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emergency alert on smartphone
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Safety & security

How to change emergency alert settings on your phone

Modern smartphones come with built-in tools in case of emergency. It’s not always easy (or possible) to alert your loved ones when the unexpected happens, but thanks to Emergency SOS, you can put those fears to rest. Tap or click here for steps on enabling this vital setting on your phone.

You can receive emergency, government and public safety alerts on your phone related to severe weather, missing children, natural disasters, national security, public safety threats and more. Not all alerts are available everywhere, and you may only get one if you’re in an affected region.

You can adjust the settings on your phone to turn specific alerts on or off or enable test alerts. We’ve got steps for both iOS and Android phones.

Emergency alerts on iPhones

You have a few broad options when it comes to emergency alerts on your iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Notifications and scroll down to Government Alerts.
  • Here you can turn AMBER Alerts on or off. This alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing. Slide the toggle next to AMBER Alerts to the right to enable or left to disable.
  • Tap on Emergency Alerts to get a couple of options. You can turn Emergency Alerts off or switch off Always Play Sound, which means emergency alerts won’t play a sound if your phone is in silent mode. Slide the toggle next to Emergency Alerts to the right to enable or left to disable.
  • The next option is Public Safety Alerts. According to FEMA, public safety alerts are typically less severe than imminent threat alerts.
  • The government occasionally sends out test alerts. The option is turned off by default on your iPhone, and you can change that by switching on Test Alerts.
  • Presidential alerts are mandatory and cannot be turned off.

Emergency alerts on Android phones

Depending on your Android phone model, you may have different options for emergency alert settings. Newer phones offer more flexibility regarding what types of alerts you want to receive:

  • Go to Settings > Safety & emergency > Wireless emergency alerts.
  • Here you can turn AMBER Alerts on or off. This alert is issued when a child is abducted or missing.
  • Extreme threats and Severe threats refer to threats to your life and property, with extreme threats being more serious.
  • Public safety messages provide additional information on actions to take in response to one of the other alerts.
  • You may see the option to enable or disable alert tests.
  • Presidential alerts are mandatory and cannot be turned off.

We recommend leaving these settings on. You never know what could happen.

You may also like: 8 essential apps you don’t want to be without in an emergency

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