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.
Most countries around the world have different numbers to call if you get into trouble. But knowing which number to dial in your area if you’re traveling abroad is something most of us don’t consider when packing our cases for a trip away.
To help tackle this, the Apple developers programmed your iPhone to call the local emergency number automatically, even if you say the code for your home country.
So saying ‘911’ in France will get you immediate help in France. Likewise, speaking ’17’ will do the same in the U.S. Because it is an emergency number in many other 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 vital, and we hope it’s something you’ll never have to use.
Other numbers will trigger the same result, such as “Hey Siri, 14”. 14 is the emergency number in Algeria and several other African countries.
To prevent users from accidentally dialing emergency services, Apple has updated iOS, including a warning to double-check whether you want to go ahead and call the number.