What Happens When You Tell Siri 17?

The internet and social media have been rife with comments from iPhone users challenging others to say “17” to Siri and then see what happens.

What Happens When You Tell Siri 17?

The advent of voice assistants like Apple's Siri has revolutionized how we interact with our devices, making tasks more convenient and hands-free.

However, this convenience can sometimes lead to unexpected results, as seen with the curious case of telling Siri “17”. Here’s an in-depth look at what happens when you give Siri this seemingly innocuous command, and why.

The internet and social media have been rife with comments from iPhone users challenging others to say “17” to Siri and then see what happens.

Much like a similar controversy a few years ago, with people encouraged to say “108” for fun, neither of the numbers is something you should speak for the hell of it.

Why? Because your iPhone will immediately call the local emergency services.

This can surprise many users who might have been experimenting with Siri or simply stumbled upon this command accidentally. But why does this happen?

In many countries, the number 17 is associated with emergency services, similar to 911 in the United States or 112 in Europe. Apple, prioritizing user safety, has integrated a system where saying specific numbers recognized as emergency numbers in any part of the world can trigger an emergency call.

So, saying “911” in France will get you immediate help in France. Likewise, “17” will do the same in the U.S. Because it is an emergency number in many other countries.

While this feature is well-intentioned, to avoid misuse and accidental emergency calls, Apple has included a confirmation step. When you tell Siri “17”, the voice assistant doesn’t immediately dial emergency services. Instead, Siri will respond with a prompt like, “Calling emergency services in five seconds...” allowing users a brief window to cancel the call if it was a mistake.

Siri now checks if you want to call an emergency number
Siri now checks if you want to call an emergency number

Other numbers will trigger the same result, such as “Hey Siri, 14”. 14 is the emergency number in Algeria and several other African countries.

Since its introduction, the feature has been used for jokes and playing pranks on people. But we don’t recommend phoning the emergency services unless it’s they are genuinely needed, and we hope it’s something you’ll never have to use.