Didn't get the Civil Defence alert? Here's why

This article was originally published after the Civil Defence alert last year.

Civil Defence sent out a test emergency alert to every cellphone in New Zealand on Sunday night. But not everyone got it.

The alerts were a national test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system, implemented by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. Sent out between 6pm and 7pm on Sunday, the alert displayed a notification accompanied by a loud, piercing sound.

Civil Defence expected roughly half of all mobile phones to be able to receive the alert, meaning more than 2 million Kiwis should have received the message.

If you didn't receive the alert, there could be several possible explanations, and no, it doesn't mean Civil Defence doesn't care about saving you.

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi urges anyone who didn't receive the alert to go to the Civil Defence website and provide feedback.

You've unselected Emergency Alerts on your smartphone


If you have an iPhone, open Settings, select Notifications and scroll all the way to the bottom. You should see a toggle for "Emergency Alerts". Make sure you have this selected. 

If you have an Android, the Emergency Alert settings are brand and model-dependent, but should be able to be located somewhere in the Settings menu. The option could be called Emergency Alerts, Emergency Broadcasts, Extreme Threats or Severe Threats. Once you've found it, make sure you have turned Emergency Alerts on.

Your iPhone doesn't have the latest update


Only iPhones with iOS11 or later are capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. If you missed out on Sunday's test message, try updating your phone.

Your phone isn't on the list of supported models


Here is Civil Defence's list of which brands and models of cellphone are confirmed to be able to receive Emergency Alerts.

You have an imported/overseas phone


On its website Civil Defence advises if your cellphone was bought overseas or is an imported model, Emergency Alerts "may" work. It says your phone's Emergency Alerts setting may differ from phones sold in New Zealand, but provides no other details so you're basically on your own here.


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