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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Did you get (loud) weather alerts on your iPhone today?

Apple's latest iPhone software lets you control what government-issued alerts you receive.

KEN WALKER | Times

Apple's latest iPhone software lets you control what government-issued alerts you receive.

6

March

When a line of thunderstorms sweeping across Tampa Bay late this morning and early afternoon prompted the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning for Pinellas County, everyone in our newsroom was instantly alerted — by a cacophany of beeps and buzzes as just about every smartphone in the building relayed the announcement.

While certainly useful and probably even pretty cool, it's a strange feeling to be taken by surprise by something your phone does. Alerts like these might override other settings on your phone — like beeping a warning even when you've switched to vibrate-only mode, for example. Alerts like these are on by default, but you can control settings for them on your iPhone.

In the lastest version of iOS, tap on Settings from your home screen, then tap on Notification Center and scroll to the very bottom of the screen. (If you have many apps on your phone, it might take you some time.) Look for a "GOVERNMENT ALERTS" heading, and you'll see you can toggle AMBER Alerts (issued for missing children) and other emergency alerts (weather, civil defense and other important information) on and off — though I would imagine you'd want to leave them on.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:58pm]

    

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