How to turn on critical alerts in iOS 12

New in iOS 12 is a feature called "Critical Alerts". Apple describes it as a "new type of opt-in alert for important information, like reports from a healthcare provider, which you'll receive even during Do Not Disturb".

Not every app has the ability to issue a critical alert. Instead, third-party app makers must apply to Apple for permission to include the feature in their app. Apple plans to allow only those apps related to public safety, security, and medical/health to make use of a critical alert setting.

My spouse called me today to tell me that she had accidentally triggered our house alarm. I was driving at the time—with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. It would have been nice if the house alarm app on my iPhone had been able to break through Do Not Disturb and alert me that the alarm had been triggered. But alas, the app has not yet been updated.

Enabling Critical Alerts

You may have an app on your iPhone that can take advantage of this new feature. If so, you were already notified about it. The first time you launch an app that supports critical alerts it will display a sheet to allow you to turn on the feature.

You can also turn the feature on and off for each app whenever you like through its Notifications settings. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Notifications.

  1. Tap the app you want to work with.
  2. Tap the switch for Allow Critical Alerts to turn the feature on or off.

Let's get the ball rolling

At the moment, the number of apps that support this feature are few and far between. I've already contacted developers of apps that I'm using for my home alarm, water leak sensor, and smoke/CO2 alarms requesting they add this feature. Can you think of others, such as blood glucose monitoring? Let us know in the comments below...and make those feature requests!

Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews is a writer at He has used Apple products all the way back to the Apple II+. He appreciates no longer having to launch apps by loading them from a cassette tape recorder.