How to Get AMBER Alerts on Your Android

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You probably often get emergency alerts on your phone—someone’s missing, or your area is likely to experience severe weather conditions. US carriers work with the federal government to push alerts about important matters to your Android smartphone so that they save your life or someone else’s.

Types of emergency alerts

The main types of emergency alerts are:

Extreme threats

These are alerts about an impending catastrophic weather event like a tornado, hurricane, or tsunami, which poses a threat to your life or property.

Presidential alerts

They fall under extreme threats and are issued directly by the President of the United States or their office.

Severe threats

These are similar to extreme threats but are of lesser intensity. These alerts convey there’s a reason to stay safe but not to take extreme measures such as evacuation.

AMBER alerts

AMBER alerts are a type of emergency alert specifically meant to locate missing children. While technically, AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, these alerts were named after the kidnapping and death of the 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in 1996. AMBER alerts provide as much information as the authorities have, give you the location of the alert, and often a vehicle description including a license plate number.

What does an AMBER alert sound like?

An AMBER alert is loud and annoying, more so if you have a phone with good speakers. When an alert is issued, your phone also vibrates. However, some phones let you switch off vibration.

How you can get AMBER alerts on your phone

While you don’t have a choice when it comes to receiving presidential alerts, you can choose whether you want to receive other types of alerts. It’s recommended that you leave them on, so the information can help you or someone else during dangerous times.

The settings to tweak these alerts are usually found under the category of Emergency Alerts or Cell Broadcasts. To look for this option, open your settings, and if you have a search function, type “emergency” or “broadcasts.” The phone will present you with options immediately. If your phone doesn’t have a search function, look under your display, notification, or sound settings. 

These emergency alerts can keep you and others safe.

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