(Updated Jan. 11, 2022 – Android has released its January security patch and it fixes the bug addressed in this article that was published last month. Update your OS immediately to take advantage of the patch.)
Having a mobile phone always with you is great when you need constant contact with friends and family. Even if they are halfway across the country, it is incredibly easy to message or make a call. Tap or click here for an Android update that makes it easier to chat with iPhone users.
But what happens in an emergency? Android and iOS devices have Emergency SOS functions. It is activated by pressing the side button rapidly five times.
Unfortunately, some devices have recently been blocked from using the Emergency SOS function and even making calls to 911. A popular app is to blame. Keep reading for a simple fix.
Here’s the backstory
A bug in Microsoft Teams has seemingly prevented some Android users from calling 911 in an emergency. While users had to meet certain criteria for the bug to present itself, it is still a worrying flaw.
Last week, a Reddit user took to the online platform to detail the problem. The user had a Google Pixel 3 mobile phone, and when 911 was dialed, nothing happened. The phone stopped responding after one ring, and the emergency phone call kept running in the background.
Google launched an investigation and found that a “limited set of circumstances” caused the problem. It turned out that the bug would trigger on Android 10 or later devices that had Microsoft Teams installed but the user wasn’t signed in.
What you can do about it
The flaw could have left many users in a rather sticky situation. Thankfully, the bug has been corrected through an update. Google initially advised Microsoft Teams users to uninstall the app.
If you did that, you can now safely re-install the app. The application has been updated, and updating to or installing the latest version will fix the problem. If you didn’t uninstall it or weren’t aware of the flaw, you need to update Microsoft Teams immediately.
Here’s how to update an Android app:
- Open the Google Play app.
- On the top right, tap your profile icon.
- Tap Manage apps & devices.
- This will bring up a list of apps installed on your phone.
- Any app that has an update pending will have a “Update available” label.
- Tap Update for the Microsoft Teams app if available.
🚨 What it means for you
We warn all the time about malware-infected apps that can put your device at risk. It’s rarer to come across major issues stemming from apps made by reputable companies like Microsoft. Small bugs here and there, sure — but this is a big one.
✅ This is a great reminder to update not just this app, but all your apps. Those updates keep you safe from security vulnerabilities and bugs like this one.
✅ While you’re at it, scan through the list of apps on your phone. See something you don’t recognize? That’s a problem and could indicate your phone has been hacked. Tap or click here for other warning signs.
✅ Before you hit “delete” or “uninstall” on any apps you don’t use anymore, take a minute to remove the associated account first. Otherwise, it’s still out there waiting for a hacker to break into. Tap or click here for our tips on the right way to remove apps.