April 4, 2024

My Google Pixel 5 is unable to make emergency calls

Yesterday, I experienced a car accident while driving to the city center. A vehicle collided with me from behind, prompting me to follow standard procedure by attempting to call the police for a proper assessment. However, my attempts to dial 112, the emergency number in Europe, were unsuccessful. The call wouldn’t connect, forcing me to resort to contacting a friend to call the police on my behalf. This process was awkward and consumed valuable time. It left me pondering the potent ial consequences had I been in a life-threatening situation.

This wasn’t my first encounter with this issue. Approximately two years ago, I noticed a fire while driving and attempted to call 113, the emergency number for firefighters, only to face the same issue. At that time, I dismissed it as a one-off problem after instructing my wife to report the fire instead. However, the recurrence of this issue has raised serious concerns about my phone’s reliability in emergencies.

I briefly experimented with an iPhone for three months again (I did it seven years ago and documented my experience), but ultimately decided to return to my preferred Google Pixel due to its form factor — I find myself reconsidering this choice. The reliability of a phone, especially for emergency calls, is paramount.

My research led me to a Reddit thread filled with similar reports from other Google Pixel users, even newer phones, indicating this might be a more common issue than I initially thought. I’m currently running the latest available update on my Pixel 5:

Android Version: 14
Android Security Update: November 5, 2023
Google Play System Update: March 1, 2024
Build Number: UP1a.231104.001B2

When I try to reach any Emergency service, it fetches and displays my location and then either it just hangs or I get an automated voice message listing the emergency numbers (in Bosnian and English). With any other phone, it just rings and connects to the emergency service.

Despite attempts to resolve the issue, including restarting the phone and clearing the cache of the Phone app, the problem remains unresolved. If Google had a proper support system, I’d reach out to them. I guess I either have to live with it, or switch to another phone just for the sake of my or someone else’s safety.

Here’s a video showcasing the issue:

I either get to this state (more often) or just a silent call.

I tried enabling/disabling location access - no change.

I tried enabling/disabling Emergency Location Service - no change.

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