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According to the FCC (emphasis mine):

WEA alerts only cover critical emergency situations. Consumers can receive four types of alerts:

  • "National Alerts" issued by the President of the United States or the Administrator of FEMA;
  • "Imminent Threat" alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life;
  • "AMBER Alerts" about missing children; and
  • "Public Safety Messages" conveying recommendations for saving lives and property.

Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block all but National Alerts.

The latest "National Alert" (formerly known as a "Presidential Alert") was conducted on October 4th at 2:20 Eastern Time and iPhone users couldn't turn it off due to the law above. Is there a way for users with an Android phone to turn off such alerts?

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  • Actually for the last big flood in Germany there were complaints that users did not receive alerts on the phone, so German telecommunication providers worked hard to improve the situation, and we had two "test alerts" since then. My phone did not receive the first one, but the second one. Kind of fun when everybody in the department receives it within a few seconds ;-)
    – U. Windl
    Oct 6, 2023 at 12:23
  • 1
    @U.Windl perhaps this one? Cell broadcast for emergency warnings in Germany - why is Android 11+ required?.
    – Andrew T.
    Oct 6, 2023 at 13:18
  • For non-US readers: the "National(/Presidential) Alerts" category (which is what was tested in the US this week) only happen once every 3 years. They are testing the ability of the government to notify people in event of outbreak of war, etc.
    – smci
    Oct 6, 2023 at 19:00
  • @smci they're a part of the GSM protocol and are used in other countries as well. In Ontario they're apparently abused because even Amber alerts are sent with the highest possible priority. Oct 6, 2023 at 19:02
  • 1
    @smci correct but apparently in Ontario they abuse the classification of alerts by using the highest ("National") level for every notification. Scattered information online says that other countries similarly abuse the protocol. Oct 6, 2023 at 19:20

2 Answers 2

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According to Reddit this can be done without root:

Stock Android ships with a package called com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver, which is responsible for handling alerts. You can check the source code here.

You don't need to be root to remove this package with adb. You can uninstall this package from your phone by running:

adb shell

pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver
pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver

For people on Samsung Phones:

Samsung doesn't include com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver on their phones - as far as I can tell, they handle WEA messages in the Samsung Messages app, which is the default SMS app on the S9 and other Samsung devices. Fortunately, this makes things even easier:

  1. Install Android Messages, and set it to be the default SMS handling app.

  2. Navigate to "Settings," then select "Apps." From there, find and select "Messages" (Samsung). Scroll down to "App Settings." Revoke all permissions and block all notifications. Ensure the default messaging app is set to "Messages for Android". Disable the "Appear on top," "Change system settings," and "Install unknown apps" options. Lastly, force stop the application.

  3. Enjoy peace and quiet.

This technique works because the Android Messages app expects the com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver package to handle WEA message (so Android Messages doesn't have any code to receive them), and the Samsung Messages app (which you can't remove, which does have WEA support) no longer has any permissions to receive anything, so it can't alert you even if it wanted to. This deadlock basically ensures you won't get alerts, provided you never enable Samsung Messages ever again.

And according to HackerNews there's also an alternative method for rooted phones:

For folks with rooted devices, all alerts can be disabled with:

adb shell su -c 'pm disable com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver'

and reenabled with:

adb shell su -c 'pm enable com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver'

For folks on custom Android builds (or older stock Android builds without APEX module support), the package name is com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver (without the .google).

If you're using Graphene OS you can also disable such alerts thanks to this commit in their repository.

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  • 7
    Note to mods: the FCC regulation only binds cellphone manufacturers and cellular carriers. It's perfectly legal for the end user to disable "National Alerts". Oct 5, 2023 at 20:56
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In Android 13 (German, sorry), you have settings at "Sicherheit & Notfall" ("Safety & Emergency" or similar in English), and within there is "Drahtlose Notfallalarme" ("wireless emergency alerts", or similar in English).

And finally there, you have "Extreme Gefahr" (extreme danger), "Erhebliche Gefahr" (significant danger), "Gefahreninformation" (information about danger), and "Testwarnung" (test warning). There is also a main switch "Notfallbenachrichtigungen zulassen" (allow emergency notifications).

You can toggle each on and off.

Screenshot German Android 13 (Oppo ColorOS 13.1) showing alerting settings

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  • 1
    Yes and these settings are also present on iPhones. But there’s an additional type of warnings that cannot be turned off without hacks. Oct 6, 2023 at 12:48
  • And what "type" is that?
    – U. Windl
    Oct 9, 2023 at 5:49

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