Microsoft fixes Teams bug preventing Android phones from dialing 911

Microsoft Teams Hero
Microsoft Teams Hero (Image credit: Dan Thorp-Lancaster / Windows Central)

The article has been updated to include a statement from Microsoft.

Update, Dec 14 (6:00 p.m. ET): Microsoft Teams update rolling out

What you need to know

  • A culprit has been found for the 911 bug impacting a limited number of Pixel uses.
  • Microsoft Teams somehow prevents Android from making emergency calls when the app is installed but not logged into an account.
  • To avoid this bug and ensure your emergency calls go through, uninstall and reinstall the app if you currently have Microsoft Teams installed but aren't signed in.
  • Google has released a statement saying they are aware of the issue, and both Google and Microsoft are working on a permanent fix.

A little over a week ago, reports began to arrive on the Google Pixel subreddit of users being unable to call 911. That is highly alarming for obvious reasons, and the issue thread by u/KitchenPicture5849 quickly gained attention from Google as users, and the Pixel Team itself investigated the issue and tried to pin down the source.

The cause has been located and confirmed by Google, and I'm still tilting my head in utter confusion at it: Microsoft Teams. Somehow, if you have Microsoft Teams installed but aren't logged into a Teams account — perhaps if you keep it installed to join invited calls from an organization that uses 365 — you might find yourself unable to dial 911. From the official comment by Google:

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. We determined that the issue was being caused by unintended interaction between the Microsoft Teams app and the underlying Android operating system.

Thankfully, this should impact a very limited number of people, and non-logged-in Microsoft Teams users can uninstall and reinstall the Microsoft Teams app to fix the issue for now. A more permanent fix will be coming in the form of a Microsoft Teams apps update which Google and Microsoft are currently working on.

We've only heard of issues on Pixels so far, but this bug is due to a bad interaction between the Microsoft Teams app and the core Android OS, so a fix will be coming in the January Android security patch to patch this on the OS side and prevent other apps from potentially causing or abusing this flaw.

A Microsoft spokesperson also confirmed Android Central that it is working with Google on a fix:

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.

Pixel phones are some of the best Android phones, and any kind of flaw that impacts the most basic and essential of smartphone functions is alarming. At least the source and a fix were found quickly.

And can we all agree that this is just bizarre?

Update, Dec 14 (6:00 p.m ET) ― Update now rolling out

Microsoft has announced that it is rolling out the "important update" for the Microsoft Teams app that should address the problem.

Android users with Microsoft Teams installed ahould download the update version 1416/

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.