Both iOS 15.6 and iOS 16 allegedly provide a new toggle that lets you test emergency alerts from the US government on your iPhone and Apple Watch.
- The recent iOS 15.6 update, as well as the third beta of iOS 16, include a new toggle in the Settings app for testing emergency alerts from the US government.
- If you choose to test emergency alerts, it’s important to keep in mind the content and the frequency of these alerts are in the domain of the US government.
- If your iPhone isn’t connected to the US, either via a US SIM card or while roaming in the country, this toggle won’t be exposed to you.
An easier way to test emergency alerts
As MacRumors notes, this isn’t exactly a brand-new feature. In iOS 15.3 or earlier, you could dial a special code in the Phone app to opt-in to receive test alerts. With iOS 15.6 (and iOS 16), there’s now an outward-facing toggle for emergency alert testing in the Settings app. This should elevate the visibility of this feature and hopefully make more people consider opting it. The toggle is found in Settings → Notifications, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and toggle on “Test Emergency Alerts” underneath the “Government Alerts” heading.
Test alerts is new pic.twitter.com/msFkmkh4ry
— Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) July 7, 2022
We’ve come across comments from users who don’t live in the US yet claim to have had this toggle since iOS 15.5. Meaning, that it’s unclear if this is a server-side update that requires no software update or a new feature in iOS 15.6 and iOS 16. Apple provides detailed instructions for iPhone and Apple Watch owners for those who are interested to learn more about testing emergency alerts.
- About emergency and government alerts on iPhone
- About government and emergency alerts on Apple Watch
Again, you won’t see it unless your iPhone is on a US carrier, as described above. This toggle is off by default. “When you receive this type of alert, you’ll hear a sound that’s similar to an alarm, and the alert will mention that it’s a test,” Apple notes.
Testing emergency alerts on an Apple Watch
If you have a cellular watch, you can also receive these alerts on your wrist when the watch isn’t connected to an iPhone. “When you receive this type of alert, you’ll hear a sound that’s similar to an alarm, and the alert will mention that it’s a test,” Apple clarifies. Testing emergency alerts on an Apple Watch requires the watchOS 8.4 update or later. Read: How to set up emergency contact on your iPhone