Your iPhone is set up by default to receive AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response) Alerts and other kinds of emergency government alerts via Notification Center. Apple has worked with carriers to provide government alerts, including AMBER and other emergency notifications, in the U.S. and other countries. Depending on the nature of the alert, which can include child abductions and impending natural disasters, it's a great feature that can save a life, or many lives, not to mention prevent injury and property damage. By their nature, however, these alerts don't respect Do Not Disturb settings which can make them rather alarming if they happen when you're asleep, driving, or otherwise indisposed. That's why you have the option to use them at your discretion. Here's how AMBER and emergency alerts on the iPhone work!

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.

AMBER Alerts on your iPhone: What they are and how to manage them

We highly recommend not disabling either of these alerts since they can save your life and the lives of those around you if disaster were to strike. Unfortunately, there's no way to customize the alerts to be less shocking. They're meant to get your attention, instantly — and big, loud, and noisy is the proper way to do that. If there's a tornado coming your way, you want to know about it.

We've had mixed reports of vibrate mode or Do Not Disturb mode muffling the emergency alerts, but don't believe that's the case. Emergency alerts are designed to be heard.

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!

Note: This article has been updated for iOS 7.