The UK government recently confirmed it would be rolling out a new ‘armageddon’ emergency alert system, starting with a test on April 23. Following the announcement, domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has issued a warning, pointing out the dangers it could pose to victims of domestic abuse.
The mobile device alerts have been set up to allow the government and emergency services to send out immediate warnings to the public if they are at risk of life-threatening decisions such as floods and wildfires. The messages, which include a siren sound blasting out, will render phone users unable to use their devices without acknowledging the alert.
Even if your device is on silent, or the volume has been turned all the way down, the alert will still sound. This could put people who live with abusive partners at risk as it could lead to the discovery of secret or secondary phones kept for emergencies.
A tech safety team at Refuge has released an instructional video explaining how to turn off the emergency alert system for both Apple and Android users. Here is everything you need to know.
How to turn off Emergency Alert system for Apple and Android phones
Steps for Android users:
- Go to the settings app of the Android device
- Search for ‘Emergency Alerts’ using the search bar at the top of the screen
- Click or tap on the first option that pops up
- Once in the device’s Emergency Alerts settings page, turn off Emergency Alerts by pressing all the toggle buttons (blue means on, grey means off)
Steps for Apple users:
- Go to the settings app of the Apple device
- Scroll down to find and click or tap on the ‘Notifications’ tab
- Scroll all the way down again to find a dedicated section for Emergency Alerts
- You will see ‘Extreme Alerts’ and ‘Severe Alerts’ buttons, but this sometimes varies depending on which iPhone or Apple device you are using.
- To turn them off, press all the toggle buttons (blue means on, grey means off)