If you are an Android user with Microsoft’s Teams app installed, you should update the app as soon as possible. This is because Microsoft has just fixed a bug in the app with severe consequences. The bug affected devices running Android 10 and upwards.
The nasty bug made it impossible for Teams app users to call 911 when they are not signed into Teams with their account. The phone would inform the user that a call is in progress, ring once but would not connect. The phone call logs won’t show records for the failed call.
According to Mishaal Rahman, former editor of XDA, Microsoft’s Teams app created a new instance of the PhoneAccount class every time the app was started in the ‘cold’ unlike other calling apps that use only one instance in the OS. With several instances of the class running, the probability of a problem affecting sorting the instances increases, causing the 911 calls not to go through.
Google and Microsoft prioritized the bug due to its nature. While Google says the bug affects a small number of devices, it could prevent life-saving calls from going through, blocking the last line of help for some people. Microsoft has already released a patch for the bug but Google is promising a January update to fix its own side of the problem.
To be sure you have the fix, delete and reinstall the app. This step will delete all unnecessary PhoneAccount instances Teams might have created on your phone. Or you can ensure you are always logged into the app with your account.
While trying to understand the issue, Google spoke with the Redditor who discovered the bug. The company explained what went wrong using its official Reddit account. Here is Google’s statement on the bug:
“Based on our investigation we have been able to reproduce the issue under a limited set of circumstances. 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. Because this issue impacts emergency calls, both Google and Microsoft are heavily prioritizing the issue, and we expect a Microsoft Teams app update to be rolled out soon – as always we suggest users keep an eye out for app updates to ensure they are running the latest version. We will also be providing an Android platform update to the Android ecosystem on January 4.”
It also suggested some workaround steps.
Meanwhile, some Reddit users have reacted to the bug. Bschwind said:
“This is an issue with your OS. No third-party app should be able to interfere with dialing 911, malicious or not.
This is purely a failure of android, and having a fix 1 entire month away is unacceptable. You surely have enough engineers employed to be able to prioritize this and get a fix out, right?”
User romhacks also panned Google for allowing such a bug in the first place but praised the quick response:
“How is a 3rd party unprivileged app able to cause problems in such a system level operation as an emergency call? Good on Google for the detailed response but this bug is concerning.”
Heizzzzzer, however, blames Microsoft:
“There is some much blame on Microsoft that i read over the fact it’ll be fixed with the Android update in less than a month.
Not that blaming Microsoft is a bad thing, but it veiled the most important message (cause it’s still an android bug if that can happen).
It’s actually so ironic that the bug is related to being logged in to a microsoft account, they annoy me so much with that occasional loggin prompt in windows 10. It’s actually the next level genious pattern to get people to log in.”
Lastly, gobongo has taken the step of reporting the incident to the AG of California:
“As a California resident and Pixel owner I have notified the state attorney general and asked them to look into this incident as I find it completely unacceptable.”