Turn off Amber and Weather Alerts

I think it is a fair assumption to say that most humans like being safe. Right? I’m sure you do. I know that I do (though I do appreciate a good adrenaline rush…but those stories are for another time). We like to be informed about threats, about dangerous weather or accidents. But, there are times when it gets overwhelming.

Warning TrianbleEspecially now with all the emergency alerts that go off on our cell phones – that loud wailing siren noise and the blaring BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP at the end. It’s enough to drive a person batty – more so if you have really good speakers on your phone or you are around others and you hear it in stereo all around you. Good gravy almighty does it drive a person to the edge! Particularly of you are sleeping and get woken up by that soul splitting, heart cannoning sound (this is happened to me more than once. Needless to say I didn’t sleep after that…thank goodness for Netflix).

While I just grin and bear the jarring alarms that go off from time to time from AMBER Alerts or weather emergencies or anything like that, I know a few people would like to learn how to stop these messages from appearing on their phones.

HOW DO I GET THESE DAMNED ALERTS OFF MY PHONE?! I can hear them yell as they rush and fumble to shut their volume down. Have no fear, here are tips and tricks to stop them for you – for both iPhone and android.

But first, a little background as to what these alerts are and when they came from.

According to folks running the website of the FCC, WEAs (Wireless Emergency Alerts) are a public safety system that allows people with cell phones – pre-paid or contracted, doesn’t matter in this case – to receive messages that look like text messages. But these really aren’t actual text messages. You don’t get charged or use up your allotted texts with these, which is nice for the non-unlimited crowd.

These messages are meant as a means to help alert people of danger and threats close to them. They are all location-driven, meaning that GPS is used to keep the messages in the location it needs to be (like lower Manhattan, NY instead of Puposky, MN) through the local cell towers.

These WEAs work with the Emergency Alert System (EAS) which already works at alerting people of emergencies (those, usually weather, emergency alerts that come up on the TV or the radio).

Types of Alerts in the WEA System

  1. Alerts issued by the President.
  2. Alerts involving emergencies or threats (weather, environmental such as wildfires, crime, civil unrest…those kinds of things)
  3. AMBER alerts which focus on finding kidnapped kids.

Amber Alert Settings on Cell phoneThe only kind of alerts that cannot be blocked are those from the President – which, makes sense. I mean, if you get an emergency alert from the President and his people, you should probably read that one and listen to what is being told you. Just sayin’.

Okay. So now you have a little bit of a background as to what these alerts are. How do you get rid of them? Good question! Here are ways for both the iPhone and the Android.

For the sake of where I am located (the northwoods of Minnesota), I consulted with Verizon since they are the ones with the most towers which equals most coverage and those pre-paid Tracphone type cell phones work off of those towers as well.

Turning off Alerts on iPhone

It’s actually pretty easy on an iPhone to change the settings of these emergency alerts.

To enable or disable U.S. government alerts or AMBER Alerts, first go to your settings page on your phone.

From there, tap on “Notifications” from the list that pops up. After “Notifications” loads up on your screen, you’ll have to scroll down all the way to the bottom. Now, for each alert type (the three that I mentioned earlier in this article), you have the ability to turn them on or off. Swipe the button to “Off” for each that you longer want to get.

Alert settings on iphoneThis handy-handy, easy-peasy feature is only supported on iPhone 4s and later…but, most people do not have anything older than a 4s so you should be okay. There is also, from what I have read and heard from friends since I am not an apple-head, something called the Do Not Disturb mode that won’t get rid of the alerts all together, but it will muffle the sound of them so you aren’t scared out of your pants every time one goes off.

Turning off Amber Alerts on Android

As with anything that involves and Android phone, the process of disabling emergency alerts is a bit more complex than with an iPhone. And they aren’t as easy as 1, 2, 3. But, it’s not rocket science so we’ll be okay.

For the vast majority of the phones that use the Android OS (operating system), this is the easiest and quickest way to stop those emergency alerts from showing up on your phone.
All of your options for controlling the emergency alerts will be found under “Settings” – which makes it easier. But, you will have to locate the tab labeled “More”. Tap on it. Then, you will need to find “Cell Broadcasts” from the list that pops up.

Found it? Cool. You’re just about done. Now you can control which emergency alerts you want on or off by swiping the “ON/OFF” buttons for each of them. Done!

Emergency alerts on Android Samsung phones are ever so lovingly tucked away in the settings of the text messaging app.

You need to go into “Messaging”. In that section, locate the “Settings” tab and tap on it. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find “Emergency Alerts” in the list. Tap on that. From there you can control the “ON/OFF” buttons for the alerts. Note: you can’t uncheck the presidential alerts one…y’know, just in case aliens attack.

iOS Emergency AlertWhile it is understandable in certain situations that the idea of turning off emergency WEAs or AMBER alerts is a good one – you have multiple phones for work and you don’t want a symphony around you every time one is issued, or you work weird hours and interrupted sleep in not a good thing for you – but other than those sort of out of the norm situations, I really think that these alerts shouldn’t be shut off. I mean, sure, getting fifteen in five minutes when the alerts are going on is a but excessive, but they are temporary. So I just suck it up and deal with them and turn my phone’s volume off.

But, if you are really in need or really REALLY want to stop these emergency alerts from popping up on your phone, hopefully this article has helped you find the easiest way to do so.