Some Pixel users can’t dial 911 — what you need to know

Google Pixel 3
The Google Pixel 3, the device where this issue was first observed. (Image credit: Future)

Some Google Pixel phones have been afflicted with a serious bug that locks up the phone when you try to call the emergency services. It's bad, but a fix is coming.

Reddit user KitchenPictures5849 drew attention to this issue, posting on the r/GooglePixel subreddit. In their story, they detail how after ringing 911 concerning their grandmother, their Pixel 3 (running Android 11) froze up. The phone allowed app switching but nothing else, which meant they couldn't speak to the operator on the other end of the line. Luckily, the user was able to call and get help from a different phone, but this is obviously a huge problem.

This issue has since been replicated by Google, and the company has now come out and said that the cause is Microsoft Teams. Because the user had installed the app but not logged in, an unusual interaction between it and Android itself had caused the 911 problem. (Since this story first ran, even more problems have been found with Teams on Android.)

In terms of a resolution, the GoogleCommunity Reddit account wrote in a reply to the original thread that "Google and Microsoft are heavily prioritizing the issue, and we expect a Microsoft Teams app update to be rolled out soon." It added that an Android update is planned for January 4 as an additional measure.

What to do next

Google said it was only aware of one report of this issue, but nonetheless gave advice on how to avoid it. You should follow the tips below if you use any Android phone with Android 10 or later, not just if you own a Pixel:

  • Updating the Microsoft Teams app as soon as an update is available
  • Remain signed in to the Microsoft Teams app if you have done so already
  • Uninstall then reinstall Teams if you haven't signed in on the device before 

If you want to make sure you don't miss the update, then regularly check the Google Reddit post linked above. The author promises to update the post when all users can access the update to Microsoft Teams.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.