How to get emergency alerts on your iPhone

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When an emergency happens, you need to stay informed. And one of the best ways is to enable government alerts on your iPhone. These alerts help us all maintain contact with our authorized national, state, and local authorities so we are aware of any public safety emergencies and any required action.

Public safety, emergency, and Amber alerts should already be enabled on your iPhone and Apple Watch as Apple puts these types of government alerts on by default. But it never hurts to check and make sure that you receive these important alerts, especially in times of crisis.

And when the crisis is over, you can change your government alert settings back to normal at any time. So why not have them on when you need them?

Example of the types of alerts sent include:

  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) including notices about evacuation orders and other critical messages for the geographic area affected by an emergency
  • Alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life
  • Alerts for extreme weather conditions
  • Public Safety Alerts
  • Missing or abducted child alerts (AMBER alert)
    emergency alert from local city government
    alerts like this from the city of Chicago let the public know what is going on and any action the public needs to take

When a government authority issues an alert, you get a notification and an alarm-like sound plays to get your attention.

You get emergency alerts even if you turned on Do Not Disturb, Bedtime, or any other feature that normally silences notifications.

Check your iPhone’s government emergency alert settings

  1. Go to Settings > Notifications
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen
  3. Look for the Government Alerts category emergency, government, safety, and AMBER alerts on iPhone settings
  4. Toggle on or off any changes you want

We strongly recommend you to enable both Emergency and Public Safety alerts!

Not hearing the alert’s alarm sound?

If you do not hear an alert but see it as a notification on your screen, it’s likely that your iPhone’s ringer sound is turned all the way down or you flipped the iPhone’s side switch to mute.

ring and silent (mute) switch on iPhone
Check your side switch on your iPhone. If you see orange, you’re on mute

To hear the sounds, turn your iPhone’s ringer volume up and make sure the side switch is not on mute.

Not getting emergency alerts?

  1. Disable all government alerts in your notification settings
  2. Restart the device
  3. Toggle all alerts back on

Other alert options

A lot of our frequently used apps also offer emergency notification services.

Twitter has an in-app option to receive information about crises and emergencies. Along with your iPhone government alerts, Twitter is a good option for times when you need frequent updates on the situation.

  1. Open the Twitter app
  2. Tap your account icon (usually your picture)
  3. Choose Settings and privacy
  4. Select Notifications
  5. Tap SMS Notifications and Push Notifications (one at a time)
  6. Toggle on Crisis and emergency alerts emergency alerts via the Twitter app on iPhone

Check with your local city, county, or state/province

Many localities also offer their own emergency alert systems, usually through SMS texts or emails.

So visit your city, state, or other government site and look for any emergency alert systems.

Receive Test Emergency Alerts (the US only)

When you use a US carrier and you are in the U.S, you can receive Test Emergency Alerts–just to make sure the system is working.

By default, this is turned off.

When you receive this type of alert, you hear an alarm and the alert says that it’s a test–not an actual emergency.

Turn these test alerts on or off

  1. Open the Phone app and tap Keypad
  2. To turn it on, type in *5005*25371# and make a call. You hear confirmation that”test alerts enabled”
  3. To turn it off, type in *5005*25370# and make a call. You hear confirmation that”test alerts disabled”

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