Disabling the God-Awful "Emergency Alerts" on a Samsung Galaxy S2

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 5:53 PM in General, Rants

I've had my Galaxy S2 for well over a year now, and until yesterday I had never even heard of an "emergency alert" on a phone. I was focused on something when suddenly the silence was pierced by my phone screaming at me and a message popping up about an AMBER Alert.

It just about gave me a coronary. When I recovered from that, bewilderment and anger set in. WTF is this stupid alert suddenly coming to my phone? I've never asked for such a thing. Hell, I seriously didn't know such a "service" existed!

I asked a few friends and family members if they got such an alert, and not a single one did. Then a friend found a link to a 2011 story on my city's website that gave folks a way to opt-in to such alerts. I was still puzzled, as I have absolutely never asked for any such alerts to be sent to me.

A couple of hours later I got the exact same AMBER Alert sent to me again. Once again, it scared the hell out of me (does that mean I'm all heavenly now?). Once again, it angered and confused me. To make things more bizarre, I couldn't find anything about said AMBER Alert on any of the local news outlet websites. Another friend found a generic posting *from the day before* about the exact AMBER Alert that was suddenly invading my private space. Really? 24+ hours later?

This morning at 4:30AM I was suddenly awakened by - you guessed it - my phone screaming and vibrating with another "emergency alert". This time it was a delightful message telling me a dust storm was approaching and not to drive anywhere. REALLY??? I WAS SLEEPING YOU STUPID FUCKS!!

Anyway, after much Googling (admittedly my Google-fu sux0rs) and not finding any direct answers, I finally found enough bits and pieces to figure out how to disable this utterly absurd "service". As the title indicates, this is specific to the Samsung Galaxy S2, but I would expect that other phones would have similar steps.

  • Open up your text message application
  • Open the menu and choose "Settings"
  • Scroll down to "Emergency alerts"
  • UNcheck everything
  • Exit the app

The only "emergency" alert you cannot unsubscribe from is the "Presidential Alerts". All I can say is this: The day I get such a "Presidential Alert" had best be the day that whomever is occupying the White House at the time is contacting me to tell me that he/she is on the way over for dinner so that we can have a discussion about fixing the absurdity that is US politics, which generally means he/she is offering me their resignation after issuing an executive order that fires every sitting member of congress, parties abolished, and strict term limits (4 years, max) put in place. Aside from that, I don't want to hear from the buffoon.

UPDATE (2013-04-28)

Thanks to `amber alert alergic` and `Mahadragon` for pointing out in a comment that the instructions above are for the default messaging app. If you have installed any other messaging app(s), the instructions won't work. Open up the default messaging app and follow along from there.

(Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)

On 12/19/12 at 11:50 PM, Michael Zock said:

It sounds like in your case they were at least somewhat related to the original intent of the feature.
When I went through the same thing it was because I kept receiving messages about unimportant stuff like tomorrow's weather through the same means.

On 12/21/12 at 9:45 PM, Bob777 said:

Thanks for the info. Worked great to turn off that annoying alert.
Also your final comments are great. I couldn't agree with you more.

On 12/25/12 at 6:25 PM, Rick said:

THANK YOU! I almost wrecked the car yesterday when that thing went off. Turned off the radio, thinking it was on there. My son rolled the window down to determine if it was the neighborhood alert system. Finally figured out it was coming from my phone. It went off 2 more times last night during dinner with family and again just now. #!$@ irritating. Thanks for posting how to kill the d*mn thing.

On 12/27/12 at 10:55 PM, John said:

HELP I CAN NOT FIND THE SETTINGS IN THE MESSAGE APP! I can't turn it off till I do.I'm telephonicly illiterate. Can someone give me baby steps on how to get it off my phone. THANKS, John You described my exact reactions when I first heard THE NOISE.

On 2/20/13 at 11:50 PM, Madhur said:

Thanks helped me as well

On 3/8/13 at 1:03 AM, Guitar Lessons Plano Tx said:

LOL I found this page looking to see how to disable the Amber Alert I just received from out of nowhere. WTF.... But I like your viewpoint on politics so much I had to leave a comment. LOL I been saying that for years! Get rid of every single one of them bums! They only serve themselves thats why things are so screwed up these days... For example, If everyone agrees that we shouldnt have a defecit, Then why do we have one?!! Because theyre all full of BS... Anyways just wanted to let you know that your article made me LOL... Rock on!

On 3/8/13 at 1:05 AM, amber alert alergic said:

here is what you do:

Make sure you open the GS2 native messaging. If you installed Go SMS Pro or anything to do your texting, you still have to open the native messaging ass to do this.

So, go to the all apps icon (if you do not have the original icon on display), choose messaging.
Then, click the left menu touch button (to bring up menu options).
Then, click on settings.
Scroll down until you see CMAS Alerts (set options for emergency messages)
Choose which one you want to disable, uncheck any you do not want to get.
The AMBER ALERT one is the last one in case that is what woke you up at 4:20am.

Press exit until you are on your desktop and done.
Good luck.

On 3/8/13 at 4:04 AM, Stephanie said:

Thank you so much for this. Mine does the same thing but it happens every 1.5 hours! It is horrible to be woken up by this sound having non idea that it is coming from your phone. I shot out of bed thinking the house was on fire or something.

On 3/8/13 at 12:21 PM, Alice Hammond said:

Omg thank you!!! Its 420 am and my phone just started screamong at me anout an amber alert!!

On 3/13/13 at 4:16 AM, jenni said:

Thank you! Thank you! I am still shaking from the blaring Amber Alert three states away! You are the best! Now, I can sleep.

On 3/13/13 at 5:10 AM, Matt Quackenbush said:

Glad I was able to help so many folks! Sux0rs that _anyone_ has to deal with BS like this, but figuring that many more will have to, I hope folks continue to be helped in the future. :-)

On 4/13/13 at 12:21 AM, mleon said:

THANK YOU for sharing this! I too was almost shocked into a coronary by the Amber alerts, that suddenly started up just a month ago on my S2. God bless you!

On 4/13/13 at 1:42 PM, Netdiver said:

I had been hit by such alert twice 6:20am in the past 30 days. It really bugged me a lot since I have to take a good sleep after and before hard work! I am sure I did not subscribe such AMBER. I did not understand what AMBER is, as it shows up something a driver license number. After early morning googling, I found it is for missing children. I feel sorry for the parents involved but the cases are far far away from I am sleeping. Luckily I found this link and disabled it as instructed. Thank you so much, you saved by day.

On 4/28/13 at 6:49 PM, Mahadragon said:

My S2 from TMobile has like half a dozen messaging apps. I'm sure I'm not the only one confused by exactly which app this is but I found it. It's the default chat app that's one of the four icons of the bottom on the screen when you looking at your home screens. Prior to this I literally went through every freaking chat and messaging app as well as general settings and couldn't find it. Thanks to you guys for pointing me in the right direction. Oh one more thing, the icon looks like an envelope with a yellow piece of paper coming out of it. That should help speed the process.

On 4/29/13 at 3:11 AM, Marissa said:

THANK YOU!!! Received 3 today, the first one being at 3:30 in the morning, and the second while I was at work sleepy due to being woken up at 3:30 am...Loved your comments about the presidential alerts!

On 4/29/13 at 7:36 AM, Tracey said:

Thank you for this!!!! My freaking phone had been going off since 3am!!!! And the alert was canceled 15 hours ago!!! You saved my sanity. :)

On 4/29/13 at 4:05 PM, B said:

Thank god...I've had 8 in the last two days, some repeats. THANK YOU!!

On 5/15/13 at 8:26 PM, MKB said:

Awesome..thanks. Received a "sever" alert 30 seconds ago that scared the crap out of me. I knew I had seen that setting but could not remeber what application. I was, however, able to uncheck "presidential" so you'll have to let me know how dinner goes ;)

On 5/19/13 at 11:09 AM, Tim said:

You kept me from calling the NWS and screeching loudly in their ear three times on the phone since that is.exactly how they just woke me up at 4:43 AM on a Sunday morning. I almost had a heart attack. It took several minutes to calm down. Having a cat thrown on my head would have been a more pleasant way to wake up. ALL ALERTS DISABLED. THANK YOU!

On 5/22/13 at 5:18 AM, Charlie said:

Thank you so much fit the info on how to disable it ! I JUST got my new Samsung S2 in the other day and need it on 24/7 because i can't move due to a recent abdominal wall tear and i have panic attacks as well. My phones been screaming every few hours due to multiple Amber Alerts in my area and they keep waking me up not to mention scarring the sh"t out of me making the pain and Panic attacks worse. I followed your instructions and can't thank you enough for your help! I'm all for helping others but it should be an option and not forced on me when i can't do anything about it never mind get out of bed. THANKS AGAIN!!!.

On 5/31/13 at 11:33 PM, Dustin Roberts Roberts said:

Totally worked, I called the tmobile people 6 times and they didnt kno lol

On 6/5/13 at 6:46 PM, Appreciative said:

THANK YOU for posting this fix!! I love the S2 but when an Amber alert went off, it scared the h#%* out of me. Now I don't have to worry about it. Thanks again!

On 6/18/13 at 9:51 PM, Happy Galaxy Owner said:

I guess I'm the only one who is happy to receive alerts. The only one I don't have active because of this site is the Amber alerts.

On 6/24/13 at 9:39 PM, Jada said:

I have those alerts turned off. I got an extreme weather alert and it about gave me and the dog a heart attack. I would like to get the alerts on weather if the blast was not so danged loud.

On 6/25/13 at 4:18 AM, rachel said:

OMG, thank you so much!!! My husband and I had been trying to figure out how to make it stop. It really pissed us off when we were sleeping and both our phones started going off.

On 7/1/13 at 12:38 AM, cat said:

THANK YOU!! Love your sarcasm, too!

On 7/1/13 at 5:57 PM, hopismum said:

Anyone know of a way to change that alert tone? If I could find a way to change the tone so its the same as the txt msg tone I use then I wouldn't mind it going off now and then. Ive looked everywhere, googled all over and cant seem to find where its located on the S2

On 7/1/13 at 5:58 PM, hopismum said:

Know of a way to chage that alert tone? Ild keep the alerts on if I could change the tone to something not so damn scary.

On 7/1/13 at 8:27 PM, scott said:

Thank heavens! Yesterday I got an alert, three times within 25 minutes, that jacked me straight up in bed, for a flash flood warning. Flash flood!? I live at the top of Queen City hill, and when you turn into the complex you have to climb another 120 feet to get to my turn-off, and then another 20 feet to reach my building. If I have to worry about a flash flood, you'd better by calling Noah, not me.

OK, I thought, once in a great while... But, no, this morning, at 6:18 AM(!) I got a damned Amber alert--for Cleveland! I live in Cincinnati, the very southwesternmost point in Ohio. It is physically impossible to be any further away from Cleveland and still be in Ohio. So, I went looking for a solution, and here you are... Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

On 7/2/13 at 10:40 PM, Ivan said:

I have an ATT GS2 and that option is not available in the native messaging app. I am running Android v4.1.2. If you call ATT they know nothing about this. I even called ATT ETS (which I have access to) and they have no idea how to turn it off.

if anyone has any ideas... please help!!!

On 7/3/13 at 6:43 AM, jeffe said:

Thank-you for finding a way to solve this; I was ready to throw my phone out the window when it went off. A dust storm warning while I'm sleeping in bed?? And it's dead calm outside. At least give us the option of changing the alert signal, depending on the alert. Hey, what a novel idea! But no, it's like giving a travel warning on the TV. Hello? If I'm watching TV, what are the chances that I'm traveling on the road?

On 7/27/13 at 2:58 AM, Summer Huff said:

Thank you! I never leave comments but I had to leave one for you. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu...

On 8/7/13 at 4:12 AM, Cheryl said:

THANK YOU!! I was mortified when my phone kept going off at the office and I couldn't get the darn amber alert to stop. Very 45 minutes or so it would just start blaring. I so appreciate your instructions and followed them exactly. Hopefully, this rids me of the problem. Anyone know what the other alerts are for? Imminent Severe and extreme severe? I clicked those off too. Thanks again, appreciate the experienced info!

On 8/8/13 at 6:10 AM, Anon said:

Thank you so much!

On 8/13/13 at 2:11 AM, steve mullin said:

I tried the instructions above and I dont have an emergency alert section.

On 8/13/13 at 8:21 AM, Matt Quackenbush said:

@ Steve Mullin - The key is to follow the instructions *from the NATIVE app*. If you're using any other app the options most assuredly won't be there.


On 8/13/13 at 4:53 PM, Jazmin R. said:

You know you are a sick bastard to say that the emergency alerts are "God-Awful." Do you even consider the fact that a child,A CHILD, has been kidnapped? If it was your child wouldn't you want people to know, and be concerned?? If not, you got some serious issues. What the hell has humanity come to? You think it was "annoying" to get the amber alert? Well imagine being THE FAMILY that has to go through that, not knowing if their child is still alive or not. Why did this pop up when I searched for how to turn the alert on? This is bull shit, you know? This isn't even a slight inconvinence compared to finding out that your child has been kidnapped. Just think, if you were in the parents shoes, but I don't think you can since you seem to only care about your dumb ass.

On 8/13/13 at 5:40 PM, Matt Quackenbush said:

@ Jazmin R - I considered going through your rant and picking it apart bit by bit, but your post makes it seem doubtful that you are capable of - or interested in - any sort of meaningful discussion or debate. Thanks for reading the article and for taking the time to express your feelings. Sorry that Google apparently failed you in providing relevant links for your search.

By the way, the instructions to enable the alerts would be the same as what I posted, except you'll want to check/select the alerts you want instead of unchecking/deselecting the ones you don't want. :-)

On 8/15/13 at 10:10 PM, anna said:


On 8/17/13 at 10:49 PM, Argo said:

Jazmin is a trolololo

On 11/18/13 at 4:37 PM, TB said:

Thanks for the info. No matter how many times I turned off my alarm clock the phone just kept wailing! Hopefully I can sleep now

On 3/28/14 at 10:29 PM, JBS1 said:

Thanks for that info, it worked.
The sound of that nearly knocked me out of my chair!
Who in their right mind would want that as a factory setting??

On 9/8/14 at 5:04 PM, Lisa Williams said:

What a well written piece, informative and damn hilarious to boot! You are a God-Send... thank you for saving me from these ear-piercing alerts that scare the bejesus out of me every time.
Thanks for scaring the ish outta me while i was concentrating on driving thru the current extreme dust storm to get to safety, you almost got me in a wreck, stupid alert!!!!

On 8/27/15 at 12:43 AM, Arione said:

Thank you.
This information worked on my straight talk Alcatel phone. I'm at home in the middle of nowhere most days. I'm 99.9% sure I won't see an abducted child and 100% sure this noise will give me the shakes, if not a heart attack...thanks again.

On 3/6/16 at 10:36 PM, Brian said:

Thanks. It wouldn't be so bad if the Amber alerts really were for my region, instead I get them for 3 or 4 cities over. Really? Too annoying to even consider keeping them on.

On 7/25/16 at 10:43 PM, Rich said:

I did exactly as you described, Galaxy S3 with Andoid 4.3, and the alerts continue

On 12/10/16 at 10:52 PM, grobis said:

So i know this is old af but i still use an sg2 and regularly i get days old amber alerts, multiple times for events that took place 4 hours away from me.

Ive tried to follow these and similiar directions but i cannot find the messaging app i have no icon for it and i dont even use this phone for texting just wifi.

Anybody have advice?

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