Got my first Emergency Alert on VzW iPhone 5

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by smithrh, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Otherwise known as CMAS... This was for a Tornado Warning.

    It sounds like the tone you hear on TV when there's a test or warning, except that the tone cycles on and off about 5-7 times. It's fairly distinctive.

    The alert is was displayed on the phone much the way notifications used to be shown (rounded edge box with text inside). It had a funky symbol in it...

    The text was explaining that there was a Tornado Warning for my area, take cover and the duration of the warning and to "check local media."

    What's pretty cool is that:

    a) the warning came about 2 minutes before the weather hit

    b) I got notified about 1 minute before the sirens went off.

    So, there's your confirmation that CMAS is built into the iPhone 5 - at least on Verizon. Don't remember if ATT is participating in CMAS.

    Don't look for the message to be in Messages - it's only in the Notification center.
  2. macrumors member

    May 14, 2008
    First I have heard of this.

    Is it a feature which needs to be activated? Does it automatically take your location into account and send you alerts for your immediate area?
  3. macrumors 601


    Oct 19, 2005
    That's pretty cool. Have to say I wasn't aware of this feature
  4. macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2011
    It's under settings, general, notifications, scroll to the bottom for government alerts.
  5. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2012
    New Jersey
    did you have on location services?
  6. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I wish you could set it to be less horribly obnoxious tho! If you have your phone on silent it keeps buzzing like a call, and if the ringer is on its a really loud tone! I got 2 on fri for Flash Flood warning in Santa Monica...and it was beautiful out all day. It was because it was pouring in the valley.

    For those that can't find is not available to AT&T customers. I know as a fact its on Verizon...I don't know about Sprint or T-Mobile.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2011
    Southern CA
    I got one too! A few days ago it was a flash flood warning. I was like WTF?!

    Pretty neat feature though.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    Last week, both my husband (Droid Razr Maxx) and I (iPhone 4S) received Flash Flood warnings from Verizon. Very handy safety feature.
  9. BlazednSleepy, Oct 14, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2012
    I turned it off immediately haha

    I got alerted on my 4s.
  10. macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2012
    California, USA
    That is pretty cool!
  11. macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2009
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Not located in my AT&T iPhone 5. Luckily, I have the WeatherRadio app, which puts alerts in the Notification Center. Has notified me many times in the last 3 years.
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2009
    Sounds like that works very well. Hope it comes to the AT&T iPhone 5 soon! Get on the ball AT&T!!!

    Btw, any screenshots, to see what they look like?
  13. macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2012
    Must be an iOS 6 thing. I've got that option in my 4S Settings.
  14. macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Those are gonna be fun to wake up to at 3 AM. :rolleyes:

    And yes, if your local administrator for these alerts is that obnoxious about it, it WILL happen. Comcast in my area participates in a similar program for their cable boxes, and I made the mistake of falling asleep once with the TV on. Ended up being awakened to a blaring Amber Alert at high volume in the middle of the night, that applied to a town maybe 50 miles away.

    At least with the wireless alerts, you can opt out of them, though apparently that can be overridden at the federal executive (white house) level.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2012
    I would very much like to be woken up at 3am if there's a dangerous tornado coming! Tornados don't care what time it is :)

    Amber alerts though...
  16. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2012
    New Jersey
    Still nobody ever told me if you need location services on to get these alerts.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2009
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I get these alerts in the middle of the nite (sometimes testing at 3:00 am) via Comcast and the volume is always the same as the TV show that they interrupt. The tone is extremely obnoxious, true, and gets your attention, which is the point after all. Maybe you had muted a loud volume & it overrode?

    Those alerts usually come on when I'm watching something that I've spooled by pausing the DVR and the alert always kills that function. Missed the ending of many movies that way. :mad:


    I would guess the answer is Yes. GPS would need to locate you WRT area of alert.
  18. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    Here is more technical information right from the FCC regarding the CMAS alerts.

    The rest of the article.
  19. macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2011
    This is why you have the option to turn it off. If you don't want to hear it, disable it. The alerts are county based. The warning will go off if you are in the county that is being warned for, even if you are 20 miles away from where it is occurring and not actually inside the warning box. The National Weather Service issues polygon shaped warnings with coordinates points based on latitude/longitude. As of right now, the alert system on your phone is not capable of determining whether our not you are inside that warning polygon, only if you are in that county. So if the warning is out for the eastern part of your county, and you live in the western part, you will still get the alert.

    Here is more info on this feature
  20. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2012
    New Jersey
    That would kinda defeat the purpose because not everyone has location services turned on all the time, I don't because Saga will kill my battery like that.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2012
    No location services required to get these alerts. When there is a warning issued, all the phones capable of receiving alerts will sound based on which tower they are connected to.
  22. macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2009
    Where is this setting? I looked for it under Settings > General > Notifications > Alerts, but I don't have that setting.

    I'm using an AT&T iPhone 5.
  23. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Lots of... uhhh.. bad information in this thread - let me make some gentle corrections...

    The way CMAS is designed is to take advantage of the fact that cell sites (and sectors within those cell sites) have a known coverage area.

    When an alert needs to go out (Tornado Warning!), the agency will select where the warning needs to go out geographically. There's a server that takes that geographic area and maps it out to cells and sectors.

    Then the warning is sent to those cells and sectors, and any phone with the mobile side of CMAS is supposed to emit the alarm.

    This way, there's no location services needed - at all. Your phone is constantly monitoring for CMAS messages the way it's looking for texts and incoming calls. Now, it's a bit different in that this is a broadcast, sent to every phone in the sector.

    Having said that, I'm sure there are limitations still in drawing the right areas for the alerts. It may be indeed be by county - but I know that's not where we'll wind up, it will be very targeted alerts. Why? Look up in this thread, people have been alerted for incidents that had nothing to do with them.

    The designers of CMAS (I know some, dontcha know) are aware of this, and the ultimate goal is to only notify you if you're going to be impacted.
  24. macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Ha I got the same thing in Socal the other day too. I had no idea it was coming from my phone ha
  25. macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    New York
    Sprint has this option. Under notifications for Emergency Alerts and Amber Alerts.

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