Ask Siri for a charge, she calls 911

071615blog siri calls police2

Note to Siri: Needing a charge is not an actual emergency … at least not one requiring police or fire department response.

Nevertheless, a story from The Verge this morning reports that these words -- “Siri charge my phone 100%” – prompts Apple’s virtual assistant to summon emergency services.

Enough others have tried it to convince me that Siri actually does this -- and spare me the risk of trying it myself – but the question remains: why?

Easter egg would be the simplest explanation, though it certainly would be an irresponsible example of that craft.

Some have speculated that the uncalled for response might be designed to be used by kidnap victims as a means of calling for help without appearing to call for help. This doesn’t make any sense on a number of levels, foremost of which would be that this wasn’t public knowledge before today and now that it is becoming so kidnappers will know of it, too. (The Pizza Hut app being cited as a possible precedent is in fact an entirely different kettle of fish.)

It’s been noted that the request must be for a full charge for Siri to call 911; asking for 80% won’t work. And while asking Siri about 9/11 – nine, eleven – has reportedly caused similar issues, there is an apparent connection in that instance. Not so here.

Finally, there’s Australia. An Aussie on Twitter reports that he tried the “charge my phone” trick and it produced the same response.

Australia does not use 911 for emergency services (it’s Triple Zero there).

If this is a bug, it gets around.

I've asked Apple for an explanation.

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