What’s The Deal With Amber And Other Emergency Alerts On iPhone

The United States and Apple have worked together to help in the search for missing persons. Apple developed a system on the iPhone that works as an emergency system that notifies users on their iPhone if a listed missing person may have been in your current area. 

AMBER stands for America’s Missing Broadcasting Emergency Response. The feature is a great way to help law enforcement and families try and find missing persons. The alert will send your iPhone all the necessary details of the missing person, including things like who they are, their age, the possible reason for their disappearance and where they may be.

The feature is one of the few things that can bypass the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your iPhone – which can really be a pain to some people. So, later we will explore how you can switch this off, including other emergency alerts. First though, what are the other emergency alerts?

What Are Other Emergency Alerts On iPhone?

Your iPhone can send you a variety of emergency and public safety alerts. They include but are not limited to: 

  • Government alerts 
  • Alerts that provide information about an imminent threat to your safety or life 
  • Alerts that inform you about hazardous incoming weather conditions and what to do
  • Other public safety alerts 

Similar to AMBER alerts, these alerts will bypass the Do Not Disturb setting. 

When Did This All Start?

Apple first introduced an emergency alert system of notifications in its iOS 11 update. Countries other than the United States have the option to opt into these services and choose how they will operate, within the laws of that country. 

Emergency alerts aren’t a new thing as such though, this is just the newest way of doing so with our technological possibilities. For decades, our Governments have alerted us to dangers by utilizing the media through press conferences, Presidential emergency releases, radio broadcasts and sounded warnings (such as the 4 minute warning, well known in Europe). 

In fact, Apple’s technology has developed features for many of its products to alert its users of imminent or possible danger. For example, the iPhone can alert you if the outside temperature is unusually high or low and the Apple Watch can tell you if your heart rate is unusually high. 

Are These Types Of Alert A Good Thing?

Emergency alerts are always a good thing when it comes to their importance and the ability to help others, such as the AMBER alert. If you have the ability to help people and their families by assisting law enforcement in the location of a loved one – it’s indeed one of the best things you can do. 

With alerts that notify you of impending dangerous weather conditions, you can have an informed overview of what to do, how to prepare and where you should or should not go. You can have the time to protect yourself, your family and your possessions before things get completely out of control. 

Government alerts about things like a potential virus outbreak can also allow you the opportunity to avoid certain situations or prepare for your own protection – so in these scenarios, the alerts are a good thing. But it can also be a hindrance. 

Some people do not want alerts bypassing the Do Not Disturb setting on their iPhone. In fact, the test setting for emergency alerts is by default set to off – so, how do you switch off emergency alerts on your iPhone?

Turn Off Your Emergency Alert Notifications On iPhone

Below, we’ll give you the step by step guide on how to switch off these types of alerts. Note though, it is highly recommended that you leave them on – but it is entirely your decision. 

The steps are:

  • Open your iPhone 
  • Go to the settings page 
  • Scroll down and select notifications 
  • Scroll down to the bottom 
  • You’ll see there is a grouping of Emergency Alerts. AMBER, public safety and emergency alerts will all be “green” meaning they’re switched on 
  • Tap the green to switch these alerts off. You can choose which alerts to leave on if you wish to have one or the other 

Can I Keep Them On Without Bypassing My Do Not Disturb?

This is a yes and no answer. You can prevent the alert from making its well-known loud sound but even if your iPhone is set to Do Not Disturb, the notification will still come through – it just won’t make a sound. If this is something that you’re interested in having set, do the following:

  • Open settings 
  • Scroll to notifications 
  • Scroll down to Emergency Alerts 
  • Tap Emergency Alerts 
  • Switch off the “Always Deliver” setting 

What If I Want To Help With Tests?

As we said, the iPhone has by factory setting, the emergency alert system tests set to off. However, if you’d like to help out with the testing – or you’re curious about how the real one would work, you can decide to switch it on. Here’s how you choose to have them on or off.

Note: this will only work in the United States. 

Switching Test Alerts On: Open your phone and dial *5005*25371# and your phone will tell you that these alerts have now been enabled 

Switching Test Alerts Off: Open your phone and dial *5005*25370# and your phone will tell you that these alerts have now been disabled 

Summing It Up 

Emergency alert systems that are sent to your iPhone such as the AMBER alert system are designed to try and help citizens with potential threats or assist emergency services with the safety of others.

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