First National UK Emergency Alerts Test Set for Today, But iPhones Won't Be Included in Testing Until Next Week

The U.K. government on Tuesday will perform its first national test of a new Emergency Alerts system, but only Android users will receive the alert, with iPhones to be included in a smaller, regional test later this month, the Cabinet Office has confirmed to MacRumors.

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The government-issued emergency alerts, set to go live this summer, are part of a public safety system similar to one used in the U.S. that is designed to warn smartphone and tablet users if there's a danger to life nearby, with advice about how to stay safe. Alerts will be either national or localized depending on the threat level, and will be sent in cases of severe flooding, fires, explosions, terrorist incidents, and public health emergencies.

When an alert arrives, your phone or tablet may make a loud siren-like sound, even if it's set to silent, vibrate, or read out the alert. When an alert is received, the sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds, and some alerts may include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.

On Tuesday, the government and mobile phone networks are due to test the emergency alerts nationally for the first time, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. local time. The first test will occur for Android devices only, while iPhones will be included in a test for the first time on Tuesday, 29 June, although the test will be localized in the Reading, Berkshire area.

Users can opt out of some emergency alerts, but not the most serious ones, says the U.K. government. Users can't opt out by subject, only by how serious the emergency is. If you opt out because you do not want flood warnings, for example, you might miss alerts for fires and terrorism. For this reason, the official advice is to keep emergency alerts switched on.

Emergency alerts work on iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later. The ability to opt-out appears on iPhones in Settings -> Notifications, under "Emergency Alerts," where there's a switch to disable "Severe Alerts."

Update: the U.K. government website has now been updated to clarify iPhone inclusion in the June 29 test.

Top Rated Comments

Unggoy Murderer Avatar
13 weeks ago

Who remembers the fake missile attack warning in Hawaii? THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Reminds me of this:

Original creator: on Reddit ('https://www.reddit.com/r/ProgrammerHumor/comments/7qrej8/real_screenshot_from_hawaii_warning_system_actual/')

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Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reason077 Avatar
13 weeks ago
Who remembers the fake missile attack warning in Hawaii? THIS IS NOT A DRILL!



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Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Khedron Avatar
13 weeks ago

Did you read the article?
Or even the last three words of the headline
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlexisV Avatar
13 weeks ago
With the amount of faffing and confusion from the buffoon apparently running the country, I wouldn't be surprised to receive a flood warning telling me to get to lower ground. Before an imminent terrorist attack.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JUiCEJamie Avatar
13 weeks ago
Being from the UK; it's nice to see us getting on board with these alerts.

One extra alert every now and again isn't going to break the camels back is it - not with the sheer amount of other notifications we receive each day.

I was travelling in Canada once, and I received a notification about a child abduction in a city I was driving through. After speaking to a few locals in a bar later that night and doing some local news research, turns out the person at large was caught!!

I'm here for this!

[EDIT] Here's the Gov.uk release about this - https://www.gov.uk/alerts
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HacKage Avatar
13 weeks ago

I support these if they are provided by each countries government. I don't give a monkeys if there is a ballistic missile heading for London, or some Londoner is on a rampage killing other Londoners for whatever daft reason, that doesn't affect me in the slightest. I care about my own country. And even still, it should be opt in. When Covid started we were bombarded with notifications from both the Scottish government and then the English government repeating the same messages and sending out unsolicited text messages that they have still to apologise for nor have someone take responsibility with repercussions.
If a ballistic missile was to hit London today it would have very real consequences for me in Glasgow, regardless of whether there is a hard or soft border between us and England. I could have family, friends, business colleagues in the immediate vicinity, or it could be that the whole United Kingdom will probably be going to war which would have a massive affect on the whole country.

You are just coming across as petty. The Uk Gov failing to apologise for sending messages at the height of worldwide pandemic that's killed thousands of people in Scotland, and you want repercussions?!

Gie's peace!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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