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Loud, Late Night Amber Alert Rattles iPhone Users: How to Change Settings

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

An Amber Alert issued late yesterday evening was a wake-up call to many iPhone users in Texas.

An alert was issued close to 10:45 last night for abducted children in San Angelo, Texas, 200 miles northwest of Austin. An Amber Alert was then sent to iPhone users in Austin – which was announced with a loud, jarring tone. 

The alert sent many iPhone users to Twitter to register their shock. Here’s some tweets from the Austin area:

It was the first Amber Alert many Texans had received on their iPhones. An automatic iPhone update AT&T recently issued for the iPhone 4s and 5 includes notification options for three types of messages:

  • Presidential alerts: The highest level of alert category, reserved only for truly catastrophic, world-threatening situations. Thankfully, no presidential alert has ever been issued.
  • Emergency alerts: Notifications issued in time of extreme weather, natural disasters or man-made emergencies.
  • Amber Alerts: Messages regarding missing and abducted children, targeted by area.

By default, AT&T’s update has users receiving all alerts. iPhone users can turn off Amber Alerts and emergency alerts by changing their Notifications settings. (Presidential alerts cannot be turned off.)
And by the way: the Amber Alert was canceled soon after it was issued, with the children found safe

Editor's Note: This post has been clarified to state the "Government Alert" notifications only appear on iPhone 4s and 5 models.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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