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How to stop calling 911 by accident on your iPhone

The last thing you want to do is accidentally call emergency services. Here's how to prevent it from happening on your iPhone.

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Here's how to stop accidentally calling 911 on your iPhone.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

In an emergency, you can quickly press the side button on your iPhone to get you in contact with 911. The iOS feature is called Emergency SOS, and it's incredibly useful to have in case of a severe car accident or even a home invasion -- in which you may need to be discreet -- but unfortunately the feature is also easy to use by accident. 

If you've got kids or have a tendency to fidget with your iPhone, it's quite common to call emergency services by mistake. All it takes is a few clicks or a long press, and suddenly you're not only calling 911, you're also sending out text messages to your loved ones, telling them that you might possibly be in danger. And that's a problem if you're not actually in trouble.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to prevent the Emergency SOS feature from accidentally activating, while still keeping the feature available in case of an actual emergency. In this guide, we'll show you how to toggle off a few settings so that you no longer misdial 911 on your iPhone.

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How Emergency SOS is accidentally activated on iOS

You can enable Emergency SOS to call emergency services in three ways:

  • Press and hold the side and volume buttons
  • Rapidly press the side button five times
  • Slide the Emergency SOS slider

It's the first two options that are easy to trigger and accidentally call emergency services, so we're going to disable those two options and only leave the third one.

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Disable these two settings to help prevent your iPhone from accidentally calling 911.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

How to prevent your iPhone from accidentally calling 911

To disable the two quick-access options, launch the Settings application and go into Emergency SOS. Next, toggle off the following two options:

  • Call with Hold: Press and hold down the side and volume button for several seconds.
  • Call with 5 Presses: Quickly press down fives times on the side button.

If you're running an older version of iOS, you may have different setting options, but they're the same as the ones above, just named differently. If you see Call with Side Button, that's the same as Call with 5 Presses, and Auto Call is the same as Call with Hold.

And although these settings will then be disabled once you toggle them off, don't worry -- you can still trigger Emergency SOS by holding down the volume and the side button for a couple seconds and then sliding the Emergency SOS slider to the right. It takes a few seconds longer, but it still provides an easy way to contact emergency services in a pinch.

Annoyed with other iPhone settings? If so, check out iOS 15 settings on your iPhone 13 that you'll want to change and how to move back the browser bar back to the top of Safari.