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.

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

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 numbers are 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 and programmed your iPhone to automatically call the local emergency number, 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.

The feature has been used for jokes and playing pranks on people since its introduction. 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 a number of other African countries.

To try and prevent users from accidentally dialing emergency services, Apple has updated iOS, including a warning to double-check whether you actually want to go ahead and call the number.

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

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.

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