Dangerous emergency setting on Android phones

A potentially dangerous setting on Android phones means that emergency phone lines are being pocket dialled, a Metropolitan Police officer has warned.

Android devices have a setting called ‘Emergency SOS’ that is intended to make it easier for people to call for help. If a person presses the power button fives times or more, it starts a series of emergency actions like calling for help.

Users can choose what that setting does Android phones. But by default the phone calls the police number, so that they will be alerted to any issue.

The ease with which the setting can be activated means that 999 lines in the UK are getting called by accident, according Met Police chief superintendent Dan Ivey. The button is being pressed while people’s phones are in their pockets, further filling up already stretched emergency call handlers.

He asked that people disable the feature to help reduce demand. He described the setting as a “problem”, though some users may opt to keep it active if they feel that it is likely to be used in an emergency.

Emergency alerts

Emergency alerts are used to send important information to people in a specific area. They can be used to warn people of dangerous weather, to tell them about a missing child, or to inform them of a terrorist attack. If you want to turn off it on your device, just keep reading.

To turn off emergency alerts on Android, follow these steps:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on Notifications.
  • Tap on Advanced.
  • Tap on Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Tap on Emergency Alerts.
  • Toggle the switch to Off.


This will disable all emergency alerts, including Amber Alerts, Presidential Alerts, and Extreme Threats.

If you only want to disable certain types of emergency alerts, you can do so by following these steps:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on Notifications.
  • Tap on Advanced.
  • Tap on Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Tap on the type of alert you want to disable.
  • Toggle the switch to Off.


For example, if you only want to disable Amber Alerts, you would tap on AMBER Alerts and then toggle the switch to Off.

You can also customize your emergency alert settings. For example, you can choose to receive alerts only when you are in a certain area, or you can choose to receive alerts only when the alert is for a certain type of emergency.

To customize your emergency alert settings, follow these steps:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on Notifications.
  • Tap on Advanced.
  • Tap on Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Tap on the type of alert you want to customize.
  • Under Settings, you can choose to receive alerts only when you are in a certain area, or you can choose to receive alerts only when the alert is for a certain type of emergency.


You can also choose to turn off the sound for emergency alerts. To do this, uncheck the box next to Play sound.

Emergency alerts are an important tool for keeping you informed about potential dangers. By turning off emergency alerts on your Android phone, you may be putting yourself and others at risk.

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