Critical alerts are notifications that appear even when your iPhone or iPad is in Do Not Disturb mode or silenced. These include notifications with crucial information about weather emergencies or important health alerts from connected devices.
How Do Critical Alerts work?
Apple’s iOS 12 introduced critical alerts along with several other notification enhancements. They cannot be silenced because they contain essential information you need to be aware of. Weather, health, and security apps might generate a critical alert notification, for example. Like standard notifications, you need to opt in to receive them.
Not all apps are allowed to send critical alerts. Before an app can send critical alerts, the developer needs to apply for an entitlement from Apple. Apple manually vets apps to ensure the information is critical.
Critical alerts are different from standard notifications. They’ll work even if you do not allow other notifications from the app. You may not have any apps that can send critical alerts, but if you do, there a couple of ways to enable those notifications.
How to Turn On an App’s Critical Alerts
Many apps with critical alerts will prompt you to enable them the first time you open the app. You’ll see a message saying the app “would like to send you critical alerts.” Tap “Allow” to activate critical alerts from that app. You may be able to customize what the app alerts you about from within the app itself.
If you don’t enable critical alerts when the app is first launched (or just need to change the setting), you can tweak it in Settings > Notifications.
Tap the app for which you want to adjust Critical alerts settings and then toggle the “Allow Critical Alerts” switch.
That’s it! If you enabled the feature, critical alerts will ring through on your iPhone or iPad even if Do Not Disturb is on.
Why You Should Enable Critical Alerts
Not every app includes critical alerts. You’ll find this feature in apps designed to keep you safe, including health, weather, and security apps.
There are times that you want to disconnect or minimize your interruptions. But, when there’s a tornado in your area, you can’t afford to be disconnected. That’s what critical alerts are for—the alert that breaks you out of your disconnection might just save your life.
Apple doesn’t want apps to abuse this powerful feature, which is why app developers have to apply and argue their case to Apple before including this feature. Apple knows it’s essential to disconnect sometimes, but you might still want to receive notifications that protect you from danger. That being said, critical alerts are an opt-in service. You don’t have to get them, but if an app you’re using offers them, it’s probably a good idea to accept.