How to Opt Out of the Wireless Emergency Test Alert Coming on May 8
Next week, the Alert Ready Emergency Alert System will perform a test on May 8, 2019. The test will occur on TV, radio and compatible wireless devices, such an iPhone 5 or newer.
If your smartphone has a connection to an LTE network, most likely you will receive the test alert, which includes a distinctive alert tone, that will most likely scare the crap out of you.
According to the Alert Ready website:
The Alert Ready emergency alerting system will be tested in most provinces and territories on May 8, 2019, on TV, radio and compatible wireless devices. Not all mobile devices can receive alerts. Device compatibility, software version, phone settings and connection to an LTE network can impact whether the alert is received. If you have received an SMS text message notifying you of the test, it does not guarantee that you can receive these emergency alerts. For more information, about compatible devices, please visit the website of your wireless carrier.
Over the past few weeks, carriers have been sending texts to customers notifying them of the upcoming wireless test alert. The CRTC tweeted today about the test happening next week:
On May 8, during #EPWeek, you may receive an #EmergencyAlert test message on your compatible LTE-connected #wireless device, TV or radio. Learn more: https://t.co/HLXNMChZjl pic.twitter.com/F59G0Gefy2
— CRTCeng (@CRTCeng) May 1, 2019
The times of next week’s emergency alerts will occur at 1:55PM local time in Alberta, BC, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador will see the test happen at 10:55AM local time (Labrador at 10:25AM local time).
Ontario’s wireless alert test will take place at 2:55PM EDT, while PEI will have their test at 12:55PM local time. In Quebec, no test alert will occur due to flooding.
A full chart of test times can be seen below:
The wireless Alert Ready system is being managed by Pelmorex, the parent company of The Weather Network. The upcoming test comes just past the one year anniversary of the wireless alert system, which debuted in April 2018. Last year, test alerts occurred from May 6-12.
How to opt out of these wireless test alerts, or emergency alerts in general? You can’t, according to the CRTC. Back in March 2019, CRTC spokeswoman Patricia Valladao, said, “People cannot opt out of this,” noting, “There is a high importance that people — want it or not — receive these alerts.”
If you really want to opt out of this wireless test alert, there is a workaround. You can disable LTE on your iPhone and use 3G data only on May 8, 2019. Setup a reminder with Siri to notify you to turn off LTE 15 minutes prior to the times noted in the chart above.
On your iPhone 5 or newer, just go to: Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Enable LTE > OFF
For those running iOS 12.3 beta on an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR, go to: Settings > Cellular > Primary > Enable LTE > OFF
If you’re running an Android device, you’ll have to turn off LTE in your settings to opt out.
Since the wireless test alerts are sent out to those connected to LTE networks, by using 3G ahead of the test period, you should not receive any alerts. This tip to turn off LTE and disable the wireless test alerts may be helpful for those sleeping during this time, especially shift workers or those with babies napping in the afternoon.