Amber Alert on iPhone: What You Need to Know

One of the first iPhone Amber Alerts hit phones in San Antonio today, sounding loud urgent alarms on any iPhone running iOS 6 within the location of the Amber alert.

If you heard the loud, slightly annoying, sound on your iPhone, don’t freak out. The Wireless Amber Alert system is shutting down at the end of the year and the iPhone, Android and other smartphones will now act as emergency alert systems for Amber alerts and other national emergencies.

The great part about this new system is it knows where the phone is located and sends the Amber Alert to any phone connected to a tower in that area, even if it’s a phone tied to a town thousands of miles away.

Read: iOS 6 Delivers Emergency Alerts to iPhone Users

Amber Alert iPhone Dallas


This is all thanks to the new Emergency Alert System built into the cellular networks across the U.S. The system uses broadcast SMS to send massive amount of alerts out at once, something that’s not easy to do with standard text messages.  Verizon provided an in depth look at the Emergency Alert System to Gotta Be Mobile before the system launched that explains more about why and how it was set up.

Read: Why AT&T iPhone Users Don’t Get Emergency Alerts

The Amber Alerts cover lost or missing children, and the Emergency Alerts include weather emergencies like flooding, hurricanes and more. It’s great to see this system in place since many users are not near a TV or radio during times of emergency.

Emergency Alert iPhone Amber Alert

The Amber Alert on the iPhone will look similar to this.

The Amber Alerts are location aware, so if you didn’t get a notification you may be too far away from the emergency or Amber Alert. If you are in the area and your iPhone did not get the Amber Alert there are two things to check.

If the iPhone is not running iOS 6 or higher the emergency alerts will not work. IOS 6 is a free update for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Here’s how to update to iOS 6, which will automatically install the latest version iOS 6.0.2.

iOS 6 iPhone Amber Alerts

Turn on Amber Alert for iPhone.


The next step is to make sure Emergency Alerts and Amber Alerts are turned on. To do this tap on Settings -> Notifications -> scroll to the bottom and Toggle On.

This is also where users can turn off the notifications, though we recommend leaving them on to get important updates that could save their life or someone else’.

Why Are There no Amber Alerts on AT&T iPhones?

Some AT&T customers report no option to change these settings. The AT&T Emergency Alert page doesn’t show support for the iPhone, so users may need to wait for support.

Stay tuned for more on AT&T and Amber Alerts on the iPhone.