Macleod.

Fortunately, she was close by and was able to drive Andrew to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with viral meningitis.

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“This is a huge issue. Very scary. [It] could have cost him his life,” said Macleod. “[It could] cost other people their lives – not being able to dial 911 on your phone is a huge deal.”

COMPLAINTS ABOUT GOOGLE PIXEL

Macleod is one of five million Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6a owners who purchased their phones last year according to the International Data Corporation. Action News Jax investigates found numerous complaints online from other Google Pixel 6 owners who say their phones have trouble calling 911 or emergency services. One person on Google’s support forum said, “I tried calling 911 twice from the car today, and it wouldn’t actually ring through to 911.” On Reddit, a person wrote, “I couldn’t get my phone to connect to 911” during an emergency at their home. Macleod posted a video about her experience on TikTok showing the phone appearing not to connect to the 911 call center, “So this is what happens on my brand new $1,000 Google phone when I try to call 911.”

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“It’s not connecting. There’s not a ring tone, a dial tone. There’s nothing,” said Macleod in another TikTok video.

THE TEST: When she dialed 911 for that video, it was only a test. It’s legal because she dialed the non-emergency number first to warn dispatchers. “You shouldn’t have to test it,” said Craig Agranoff, a technology expert in South Florida. He said having access to 911 is not only essential, but it is the law mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. “911 is not a favor to us. It’s required from the carriers,” he said.

Google’s own support page shows it created a “fix for the issue preventing emergency calls in certain conditions while some third-party apps are installed.” Agranoff said Google provided that fix last January. But based on Macleod’s experience in September, it is not clear if that update fixed the issue. “It’s not enough to just fix it every time people find it,” said Agranoff.

RESPONSES:

I contacted Glynn County emergency services about Macleod’s 911 issue. The county said it “did not find any record of these calls registering in our system during the time in question” despite Macleod’s phone log showing she called 911.

Also, I contacted Google about Macleod’s 911 issue. It responded, “we don’t have any comment to provide.”

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The FCC told us it located 91 responsive records regarding issues that Google Pixel 6 has related to its services, but zero records located specifically regarding 911 or emergency contact numbers.

Google released its new Pixel 7 in October. To date, there is no word of any issues with dialing 911.

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Macleod said Google gave her a refund, and now she uses a different brand.