If the iPhone rings strangely: Warning day 2023 with Cell Broadcast
September 14, 2023 is the nationwide warning day again – now for the second time with Cell Broadcast. The warning occurs from 11 a.m. and should of course – if all requirements are met – be played by iPhones that are dialed into a mobile network in Germany. However, there were also problems with the warning day last year; depending on the network operator, no warnings were delivered under certain circumstances. An all-clear signal, which should be given at 11:45 a.m. via cell broadcast, is not planned for the time being.
The warning message on an iPhone. The broadcast apparently did not work in all radio cells.
Cell Broadcast on iPhone: What do I need to do to receive emergency alerts?
By default, iPhones are ready to receive alerts sent via cell broadcast. The prerequisite is a current version of the operating system, for iOS 16 at least version iOS 16.1, for iOS 15 at least version 15.6.1. The current versions are iOS 16.6.1 and iOS 15.7.9. iOS 13 and iOS 14 users will no longer receive updates, but can update their iPhone to iOS 15. You can find the installed version in “Settings > General > Info” under “iOS version”. Users who have already installed the iOS 17 beta should also be warned.
It is also advisable to check for possible updates to the network operator settings. To do this, open “Settings > General > About”. There you will also see the version of the operating system installed on your device under “iOS version”. If iOS now offers you updated carrier settings, install them. If there is no notification, the latest version has already been installed.
Install the carrier settings update – if the iPhone offers such an update.
Mobile phone providers and the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) pointed out last year that iPhones still running iOS up to version 12 would not receive the emergency warnings. This means that iPhone 6, iPhone 5s and older models remain excluded from the warning system. So the minimum requirement is an iPhone 6s updated to iOS 15. There is currently no specific documentation from Apple about Cell Broadcast in Germany.
The technical guidelines for the DE alert provide for four-digit message IDs to identify warnings in different warning levels. This is only supported on newer devices. In order to also reach older cell phones, critical warnings should also be sent via cell broadcast with the three-digit message ID 919. However, this is apparently not supported by older iPhone models such as the iPhone 6 and 5s in conjunction with German SIM cards. However, there is no update to take four-digit IDs into account for these models. iOS 15.6.1 (or newer) can only be installed from iPhone 6s and iPhone SE 1.
The prerequisite for receiving emergency warnings via cell broadcast is that the iPhone is dialed into the cellular network. In airplane mode or completely switched off, the warning messages are not received. In contrast to receiving push notifications, cell broadcast warning messages do not subsequently end up on the iPhone when it is switched on again – unless the warning is still sent out.
Do I need to enable Cell Broadcast notifications on iPhone?
Basically no, these are active by default when all updates have been installed. You can find emergency alerts in Settings > Notifications at the bottom of the Cell Broadcast Alerts section.
When the cell broadcast alerts appear in the iOS settings, the iPhone is ready to receive such emergency alerts. You do not have to activate the “Test Warnings” for the warning day. Warnings of the highest warning level 1 cannot be switched off in Germany.
There are three switches for “Extreme Danger” (enabled by default), “Danger Information” (enabled by default), and “Test Warnings” (disabled by default). “Test Warnings” is only intended for special test runs of the system by network operators. This is not relevant for the warning day, as real warnings are sent here.
Can I turn off emergency alerts on iPhone?
Yes, but only some. You can choose to turn off the Extreme Danger and Hazard Information alerts, as well as the Test Alerts if you have them enabled. The responsible authorities determine which warning level a warning has.
However, you will always receive disaster warnings of the highest warning level 1; there is no switch in the system to deactivate these.
How do I turn off the loud alarm sound on iPhone?
To turn off the alarm, which is scheduled to occur on Thursday at 11 a.m., you need to open the alert on your iPhone. Otherwise the alarm signal will probably last for several minutes.
I have my iPhone mostly muted, will I still receive a warning?
Yes, level 1 disaster warnings override the ringtone mute switch and any set focus mode such as “Do Not Disturb”. Your iPhone should definitely emit an alarm signal – loudly and audibly.
Will I also receive emergency alerts on Apple Watch and iPad?
According to BBK, Apple Watches are also ready for cell broadcast, which applies from Series 4 and for models with a cellular module (“GPS + Cellular”). Here too, it is probably advisable to install the latest watchOS version. It remains unclear whether mobile-enabled iPads also receive cell broadcast warnings. In any case, there are no new switches in the notification settings to turn warning messages on or off. Last year there were no reports of iPads ringing on warning day.
My iPhone didn’t play an alert, what can I do?
If the iPhone meets all of the above requirements and still does not receive a warning, you can inform the Federal Office for Civil Protection. A survey page will be set up for this purpose from 11 a.m. You can also point out that you didn’t receive a warning message on an older, no longer supported iPhone to emphasize that such models are still in use.
How do I view cell broadcast alerts again on iPhone?
We are not aware of a way to view the message again if it is no longer available in the Notification Center. You open the notification center by swiping your finger down from the top of the screen on the home screen. On the lock screen, you may need to swipe up from the bottom to see previous notifications.
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