The United States participates in an emergency notification service called AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response). An AMBER alert generally lets citizens know when the police are tracking a missing person and there is information that this person may be in their area. Apple has included AMBER alert notifications, as well as other emergency government notifications like emergency alerts and public safety alerts, on the best iPhones, including yours.
Depending on the nature of the alert, which can include child abductions and impending natural disasters, it is a great feature that can prevent injuries and save lives. Many lives. So, by their nature, these alerts don’t honor the Do Not Disturb setting. They NEED to pass.
That can be shocking though, especially if they happen while you sleep, drive, or don’t expect loud noise to come from your iPhone 12, which is why AMBER alerts and other alerts ultimately work at your discretion. They are all on by default, but you can decide which alerts you want to keep on or off. Here’s how.
How to control AMBER and government alerts on your iPhone
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
Tap on Notifications and scroll to the end.
- Under the Government alerts section, toggle the AMBER Alerts other Public safety alerts options on or off to turn them on or off.
Faucet Emergency alerts and then choose if you want to receive them or not, and if so, if you want Always deliver or not. If Always Deliver is disabled, emergency alerts will not play a sound when your iPhone is in silent mode.
Disabling AMBER and other alerts can cost lives, including yours. If a natural disaster is coming and you don’t know it, you have no way of saving your life or that of your family.
That is why they are loud and shocking. They are meant to grab your attention instantly, and the way to do it is big, loud and loud.
So while you can disable them, you shouldn’t. No, unless you have some other way to get reliable alerts about emergencies.
If you also have an Android or Windows Phone device, or know someone who does, you need to make sure AMBER and other government alerts are active on them as well. Our sister site Android Central has a guide on how to activate AMBER alerts for Android.
Questions about AMBER alerts on iPhone?
If you received an AMBER or other emergency alerts on your iPhone, what did you think? Was it useful? What is scary? Do you leave them on? Let me know in the comments! *
June 2021 update: Updated for the latest version of iOS 14.