How To View Emergency Alerts On An iPhone

Emergency Alerts on an iPhone alert the user to important events, news, and extreme weather conditions which may pose a threat to life, or even just major inconvenience. However, as with all notifications, you may accidentally miss an Emergency Alert, or dismiss it without first reading it properly. 

To learn how to find and view Emergency Alerts on an iPhone, just follow our step-by-step tutorial below. For all other information, or if you have further questions you’d like answered, please see our FAQ section at the end of this article.

How to view emergency alerts on an iPhone (Notification Center)

  1. From the locked screen, swipe up from the center of the screen
    1. Alternatively: From any other screen, swipe down from the top of the screen
  2. This action reveals your Notification Center, where you can view all recent and historic notifications, even the ones you’ve missed
  3. At the top of the Notification Center, you’ll see three menus: ‘Today’, ‘All’, and ‘Missed’
  4. Tap ‘Missed’ to take you to the notifications you think you’ve missed, and scroll through to see if the emergency alert is there
  5. Alternatively, tap ‘All’ and you should find your emergency alert there
  6. To open and thus view the emergency alert fully, tap on the relevant notification 

And that’s all there is to viewing emergency alerts on an iPhone. If you still have further questions, or would like more information on the subject, simply check out our FAQs below.


What are iPhone emergency alerts?

iPhone emergency alerts are notification messages which are sent to all iPhones (and other types of phones) by your nation’s government at times of emergency. Typically, emergency alerts are also localized. For example, if you live in Texas, you’re unlikely to receive an emergency alert concerning a storm off the coast of California, but you most certainly would receive the warning if you lived in California. If you have a SIM card registered to one state, but have now moved, you might still receive emergency alerts for the origin state.

Emergency alerts pop up in the notification center of your iPhone so that they are the first thing you see when you go to unlock your phone or view the screen. When emergency alerts come through, they are typically accompanied by a vibration and a sound alert similar to an alarm (thus distinguishing the notification/alert from a regular message or incoming phone call).

The full list of emergency alerts you can be sent by the government to your iPhone is as follows:

  • Alerts issued by your country or region’s government
  • Alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life
  • Alerts for extreme weather conditions
  • AMBER alerts (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response)
  • Public Safety Alerts

Note: The last two bullet points on that list are specific to America (USA) and may not be available outside the country.

What should I do if I get an emergency alert on my iPhone?

When you receive an emergency alert on an iPhone, the alert will almost always be accompanied with a short but clear piece of advice on how to act and what to do in light of the emergency. For example, this is a previous emergency alert pertaining to extreme weather conditions in a US state:

“Flash Flood Warning this area til 3:00AM EDT [time zone]. Avoid flood areas. Check local media.”

In this specific warning, the advice is to stay away from areas prone to flooding in your area, and to keep up to date with the situation via your local media outlets, be they online papers, television, or radio news updates. 

If you receive an emergency alert that you feel offers insufficient advice, and you are worried or scared and not sure what to do, then you should check local news media, stay indoors, and speak with friends, family, or the emergency services. 

Can I turn emergency alerts off on my iPhone?

You can turn off emergency alerts on your iPhone if you so wish. To do so, simply head to your Settings app, and then your Notifications settings. Scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the Notifications settings page, and you’ll find ‘Emergency Alerts’. To turn them OFF, simply tap the toggle button to the right of ‘Emergency Alerts’ to turn it from green (ON) to gray (OFF). You can turn emergency alerts back on by repeating the process.

Should I turn emergency alerts off on my iPhone?

The question of whether you should turn your emergency alerts off is a difficult one for us to answer. The power to do so lies in your hands, and so if you feel like it’s important for you to do so for your own reasons, then by all means go ahead. What we will say is that Emergency Alerts are sent fairly infrequently, and pertain to serious events which may pose a threat to you and/or your loved ones. Thus, to turn them off may mean that you miss an important warning and thus inadvertently put yourself at greater risk than necessary.

Are emergency alerts on iPhone available in my country?

Not all countries around the world offer an emergency alert service, and even those which don’t necessarily have cause (thankfully) to use it nearly ever, especially when compared to countries like America and Japan where natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes are a common part of life.

Depending on where in the world you live, and depending on your SIM provider, you may or may not have ever received or ever will receive an emergency alert on your iPhone. For example, emergency alerts are something which the UK government is only just considering putting into effect, whereas emergency alerts sent to your iPhone have been a part of life in the USA for years.