Weather alert

Emergency alerts on your Android smartphone are a good thing — even if they are a bit annoying

Every so often — or frequently, depending on your tolerance level — you get an AMBER alert on your phone. That horrible blaring of the emergency alert tone, the buzzing of your phone's vibrating motor, and then the grim news. Someone's missing. Or there's a severe weather alert headed your way. Suddenly and without warning, your phone's scaring the hell out of you. It's bad enough during the day, and downright dreadful in the dead of night.

And that's the idea.

The U.S. carriers have worked with the federal government to come up with a way to push alerts to your Android smartphone to warn you about inclement weather, or other matters of grave national importance. The point is they want you to see this information in hopes that it could save your life — or someone else's.

But, like a good many things, emergency alerts on Android can be a bit of a mess. We'll explain.

What kind of alerts are there?

Galaxy S4 emergency alerts

There are three (or four, depending on how you're counting) types of emergency alerts you can receive on your Android. They are:

  • Presidential alerts— No, not asking for money, but rather an alert issued by the President of the United States or a designee.
  • Imminent threat alerts — Weather, really, and this one may be broken down into "extreme threats" or "severe threats" to life and property.
  • AMBER Alerts — These are specific alerts — aimed at locating a missing child. Technically AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response." But it was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was kidnapped and killed in 1996. AMBER alerts can appear to be a bit cryptic, giving you the location of the alert, a car license plate number and the make, model and color of the vehicle.

What does an Android alert sound like?

It's loud and annoying — particularly if you have a phone with really good speakers.

You'll likely also find your phone is vibrating when an alert is issued.

How can I turn off alerts on my Android? 

Again, we'd recommend you not do this — better to be annoyed and alive than appeased and in harm's way. But you should have a little control over emergency alerts on your Android. The catch is that they may be in different places on different phones, with slightly different features.

For example:

Android emergency alerts

Here are the alert settings on the Nexus 5, which is running a "stock" version of Android 4.4.2. You'll find these options under Settings > More > Cell broadcasts. From there, you can choose which alerts to receive. (Note that there's no option to not receive presidential alerts.)

Emergency alerts on Samsung phones are tucked away in the settings of Samsung's messaging app. (Not to be confused with other messaging apps like Google's Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or AT&T's own messaging app.) So that's Messaging > Settings > (Scroll way down) > Emergency alerts. Here there's an option to not receive presidential alerts, but you can't uncheck it.

And there are quirks among phones, too. AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (on Android 4.3) has an option to remind you about emergency alerts. T-Mobile's Galaxy S4 (on Android 4.4.2) does not.

Moto X emergency alerts

Motorola's Moto X goes even further, allowing you to set the duration of the alert sound (from 2 seconds to 10 seconds, speak the alert out loud, and offer an option to opt out after receiving your first alert.

Point is, it varies by phone, and by carrier. Basic rule of thumb? To adjust your emergency and AMBER alert settings, either look in your phone's default messaging app, or in the mobile options section of your settings menu.

It's a bit of a mess. 

Other helpful links for AMBER Alerts and emergency alerts on your Android phone:

 

Reader comments

AMBER Alerts and Android — What you need to know

144 Comments

I'd agree these can be annoying. I also haven't received a single alert on my phone since I first noticed it was implemented. I don't know if that's because I'm on Cyanogenmod or not, or if Verizon just isn't participating somehow.

Verizon participates

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You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

Try not to be in a Verizon store when the alert is sent out! Hehe, people start looking at each other as if a nuclear war about to begin with all phones in the store going off. :-)

Posted via Android Central App

As long as your phone is connected to a cell tower and you have a recent version of any mobile OS, you'll receive them. But, they are location dependent (per tower you're connected to, not your address on record with your carrier, so they work when you travel somewhere away from home). You just haven't been somewhere at the same time that one was issued yet.

I think these alerts are a good thing... but they need to be more customizable, with each type of alert to have it's own check box to ignore the phone's sound global setting or not on the phone.

I for one want server weather alerts to sound no matter what... but I do not want amber alerts to sound if I have my phone on silent. Amber alerts are not as life threatening as some other alerts and should be treated as such... When I'm awake I look at my phone frequently and if it is on silent I'll see the amber alert soon anyways if it doesn't sound... also there would be many other people with their sound on who would still get the amber alert immediately.

I had my first one a couple of months ago, it was a missing child in NJ (I am in NYC). It turned out to be a false alarm (thank heavens) per local news. It went off, and at first I am like "what the hell is that", sounded like the old TV Civil Defense warnings.

Every one of the Amber Alerts I've received on my phone were for spousal custody battles. The child is virtually never in danger in these cases. Danger to the child is probably heightened by putting out an alert in this situation.
(I know, I'm a bad person, let the hate mail flow).

Personally, the few AMBER alerts that I've gotten have been either while I was at my desk at work (in which case there's not much I can do to help) or in the middle of the night in which case (to be honest) I'm just going to turn it off, roll over, and go back to sleep. And that's assuming that I don't turn it off entirely. I think they would actually get a lot more support for the program if it were a more "relaxed" notification. I don't need the air raid siren going off because a child is missing. Let it hit my phone just like a text message or email. It will chime, I will look (if I'm able) and I will be informed about the information. Forcing carriers and OEM's to make the phones have the horrifically loud "alarms" that go off just makes people turn the feature off.

The whole idea, here, was supposed to be to get that information in front of as many eyes as possible so that people would be aware of what's going on and be vigilant so that they could help. Crowd-sourcing the search effort, if you will. Making the service obnoxious is not the best way to accomplish that task.

Does anyone know Where can you find out what constitutes a "Severe Threat" vs. "Extreme Threat", to help people decide which alerts they want to opt-in to? I'm more than happy to get an alert for a tornado warning (i.e., when a tornado has actually been spotted in my area & could be headed my way). But I don't want to get the full-on disaster alarm siren when there's just a thunderstorm coming.

That's another problem with this system: you don't get to decide. It's all or nothing, and it doesn't differentiate between severity. If they push the button, you get an alert.

My take on it is that today's parents are so immature and egotistical that they have a psychological need to believe someone is out there lurking/plotting to abduct their kids. That isn't reality, and so these phony Amber alerts were constructed to try to pretend it's so. They're an expression of parental egotism and the general ignorance of our population. But when you investigate the truth behind each Amber alert (a child custody dispute or family miscommunication), their artificial nature is apparent. Turn off that annoying Amber alert!

This was one of the first things I disabled/uninstalled upon rooting my phone.
Edit: presidentials gone as well.

Posted with my HTC One GPe via Android Central App

I like to know what's going on. Granted, if what is happening is being sent out through a presidential alert then it would most likely be on the news. But still...

Correct. If I'm not mistaken, the system wasn't actually online until about 2007-2008, and it wasn't a mandate that OEM's include it in devices until 2009.

If the President wants to alert me, he can contact the NSA and get my number.

I still need an answer to my question please.

I disabled it in settings/apps, and for good measure I froze the app in Titanium Backup.

Posted with my HTC One GPe via Android Central App

Why? Is it really that much of an annoyance to potentially get information that could save a child's life?

It is a matter of personal preference. I for one would not like to get information fed to me by force, even if it is potentially life saving.

Posted via Android Central App

Would you feel the same way if your life was in danger? What about your parents/spouse/children?

Posted via Android Central App

When it goes off at 3 in the morning and scares the living daylights of everyone in the house, yes. I feel for the victims, but I'm not looking for a car/license plate at 3am, I'm going to *try* to go back to sleep.

I agree with the *idea* of the system, but not it's implementation. There is no reason why an AMBER alert needs to go off on my phone with that horrific alarm sound at full volume. The whole idea was to get the information in front of as many eyes as possible. They could have easily made it come in like a normal notification, so that people could then respond to it like they would a text message or email. Making the system obnoxious just lessens the likelihood that people are going to use it.

Just because my phone makes that horrible noise while I'm sitting at my desk at work, it doesn't mean that I'm going to drop what I'm doing and go run outside to watch scour the streets for a particular car. However, if the alert was more subdued, I would read it when I checked my phone and be aware of the situation so that, if I were to see that car later, I would know to call the authorities.

The way they have implemented it now just makes it more likely that I'm going to silence and dismiss the notification as quickly as possible, or turn the feature off altogether.

It's not getting the information out that's an issue; it's how it's done. Had they implemented this as a standard notification, then I wouldn't have turned it off. As it happened, after a spousal custody battle resulted in a piercing 3am wake up call on both my wife's and my phones, we turned it off. And now we're never going to see the alerts. Had it been a standard alert, and I had seen it the next morning, I might have paid attention. Now, I never will. To add insult to injury, in the alert we received, the child was never in danger, and the alert was issued 13 hours after the supposed abduction happened. So thanks for playing the moral card, shame it backfired on you and the others in an epic fashion.

PS: we've never received a single tornado warning even when our neighborhood was identified as being directly in the path of a confirmed on the ground tornado. So the alerts are pretty much worthless all around.

And I've received warnings for Amber alerts in other regions before. When my phone starts screaming about something that happened 1 hour ago 800 miles away, screw the license plate number, I need the flight number.

I have no problem with the alerts in theory - its the implementation that's completely botched. Every other notification on my phone allows uses the volume controls in the notification settings. This one does not. It blares regardless. After going off in a business meeting, then a second one at 3am, I disabled them.

If there were a way to get them with only vibration notification, I would turn them back on. But I'm yet to find that option in any OEM device (some custom ROMs allow it, but I'm not using those at this time).

This. Received my first one in the middle of the night, boomsound speakers blaring. I thought my building was on fire. And my phone was on silent! This is going to piss a lot of people off when it goes off in a meeting, funeral, church, class, court, theater etc. I get that they want to push out emergency notifications but it should at least adhere to the volumes you have set.

I generally agree with you, but in the case of something like a tornado alert, I think that having the alert sound wherever you are and however your volumes are set, is a good thing, so that you can take appropriate action immediately.

If it's too annoying for others to be advised a tornado is imminent, they are on their own.

A girl in Maryland went missing last week. Around 11:30 or so, I was in the middle of class when everyone's phones let out that annoyingly loud siren. Professor went ape-sh*t. He has a strict no-cell phone policy and thought we did it as a joke lol. Had to explain to him that it was an Amber alert and that our phones do it automatically even if they are on silent.

Of course, him being the dinosaur that he is, with his dinosaur cell phone, he didn't understand it right away until after we pleaded with him for 5 minutes.

I disabled my alerts since then, but I might turn them back on because of this article.

Posted via Android Central App

Same here. I live in MD, my friend's phone (Samsung Galaxy) went off during the most important test of the school year (MSA). It was hilarious.

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

Lol! thats funny. I remember those MSA days. I hated them. I surprised they don't make you guys turn off your phones all together now

Well, on the first day of testing our teacher told everyone to turn their phones off, but on that day my teacher lost her voice and forgot.

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

And that evening, they decided to light up every phone in West Virginia with that alert, even though there appeared to be no cause to believe they were headed in this direction. All of the phones in our newsroom went nuts — except mine. That's why I have my Amber alerts disabled, but the higher levels remain on.

I believe the girl in this case was found (unharmed) in South Carolina. Therefore, what was the point in alerting people in the area when the perpetrator had fled?

I prefer the highway sign notifications, at least there's a chance that I would see the vehicle while I'm on the road.

And with the highway sign notifications, I don't have to pick up my phone while I'm driving(!) in order to read the details of the alert.

I have a question...
Can you receive a Amber Alert/Emergency Alerts if you have a unlocked phone thats not on one of the major US carriers? (Example: Nexus 5 from Google Play on Straight Talk.)

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

Not necessarily.

If you bought your phone over seas, or bought a model that was originally destined for a non US market, there will probably be nothing on the phone to get these messages.
My international model HTC One X has no such capability (far east market). My Wife's Moto X does have it.

I've got a UK news Nexus 5 and it has an option for AMBER alerts. I've never got any emergency alerts through my phone though.

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Yes, you should I had a nexus 4 unlocked and I got some amber alerts as well and I was on prepaid tmobile at the time. I think as long your using a network in America it will work.

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Got an AMBER alert last week. Nexus 5 using Straight Talk (AT&T SIM). So, yes, it definitely works.

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah I believe so, but the mechanism is in place if other countries want to implement it. The problem there is who is going to do it? Carriers? What if it is carrier free?

It needs to be more of a governmental alert system rather than so US specific

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You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you

I had to turn off Amber alerts. Call me insensitive, but they are like the boy that cried wolf. I got one in the middle of the night. Over 200 miles away. Some child 'abducted' by a family member. Am I going to go out in the middle of the night and ride up and down the highway just in case? Then a couple of months later, same thing, only more like 400 miles away. Family member didn't return a child. I get a wake up tone in the middle of the night. In both cases the parent did eventually return the child. Sorry, no more alerts. Why would you need to send 'instant' notifications to everybody 7 hours away?

This is the thing. I live in Phoenix, AZ. A couple weeks ago we got a series of several of the same alert for a child apparently with a non-custodial parent... in Buckeye, AZ. It's basically an hour away. I was woken at about 2 am after less than 3 hours sleep, and couldn't get back to sleep. Does everyone with a cell phone an hour away need to be woken up for that? How many people lost sleep and were killed or injured in accidents as a result? I turned off the alerts, with some regret. If the alerts respected my notification settings, it would be fine, probably.

That's why I keep saying that the alerts need to be more "subdued" and they need to respect your "silence" settings. It does nobody any good to make the system so obnoxious that everyone ends up just turning it off.

the thing i hate about these Amber alerts is that most of them are a parent "stealing" a child from another parent. i consider that a domestic dispute that's none of my business or concern.

Agreed. Until they can get these alerts fixed, they are virtually useless. Although a great overall idea. I get weather alerts for areas 3 states away, amber alerts for areas HUNDREDS of miles away and I see this as another thing that the government can't seem to get right. GO FIGURE.

Happened to me a couple weeks ago in San Jose, CA. My phone and someone else's in the office. Interestingly, Sprint phones, and phones of same make model, Did not go off.

More frightening than annoying. I immediately jumped up in my chair, literally, and almost hit the deck right afterward in case of gun fire.

I appreciate the heads up with AMBER alerts. At least the user can opt put of them. I just wish I can change the notification settings.

Posted via Telepathy, Android version HAL 9000 "Carne Asada"

"I appreciate the heads up with AMBER alerts. At least the user can opt put of them. I just wish I can change the notification settings."
This.

So nobody noticed the older version of Sense running on the HTC One (a version that has never been on it) in this picture lol.

Can't find them on my AT&T HTC One either, wonder if they have them disabled for some reason or just won't allow you to change them. According to a number of things I've found (including a step by step walk through with images for the Sprint HTC One) there should be an Emergency Alerts option in the Settings menu on the stock Messages app, but I don't see that.

I have an AT&T HTC One, as well, and AT&T doesn't list it as being compatible, even though it is in all the other carriers. That said, at work last week we got a severe weather alert and my co-workers iPhone 5 along with a company phone went off with the siren alert and I simultaneously got a text message with the same alert info, but blaring siren sound.

Anyone knows where exactly is this setting on SGS3 I9300 ?
I've tried looking at the settings of the messaging app, but I can't find it there...

I know this is off topic but in the picture it seems you show an HTC ONE running an older version of Sense. Is that so or am I missing something?

-Showking

The short version is I knew I had that old screenshot and could have sworn I got that notification when I was testing the VZW HTC One. Turns out it was the Droid DNA a few months before that.

Whoops.

In other news, the weather's been fine here. :)

I wish there was a setting to have them read to you if you have in headphones. I heard the alert but didn't know what it was the other day cause I was on my motorcycle. Turned out it was a tornado warning a few miles away, and that could've gone badly.

Not sure if these alerts will work with tasker, but that's what I use. I have a profile set so if my screen is off, it reads the senders name out loud, and then if I'm on my headphones it will also read the contents.

I'm sorry, but I do not like the idea of "alerts" being forced on me by the government, carrier or otherwise.
If I want an alert, I'll download an app that does it. I've got an older (GT-N7000) phone that doesn't have that
"feature", but I've got a weather app that does the weather alerts (I live in tornado alley). The presidential alerts
really bother me...and it doesn't have to do with the current or former occupant of the white house either.
It amazes me, the number of people who are willing to give up freedom, in the so called name of "security".
How did we as a species, manage to live as long as we have, without the government sending us messages
about this or that?
Hey, if you want the government sending you amber alerts, weather alerts, presidential alerts, that's your business,
but it should be VOLUNTARY, not forced on you by the carrier/manufacturer/government.

Please...how have you given up "freedom"? These alerts have been on TV and radio your entire life. Never heard anyone complain about their "freedom" then. Or complain about the tornado siren. Or the nuke sirens in the 1950's. So how come now it's an issue? Don't like it, use a feature phone. Or no cell. There are options. For the same reason that you say "How did we as a species mange to live without the government sending you messages" I can counter with how did we as a species manage to live without a cell phone. A smart phone is optional. And there are even older version of Android that don't have alerts built in. So again, you have options. No freedom is being compromised. Not even close.

Who watches TV? I don't. But I need my phone for daily living. That's how.

And seeing as how I don't have this "feature" on my phone, and won't as long as I can root and ROM a phone, I don't have to live with your simplistic, condescending "Don't like it, get out! 'Merica!" mentality.

I've had my android for a year and a half and have never received an alert of any kind.

Posted via Android Central App

Does this work outside the US for a Nexus phone bought from the US PlayStore? Is it carrier dependent?

Posted via Android Central App

They come from specific cell towers in an area designated by the alert, so you will not receive them unless your phone is currently connected to a tower in the affected area.

Every alert I have EVER gotten has been a total waste or completely inaccurate. I turned it all off.

I hate to be judgmental about people or situations HOWEVER, Reading some if the ignorance above I will. Most of you probably have never dealt with or seen the affect of losing a child to something tragic and monstrous such as a child being kidnapped and later being murdered. And I pray that none of you will. I have dealt with the criminals that have taken children and done horrible things to them. The Amber alert system on a cell phone system is probably one of the most effective ways to get emergency information to people who are in public places such as a convenience store or on the road. I received my 1st amber alert week before last. it was a child who was kidnapped from Orange Va and was later found on the Eastern shore of Va. approximately 200 miles away . I do not know if it was because of the alert on a cell phone, but she was found because of the systems that are in place. Looking at some these post, I see a lot of you don't want to be inconvenienced by a short annoying sound that can save a person's life. and its probably the same people who think freedom is free. Your are probably the same people who will forward lame jokes or naked pictures to your friends. Everything comes at a cost in this life and country and it appears here that there are some selfish people in this world. I hope and pray you never experience the lost of a child or a lost of child that could have be stopped, had a person had their alerts on or even paid attention to it. There is no better reward life than to be a service to your fellow man or woman. Saving your fellow neighbor from a tragedy is one of best things you will ever experience in life.

I agree. I just want the option to choose how I get notified.

Posted via Telepathy, Android version HAL 9000 "Carne Asada"

I question how effective it is. I got an AMBER alert today. I freaked out at the noise, saw what it was, and turned it off. Then I thought, "Wait, what did that say? What kind of car was it?" There was no notification. I couldn't see how to get the message back to more carefully read the thing. The sound is too obnoxious to be effective--it's its own worst enemy. As we see here, users just want to make it stop so they either turn it off completely or, like me, miss the message as they try to JUST MAKE IT STOP! It's a shame because it could be a valuable tool, it's just poorly done.

You could have the system in place, and have it be *far* more effective, if you didn't try and ram the alerts down everyone's ears. It's not a matter of being "inconvenienced" it's a matter of having *zero* control. There is no reason for an AMBER alert to go off full-blast with the most obnoxious sound they could find. If people received AMBER alerts like they did a text message, they would be a lot more receptive to actually reading the alert and being informed so that the could help.

Having the phone "scream" at me is not going to make me more informed. Especially when it goes off in the middle of a meeting or in the middle of the night. The system is a great idea, but you can't make the options "full-volume hell" or "nothing" and expect people not to choose "nothing".

I work at a university, and we can opt in to the campus' automated text-message alert system. It's nice because the alert is a text message, so the alert sound can be the same as any other text message. Or you can Customize it (in your phone's own settings) so it can be a different tone whenever a message arrives from the university's alert system. And since it's a text message, you can refer back to it and read it again if you need to.

The only drawback to our campus alert system is that they send out an alert every time there's a "severe thunderstorm" warning from the National Weather Service for our general area. I live in NC, and in the summer we get a thunderstorm almost every evening. So it gets a little annoying sometimes.

If our campus-wide alerts were as loud and intrusive as the emergency/amber/etc alerts, I would have opted out from them a long time ago. -- And I would have missed a "Stay Indoors & lockdown" alert about an Armed Man running across campus (we found out later he had been just outside our building)!! He was eventually apprehended and arrested for shooting & killing someone in a house nearby just off campus. Apparently he had been just outside our building at one point - i.e hiding from police just after he shot & killed someone. I assume he was prepared to do anything (shoot more people) not to get caught.

You're exactly right, and that's the problem: you have be careful that the system doesn't cross the lines from useful to intrusive to obnoxious.

Again, let's be clear: for most people it has nothing to do with the content of the message, but the way the message arrives. The "think of the children" crowd, including you, have unwittingly set up an incentive for people to never see it and never help. In the rare case it's not a spousal custody dispute, the message is usually cryptic and uninformative, sent out hours too late to help, arrives with a strong disincentive to ever see the message, and should you dismiss it, disappears without any way of seeing it again. If it arrived like a regular alert but at the top of my notifications tray, with a regular sound, with the ability to click on it to get more info, then I'd happily open my arms to the message. Instead, I get a heart-attack inducing sound, coupled with a message like "AMBER ALERT UPDATE LIC SOMEPLATE/ST SLV SDN" and should I try to silence the phone, the message vanishes without any ability to see it again or decipher it. No, sorry dude, you and the rest of the think-of-the-children people are your own worst enemy and rightly deserve to be ignored.

But if the alarm is so loud and potentially disruptive (e.g., at the workplace, at school, or when sleeping) and people just end up disabling the alert all together, then where's the usefulness of having the alert system in the first place? The whole point of the AMBER Alert system is to get the word out quickly to as Many people as possible. If many people decide to opt out of getting the alert, then it doesn't matter how quickly they word goes out, if nobody hears it. (The same goes for all of the other alarms).

It's like working in a building where the fire alarm keeps going off for no reason, which I've personally experienced in the past. Eventually people don't even leave the building when the fire alarm goes off. And then what's the point of having the fire alarm system in the first place?

In the case of a building where the fire alarms keep going off, it turns out that's just as much of a fire code violation as a fire alarm that doesn't work at all. So even the fire department knows when an alarm system is working in a way that causes people to just ignore it (or turn it off completely), then the system isn't helping the people its supposed to help.

Pretty disgusting reading a few comments. Its a safety alert you jerks, if it was your child you would be thankful for this system.

Posted via Android Central App

Sadly, most of my fellow Americans want the benefits of being a part of a society without feeling they have any obligation to the members of that society.

Thanks oh so very much for your obviously fake care for my nonexistent children. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that you're sitting up watching your phone for Amber Alerts 500 miles away from you. You rock!

Coincidentally I got my first amber alert today. Scared me for a minute. With all that is going on with Russia these days I thought the nukes might be airborne! They must send these out in waves so not to overload things. It was at least 15-20 minutes before my partner got his and he was sitting right next to me. Geez..in a tornado situation that time difference could be a life and death matter. Not good.

Posted via Android Central App

What could be more annoying is Silver Alerts down here in Heaven's Waiting Room aka Florida. We get about 2 a week and most of the time its just an elderly person looking for personal time. It washes out the seriousness of Amber Alerts. Which is why New York does not participate in the Silver Alert program.

Posted via Android Central App

I got an Amber alert today. I am happy to receive them. But if I wanted to turn them off, where would I find the setting on the best phone of 2013--that is, the HTC One. ;) I cannot find the setting.

Posted via Android Central App

I've had mine go off for a weather alert during a pretty serious tornado outbreak. I didn't know my phone did it automatically. It's nice to know my phone has that feature.

Dig through ATT site and look for WEA and they will give you a list of their phones that handle it. I was suprised at how short the list was. No wonder my LG Optimus G (before they dropped the Optimus brand name) didn't scream along with everyone else in the office. No WEA on the older iPhones either, just the latest 4 and 5 versions.

I agree that the alerts should be left on and that they serve a good purpose, but the people sending the alerts need to manage them better.

I've gotten one alert for a tornado warning in Baltimore, MD even though I was in Sterling, VA at the time and hadn't even been near Baltimore for 7 or 8 months.

As for the AMBER alerts, I've gotten alerts for 2 separate incidents. The first, I got one alert around 2 in the afternoon, another around 5, and then another 14 in the two hour span between 8 and 10pm. The whole time, I was sitting at home, and the info in the alert never changed. The second, I only got a single alert. That first incident nearly made me turn off AMBER alerts and I'm sure that there were plenty of people who *did* turn it off. When they drive people nuts with the alerts and it gets turned off, it defeats the whole purpose of the alert system.

Absolutely. If I'm snug in my bed at home, I don't need to be woken at 3am to warn me about flash floods in another part of town. It reminds me of the story of the boy who cried wolf.

I haven't had my smartphone for long, so now I'm looking at these settings. I can tell you a bunch of people's phones getting a tornado alert in the middle of church service was how we knew how to take cover in the middle of a deadly tornado.

I recieved an alert for an alleged kidnapping in downtown LA. However, I live 200 miles away from LA!

Posted via Android Central App

Turning off amber alerts is one of the first things I do when I get a new phone. I keep the other ones on, though

Disabled the AMBER alert notifications but left the other severe/extreme alerts on. I get notifications for amber alerts through a texting service provided by my local news channel. No need to have it blaring at me as I regularly check my phone regardless

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The loss of freedoms in this country is staggering, but the "ah, who cares" attitude is more than troubling. It is your phone and you deserve the right to turn these alerts on or off.

I'm annoyed that I have to pay any money to get these alerts shoved down my throat. I don't care if you think they are important. I don't need to hear any alerts and I absolutely don't want to hear presidential alerts. I don't care what Obama wants to tell me and it infuriates me to no end that I am forced to even receive them.

You can't disable alerts in galaxy s4 in same spot in kit kat. It's somewhere else...there's an app called emergency alerts. There you will find the federal government shoving their notices down your throat. You'll also notice that if you read the statute, the fcc has a provision to review whether consumers (read "idiots" like you and me according to the nanny state fed government ) should even have the option to disable any alerts including amber alerts. What's not clear to me is if that 2 year review is after the system was implemented in 2012 or when the act was passed in 2006. I'm hoping it's the later.

I can't believe people actually think this stuff being forced down your throat is is a good idea.

Thanks for wakng me up at 2 am for a flash flood watch for the town 30 miles away! My life was in danger…

I just found this in my mobile network setting on my D821 Nexus 5 and, at first, I was thinking "What the hell is that?" Now I'm thinking "Why is it there?" It's not that it's not a good idea, it's probably the best way to get information to a lot of people quickly. However, I don't see why a American feature is on my New Zealand phone

For certain phones, like the Galaxy Note 3, they come through a dedicated Emergency Alerts app, which is where you would need to change your alert settings. Presidential alerts, no matter what your political bent, are not able to be disabled without rooting the device.

http://bit.ly/11m1fhE