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How to Disable Emergency Alerts on Your Smartphone

AMBER and emergency alerts occur when there’s a child abduction or there’s an important event such as a severe weather alert (tornado warning) that local governments needs to make people aware of. While we don’t recommend disabling these permanently, you might need to temporarily.

The thing about these alerts are that they occur whether you have your phone on silent or not, and though they occur infrequently, when they do happen, it can be startling and possibly disturb you during an important meeting or similar function.

Again, we don’t recommend turning them off permanently but if you’re going into a situation which requires total silence or that you not be disturbed and you don’t want to take any chances, then here is how to turn them off on your iPhone or Android device.

Turning Off Alerts on iPhone

To turn off AMBER and emergency alerts on your iPhone, first open the Settings and tap open the “Notifications” section.

Once you’re in the notification settings, scroll all the way to the bottom to where it says “Government Alerts” and tap off AMBER and/or Emergency Alerts.

You will no longer be alerted when a child abduction takes place or an emergency event occurs.

Turning Off Alerts on an Android Phone

Android includes a great deal more options for dealing with and configuring emergency broadcast alerts than iOS, so if you have an Android phone, you won’t have to turn them off completely to still receive them.

First tap open the Settings and then tap “More”.

In the More section, tap on “Emergency broadcasts”.

Compared to iPhone, the Android settings go out of their way to give the user many more options for fine-tuning how they receive emergency alerts. Whereas the iPhone only comes with two options, on Android you can adjust alerts for extreme threats, severe threats, and AMBER alerts.

You can also choose whether to disable notifications, adjust how long alerts sound (2 to 10 seconds), turn on alert reminders, as well as whether your phone vibrates when it receives an alert.

Moving through the settings, you’ll see that you can have alert messages spoken to you using text-to-speech. If you live in an earthquake prone area or there’s a threat of tsunami, then you can have your phone send you ETWS or Earthquake Tsunami Warning System test broadcasts.

Finally, at the bottom are developer options, which you most likely won’t need to mess with. There’s an option to enable Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) test broadcasts, and an option to opt-out after displaying the first CMAS alert.

In terms of configurability, the Android options win out for being much more adjustable. Unlike the iPhone options, Android doesn’t make it all-or-nothing. You can still receive alerts but you can choose whether or not they notify you and for how long the alert sound plays.

On the other hand, the iPhone options are a lot simpler and will likely appeal to those who just want to disable AMBER and emergency alerts quickly and temporarily. Again, it’s probably a good idea that you only disable them temporarily and as needed, because you never know when an event might occur that you need to be informed about.

We hope you found this article useful. If you have any comments or questions you would like to contribute, please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.


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