AT&T has started rolling out a software update that includes Wireless Emergency Alerts to all of its U.S. customers that have an iPhone 5 or 4S. This means that anytime there is a government-issued safety announcement, like AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts – such as man-made or natural disasters, and Presidential alerts, a message will pop up on users iPhones explaining what’s happening. Once you install this update, your phone will be able to receive these alerts, which are issued by the government.
Wireless emergency alerts update to the iPhone customers from AT&T is very helpful for getting information out to people who aren’t immediately tuned into a television or radio. You may turn off alerts (except for Presidential alerts) if you choose, in the iPhone’s settings, under notifications.
When the software update is delivered to your phone, you will see a message that states “Carrier Settings Update: new settings required for your device have been installed” — this update should appear on iPhones automatically. Your iPhone 5 or 4S will receive all Wireless Emergency Alerts by default after getting new software update.
The update will only be sent over-the-air to users with iOS 6.1 or higher. Those users with an iPhone 5 or 4S but not on iOS 6.1 or higher will get the update when they plug their device into iTunes.
AT&T wrote in a blog post, ” While the software update is mandatory, you are not charged for the data to deliver it and Wireless Emergency Alerts will never count against your messaging plan.”
These alerts are geographically targeted, so, for example, users in Florida won’t get messages about North Dakota.