Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Why was there an Emergency Alert test today?

Don't panic! It was just a test.
October 4, 2023
google pixel fold using cameras
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Did a blaring noise from your phone freak you out today? I know I was a bit scared, with multiple phones emitting an Emergency Alert throughout the office. Don’t panic, though. It was a test. Let’s talk about it.


There was an Emergency Alert test conducted on October 4, 2023, at 2:20 PM ET. It is just a test to ensure all systems are operational. There is no actual emergency, and the alert message will tell you so.


Why was there an Emergency Alert test today?

People using an Apple iPhone stock photo 7
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

FEMA and the FCC announced there would be scheduled Wireless Emergency Alerts and Emergency Alert System tests in the USA, on October 4, 2023, at 2:20 PM ET.

The test was conducted on both the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It went through all phones, unless you have Emergency Alerts turned off.

During the test, all cellular devices got an alert and emitted a distressing sound, as well as showing a message that reads “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Later, the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also emitted a test on all TVs and radios. This second test happened between 14:20 and 14:50 ET.

Can you turn off emergency alerts on Android or iPhone?

Security and privacy option in Android settings stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Yes and no. The thing is, you can not turn off National Emergency Alerts, according to the FCC. This decision was made as part of the WARN Act. This allows carriers to block Emergency Alerts, with the only exception being National Alerts. Some carriers may offer certain WEA-blocking features, though. You can ask your carrier about this.

All that said, you can turn off all other Emergency Alerts on both your Android phone and an iPhone, though. Doing this will stop any tests from waking you up or disturbing anything else you are doing. The thing is, it will also stop real alerts from coming through, unless they are National Alerts. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before turning these off. Emergency Alerts may, at one point, save your life.

If you’re ready to live on the wilder side, we can show you how to turn off Emergency Alerts.

How to turn off Emergency Alerts on Android:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Notifications.
  3. Select Wireless emergency alerts.
  4. Toggle off Allow alerts.

How to turn off Emergency Alerts on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Notifications.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select Emergency Alerts.
  4. Toggle off Emergency Alerts.

Editor’s note: We came up with these instructions using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13 and an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17. Menus and steps may change depending on your device and its software version.


There is no set schedule for alert tests, but these also don’t happen often. Before the one on October 4, 2023, the last nationwide test occurred on August 11, 2021.

If you’re talking about the October 4, 2023 alert, this was a test. These tests don’t happen often, though, so if you’re talking about another alert, chances are it may be a real one. Read it carefully and prepare.