Android: What Does The ‘Emergency Call’ Button Do?

If you set a lock screen on your Android device, the PIN entry screen will then feature an Emergency call button toward the bottom of the screen. The button will enable anybody who grabs the phone to at least be able to dial 911 in the case of an emergency without needing to enter a PIN or lock pattern. This may concern some Android users because of the fear of accidentally dialing 911. This was a fear of mine. I thought I’d eventually end up accidentally hitting that button at three o’clock in the morning and wake up 30 minutes later find the police swarming my house. I decided to remove the lock screen just in case. But this is bad for the security of the device. What if I lose it in a bar or somebody steals it from me on the train and don’t realize it for hours? Somebody could have access to all of my info.

Android lock screen

Luckily I found that I could confidently enable the lock screen again. It turned out that the fear over the Emergency call button was unwarranted. The button only brings up the dial pad and doesn’t automatically dial 911 when you press it. You have to press Emergency call, then press 9-1-1 for it to do anything.

Android emergency dialer

On older phones and in some older versions of the Android OS, this wasn’t true. Some builds actually did dial 911 when you pressed the button. But all of that is worked out now with newer versions. So enable that lock screen with confidence and protect the data on your phone.


  1. Kristina says

    My son keeps playing with my phone and calling 911 its frustrating! There should be a way to disable the stupid button at least. I love my phone and its nearly impossible to keep a toddler from getting to it… this seriously needs to get fixed!

  2. njump says

    My grandbabies dial 911 when phone is on block by just pushing the emergency button. They need way for us to dismantle it.

  3. Stormy says

    I just returned my Samsung Galaxy 3, becuase in the couple days I had it my son called 911 multiple times. It automatically calls when you press the green button. Very sad, I loved the phone otherwise.

  4. jeff says

    It is a concern for me… I have accidentally called 911 twice while running. It takes three touches to call.

  5. Chris says

    Android 2.3.5 actually autopopulates 911 in the call window when you hit the emergency button. If you accidentally hit the large green call button, it does still call 911.

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