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Microsoft Teams no longer blocks 911 calls on Android phones

Microsoft Teams Android Install Store
Microsoft Teams Android Install Store (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A recent set of issues blocked certain Android phones from dialing 911 when Microsoft Teams was installed.
  • The situation has raised concerns regarding how third-party apps are able to affect emergency call services on Android.
  • A recent update to Microsoft Teams appears to address part of the issue.

Microsoft has released an update to Teams that addresses a bug that can prevent Android phones from being able to dial 911. In late November, a Reddit user shared a story in which they were unable to dial 911 when their grandmother required an ambulance. Bugs within Microsoft Teams and the Android operating system appear to have worked in conjunction to prevent access to emergency call services.

"Based on our investigation we have been able to reproduce the issue under a limited set of circumstances," explained Google in a Reddit comment. "We believe the issue is only present on a small number of devices with the Microsoft Teams app installed when the user is not logged in, and we are currently only aware of one user report related to the occurrence of this bug."

While the issue has only been seen affecting 911 calls when Teams is installed (other apps can cause the issue but there have not been any notable reports at this time), Microsoft claims that it's solely an Android bug. When we were sent the following official statement from Microsoft, a company spokesperson claimed that the problem was caused by an Android operating system issue:

We are aware of Google's plans to roll-out an Android platform update in January. We are working on an update to our own application to avoid triggering the underlying Android operating system issue. We are collaborating closely with Google to resolve this unintended interaction.

The senior technical editor for Esper, Mishaal Rahman, seemed to place blame on both Android and Microsoft Teams. "Understandably, the revelation that a third-party app like Microsoft Teams was able to interfere with a process as critical as emergency dialing had many users upset and confused," said Rahman in a Medium post. "Under no circumstance should emergency dialing be blocked on a device; carriers are required by law to route emergency calls to the local emergency services even if the device doesn't have a SIM card provisioned on their network."

Rahman later went on to explain in technical detail how the issue presents itself and that Microsoft had a fix for the Teams app on the way.

In any case, an update is coming soon, and not just from Google. Microsoft will be rolling out a new version of Teams that will likely resolve the issue with duplicate PhoneAccount instances being created. Microsoft can resolve this bug on their end by generating a UUID once and reading it from SharedPreferences.

That update has since rolled out with Teams version 1416/1.0.0.2021194504. Note that Microsoft's fix only addresses the problem in relation to Teams. Other applications could contain a similar bug to what was once in the Teams app. Bugs such as this could still block calling 911 until Google rolls out an update to Android.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

1 Comment
  • In many places you can also make emergency calls using the international emergency number 112.