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How to turn off emergency government alerts on iPhone

Government alerts – sometimes known as Emergency Alerts, Severe Alerts and Amber Alerts – are a special type of notification utilised by countries around the world.

The idea is simple; if there’s any kind of threat or emergency, a notification will go out to all phones in the affected area alerting them to the issue. Your iPhone will make a sound and vibrate for around 10 seconds, even if it’s on silent mode or do not disturb is enabled, to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on. 

It’s not a new concept with countries like the US and Japan using the tech for years, but it’s only now rolling out in the UK.

In fact, the UK government has confirmed that a test alert will be going out this weekend, on Sunday 23 April at 3pm BST. That’s fine for most people, but what if you don’t want to receive the notification? You might be in an important meeting or simply just napping – hey, it is a Sunday after all. 

The good news is that you don’t need to turn your phone off to stop it from uncontrollably buzzing – instead, you can just disable the tech altogether. In most countries, anyway.

If you’re not interested in getting high-priority alerts sent through to your device, here’s how to turn off government alerts on an iPhone.

What you’ll need: 

  • An iPhone

The Short Version 

  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app
  2. Tap the Notification menu
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the notification menu
  4. Toggle off Emergency Alerts and Severe Alerts
  1. Step
    1

    Open the Settings app

    The first step is to open the Settings app on your iPhone. If you’re unsure of which app that is, it’s the app with a mechanical gear icon.iPhone home screen with Settings app circled

  2. Step
    2

    Tap Notifications

    Within the Settings app, tap the Notifications menu. This gives you the option to customise your notification settings as well as disable certain types of notifications. Settings app with Notifications menu circled

  3. Step
    3

    Toggle off Emergency Alerts and Severe Alerts

    In the Notifications menu, scroll right to the bottom of the page. You should see two toggles – one for Emergency Alerts and another for Severe Alerts. Simply toggle both of these off to disable government notifications on your iPhone. Extreme Alerts toggle

FAQ

Will emergency alerts come through if my phone is off?

While these special alerts can override silent mode and do not disturb functionality, they can’t turn on an iPhone that’s powered off. And, unlike text messages, they won’t come through to your phone once you turn it on either. 

Why can’t I disable emergency government alerts?

While you can disable government alerts in countries including the UK and US, not all countries allow the functionality to be disabled. If you’re unable to disable the feature, you may be in a region that requires the functionality to stay active. 

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