The second largest wireless carrier in the U.S., AT&T, recently announced that it will be pushing out an update to subscribers who own an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S with the new software supporting an FCC-mandated Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The system will allow iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S owners to receive government-issued safety messages in the form of text-like messages.
It was the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, non-profit trade organization for the wireless industry CTIA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency who cooperated to create the WEA system. As noted on the CTIA’s website, WEA-capable mobile devices originally began receiving alerts in April of 2012.
For those of you wondering about what types of alerts you’ll be getting, you should know that there are three types of alerts which are broken down into the following:
- Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designee;
- Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists; and
- AMBER Alerts– Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice's criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.
According to AT&T, iPhones running iOS 6.1 or later will have the update automatically downloaded and installed over the air, while those running an older version of iOS will have to connect to iTunes to receive the update.
Source: AT&T (blog), CTIA