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How to Turn Off Emergency Alerts on Your Phone

by Josh Kirschner on January 23, 2019

While emergency alerts on your phone can provide helpful, even life-saving information, there may be reasons why you want to turn them off. Perhaps you frequently receive notices that aren’t important to you (I often get flash flood alerts, even though I live in Manhattan) or believe Amber alerts are simply crime control theater. Or, if you’re in a bad weather area that receives many alerts, maybe you simply are tired of being disturbed while sleeping, at the movies or anywhere else a piercing alarm is definitely not wanted. Or you’re already getting alerts through a weather app and you don’t want duplicate notices.

Fortunately, your cellphone gives you the ability to decide what types of emergency alerts you want to receive. Here’s the information each alert delivers and how to turn off those alerts on your Android phone or iPhone.

The types of emergency alerts

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is based on an Act of Congress in 2006 that authorized the Federal Communications Commission to create a network that would consolidate information from a variety of federal agencies and disseminate that information to citizens via their cellular devices. The network became fully operational in 2012. Unlike text (SMS) messages, emergency alerts are broadcast to everyone connected to a cell tower, which allows specific geographic targeting to everyone in an area, rather than being sent to individual recipients.

US Government agencies (e.g., the National Weather Service and FEMA), as well as local law safety and law enforcement departments, can issue three types of alerts through WEA:

  • Alerts issued by the President of the United States
  • Alerts involving imminent threats to the safety of life (which come in two flavors: extreme threats and severe threats)
  • AMBER Alerts for abducted children

Extreme warnings include tsunamis, tornados, extreme wind, hurricanes and typhoons. Severe warnings include storm surges, snow squalls, flash floods and dust storms.

Most phones will allow you to turn off each category of alert, except for the Presidential alerts; this restriction was mandated by the 2006 Law. But lest you get too worked up over this last point, the law restricts these texts to emergencies and a Presidential Alert has never been issued.

How to turn off the emergency alerts on your iPhone

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Notifications
  3. Scroll to the bottom of Notifications for the option to turn off Amber Alerts and Emergency Alerts

How to turn off emergency alerts on your Android phone

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Got to Apps & Notifications
  3. Go to Advanced
  4. Go to Emergency Alerts for the option to turn off Amber Alerts, Extreme Threats and Severe Threats.

The exact steps may vary slightly depending on your Android version and phone manufacturer.

[Image credit: Wireless Emergency Alert via FEMA]


Tips & How-Tos, Phones and Mobile, Tech 101

Discussion loading

not a smart phone

From bunnierabbitt on January 25, 2019 :: 2:24 pm

Is there a way to turn them off if the phone is not a smart phone?


Yes, but depends on phone and carrier

From Josh Kirschner on January 25, 2019 :: 4:19 pm

Each phone and carrier has different menu steps, so you should Google “Turn off emergency alerts [carrier name] [phone model]” to see the specific instructions for your device.

For example, for the T-Mobile Alcatel Go Flip:
- From the home screen, press the OK button on the keypad.
- Scroll and select Settings.
- Under the ‘Network & Connectivity’ tab, scroll and select Wireless Emergency Alerts.
- Select from the following:
Emergency Alert Sound
Emergency Alert Vibrate

For the Verizon LG Exalt,
- From the main screen, navigate: Message > Options > Messaging Menu.
- Select Settings.
- Select Emergency Alerts.
- Under Receive Alerts, use the 5-way navigation pad to highlight and the OK button to MARK (alert on) or UNMARK (alert off) then select Done for Extreme Alert, Severe Alert, and AMBER Alert


If settings does work for you, Try this...

From gerry buffett on July 16, 2020 :: 4:31 pm


nokia 2.1

From graeme on March 25, 2020 :: 2:37 am

I want to turn off all emergency alerts but the screen will not allow show emergency alerts is in grey and will not allow switch off how can I stop these please help



Hopefully this helps

From Gypsy on June 16, 2020 :: 9:58 am

My daughter is being woken up by at least 20 in the mornings and night. It got to the point it was ridiculous. My husband and I have the option to turn off ours but couldn’t find hers.

I just went to settings and tried to search from the settings top. emergency and under network & internet popped up a setting I hadn’t seen before. “Wireless Emergency Alerts” tapped on it and tapped the three dots on the top, clicked settings and it let me toggle everything off.

I truly hope it works and hope that helps you as well.


try this to Remove ALERTS

From gerry buffett on July 16, 2020 :: 4:28 pm


Me too

From Jordan on April 05, 2020 :: 3:19 am

I have that same problem. I have found two different ways to navigate to my emergency alert setting and it’s greyed out I can’t change a single thing on it. I would love to keep it on if it would just respect my do not disturb setting but it won’t and I’m an insonmiac one loud blaring noise right next to my head will give me a panic attack that will keep me up all night ... anyways what can I do to get the thing to shut up?


Nolia 2.1

From graeme on April 05, 2020 :: 5:15 pm

Some one must know how this sort of thing can be changed, I know that the black berry phones are good as being private but don’t think they have this alert set on them


Well have tryed a lot

From Graeme on July 20, 2020 :: 1:08 am

Well have tryed a lot of things but still no luck blocking the alerts the one’s that can change have been but there are two others in grey that can’t change them no menu to go into no settings it appears spark lock this on the phone and one needs the code all bull shit really blackberry phones are good dealers cant muck with settings on those


What is purpose of Emerg. system you have to disable?

From sbellf on June 15, 2022 :: 8:47 am

AT&T insists on running “Emergency Tests” at all hours of the morning. Mine went off twice at 1:30am!!  For a %^%&  test!!!!
All this mishandling of the Emergency Test System by carriers only prompts users to disable it on their phones, which negates the purpose of having it in the first place. But carriers don’t respond to complaints, nor politicians.  Welcome to the United States of Apathy.


the law restricts these texts to emergencies BS

From taulsk on October 04, 2023 :: 3:52 pm

Unless there are alternate definitions in the english language, the statement ‘the law restricts these texts to emergencies’ is a blatant lie.  It is called a test and they are absolutely NOT an emergency and there is no excuse to lie and say they don’t happen!
I will almost guarantee there is a way to root your phone and delete the entire WEA system off of your phone and let the government suck air when they can’t harass people any more.  If they are not telling lies they will not even know because supposedly there is no communication back from the phone.


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