By default, your iPhone is set to receive AMBER and other kinds of emergency government alerts.

AMBER — America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response — and other kinds of emergency government alerts come in via the same Notification Center system as your other iPhone alerts, like iMessage and Calendar. Depending on the nature of the alert, which can include child abductions and impending natural disasters, it's a great feature that can prevent injury and save lives. Many lives. So, by their nature, these alerts don't respect Do Not Disturb settings. They NEED to get through.

That can shock you, however, especially if they happen when you're sleeping, driving, or otherwise indisposed. That's why, ultimately, AMBER and other alerts work at your discretion.

How to enable or disable AMBER and Government Alerts on your iPhone

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Notification Center and scroll all the way to the bottom.
  3. Under the Government Alerts section, toggle the AMBER Alerts or Government Alerts option on or off to enable or disable them.

Turning off AMBER and other alerts can cost lives, including yours. If a natural disaster is coming your way, and you don't know about it, you have no way to save your life or the life of your family. That they're loud, even shocking, is the point.

They're meant to get your attention, instantly — and big, loud, and noisy is the way to do that.

So, you can disable them, but you shouldn't. Not unless you have some other way to be reliably alerted about emergencies.

If you received an AMBER or other emergency alert on your iPhone, what did you think of it? Was it helpful? Was it scary? Are you leaving them turned on? Let me know in the comments!