New iPhone safety feature triggers mass mistake 911 calls at Bonnaroo

Not quite a “panic at the disco” — but there was panic at Bonnaroo last weekend.

A new iPhone feature caused chaos on the first day of the Tennessee festival on Thursday, June 15, placing multiple accidental calls to emergency services.

Police in Manchester shared details on Twitter, explaining that the calls were due to a malfunction with the iPhone’s feature, which automatically sends an alert to emergency services if it detects that the user has been involved in a crash.

“MPD has responded to multiple accidental 911 calls at Bonnaroo,” the Facebook post reads. “It’s likely that these calls are a result of ‘Crash Detection Mode,’ a new feature on Apple iPhones.”

“Please be mindful and consider deactivating this feature on your phone until Bonnaroo concludes,” the post concluded.

According to the Apple website, when your iPhone detects a severe car crash, it will display an alert and will automatically initiate an emergency phone call after 20 seconds, unless you cancel.

Festivalgoers are seen during the 2023 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Manchester, Tenn.
The four day music festival had multiple calls to emergency services due to the iPhone mode.
Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Apple store.
The setting calls emergency services if it detects a crash.
Future Publishing via Getty Images

If you are unresponsive, your iPhone will play an audio message for emergency services and gives them your latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates with an approximate search radius.

The Bonnaroo organizers also took to Twitter to spread the word, posting a tweet that read: “Let’s work as a team to resolve this!”

They then shared the simple steps to turning off “Crash Detection Mode,” through the iPhone settings.

“You can take action by going Settings>Emergency SOS and deactivating the “crash” feature,” the team tweeted.

Luckily, there were no crashes reported at the four-day music festival, with headliners including Foo Fighters, Paramore, Korn, Knocked Loose and AFI.

It’s not the first time the feature has caused unintentional 911 calls. In January, there were reports that the newly rolled-out feature was causing 911 centers near ski mountains to be overwhelmed with accidental, automated calls from fallen skiers’ and snowboarders’ phones and watches.  

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