Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to ATT iPhone Customers

Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to ATT iPhone Customersphoto courtesy of blog.chron.com

AT&T has been rolling out Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for some time. The service is now being added to iPhone 4s and 5 phones through an over the air update. The alerts are sent via free messages and are issued according to geographic location. The alerts focus on messages of threats to life and property, amber alerts, and alerts from the president. I assume most of the threat alerts will be weather and natural disaster related. Amber alerts are obviously for abducted children in the area, but what exactly are presidential updates?

When an alert arrives, it will be 90 characters or less, accompanied by a “unique attention signal”, and it will have a vibration cadence. Judie already has this service on her Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4, and she said that the first time an Amber alert went off, it startled her because she had no idea what was happening. I have read that the tone is similar to the old emergency broadcast system that used to come over the television.

Helpful alerts can be great in some situations from the government, but I suspect there will be many who are against being forced to have the alerts as a default. I actually have similar alerts already pushing on my phone through third-party apps. Luckily for those who do not want to hear the alerts, there is a toggle to turn them off. The point that will bring some debate is the fact that presidential alerts may not be turned off. Whether you like the current administration or not, I can see this being a point of discussion for supporters as well as detractors.

Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to ATT iPhone Customers

So what do you think? Are the alerts fine and dandy? Is the fact that the president now has a portal to send messages unsolicited a problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of Kool-Aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.

3 Comments on "Wireless Emergency Alerts Coming to ATT iPhone Customers"

  1. These are typically good things to have. For example, if you aren’t a weather nut and don’t have a weather app to get you alerts installed on your phone, then this should work regardless of what you have installed on the phone. The only thign I have discovered is sometimes the other apps are faster. For example, for anything Severe Thunderstorm Watch or above the Red Cross Tornado app worked the best for me.

    My Android has has these alerts for a while and it is a government mandate for them to be on all phones. At least the mandate allows you to silence them.

    Also, they are fine as long as they still have the sirens for tornado warnings…..those sirens should never be disabled. What if people do not have a phone with them?

    Any way that we can notify the public to take shelter is a good thing.

  2. Even though they are jarring and slightly invasive, if there is a chance that the information will help me or possibly save a child, I have no problem with getting alerts.

    As for presidential alerts, so long as I don’t start getting inappropriate spam (!Donate to the _____ PAC!), I wouldn’t mind getting reminders to vote for national or state elections . I’m not sure what else any president (or other government entity) might want to remind or alert me of. =)

  3. TMEhrlich | June 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

    I too don’t have a problem with Amber Alerts and Weather warnings. I would turn off presidential alerts if i could. I am not a fan of the president pushing anything to my phone. The fact that i cannot turn that off really chaps my butt.

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