How to Turn On Tornado Warnings on iPhone

Severe weather apps like Storm Shield can provide push notifications that include voice alerts for tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and more. The app also offers other features, including lightning strike tracking, but requires a premium subscription.

Apple’s default Weather app has a built-in feature to deliver critical weather alerts, but this notifier isn’t working for some iPhone users. Here are a few quick and easy fixes to get your iPhone’s severe weather alerts back on track.

How to Turn On Tornado Warnings on Your iPhone

If you live in a region prone to tornadoes or other extreme weather, an early warning system is essential. Many mobile devices include a public safety system known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which sends geographically-targeted, text-like messages about emergencies and threats—including severe weather. When enabled, WEA notifications will push to your iPhone even if it’s in silent or turned off, making them ideal for emergencies while at home or on the go. Download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app for free to receive critical alerts, including tornado watches and warnings.

  1. Open the Weather App

The Weather app is a useful tool that helps you keep track of severe weather in your area. You can get critical alerts for things like tornadoes, flash floods and thunderstorms. But sometimes the alerts don’t work for some users. This can be due to a number of reasons including software glitches, lack of proper location access and more.

Fortunately, you can easily fix the issue by following a few simple steps. First, make sure the Weather app has unrestricted access to your location by going to Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Location Services and tapping the Weather option. Once you do, make sure that the switch next to “Always Deliver Critical Alerts” is on.

You can also add notifications for other locations that you track with the Weather app. You might want to set up alerts for places where you’re planning a trip or for your home town. To do that, tap the ellipsis button (three encircled dots) in the bottom right corner and search for a city. When you find a city, tap it and toggle on the switches for Severe Weather and Next-Hour Precipitation. That way you’ll receive notifications even if your iPhone is in Focus mode or your Do Not Disturb is on.

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the screen

Beginning with iOS 16, the iPhone includes an opt-in public alerting system called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). WEAs are text-like messages that broadcast to a geographic area and notify anyone with a compatible device of dangers, such as severe weather or AMBER alerts for missing children. If you’re in the affected area, the alert will play a sound and display on your screen, even if your phone is muted or Do Not Disturb is active. To make sure you’re getting these important notifications, scroll to the bottom of the Settings app and tap Notifications. On the Notifications page, turn on the switch labeled Critical Alerts. If you don’t see this option, your phone may have turned off WEAs. A reboot should fix this problem. If the issue persists, contact Apple Support.

  1. Tap the ellipsis button (three encircled dots)

Many communities have opt-in public alert and warning systems that allow you to receive text-like messages about threats in your area, such as severe weather or AMBER alerts. If you want to ensure you get these messages (and other important safety alerts like flood warnings and road closures), follow these steps.

The first step is to download the free Shortcuts app from the App Store on your iPhone (iOS 12 or later) or iPad. Once you’ve downloaded the app, tap the icon that resembles three encircled dots, then press and hold on the button for a second until you see the “Emergency Alerts” menu appear.

Once you select Emergency Alerts, you’ll need to toggle on the various types of alerts you want to receive. You can choose from AMBER Alerts, Public Safety Alerts, Severe Weather Alerts and more.

This is another example of how Apple’s inconsistent use of ellipsis buttons confuses users. Instead of a visually clear Edit option, this ellipsis opens a confusing Activity View and offers commands to scan documents, connect to servers and edit locations, favorites and tags. Apple could learn a lot from Material Design’s approach, which puts the most useful options at the top of the menu rather than hidden in an activity view or action sheet.

  1. Tap Notifications

Severe weather notifications are an important feature to have enabled on your iPhone. They allow you to receive critical alerts from the National Weather Service directly to your phone, eliminating the need to tune in to a local news channel or keep an eye on the radio to listen for warnings. These push notifications also provide the option to monitor multiple locations, ideal for those who travel often and have family or friends in other areas.

To turn on the alerts, go to the Settings app on your iPhone -> Notifications. Make sure the toggle switch is on for both Critical Alerts and Weather. These are based on your current location, and will broadcast any “Extreme Threat to Life or Property” alerts (like tornado or flash flood warnings), AMBER Alerts, and Presidential alerts during a state of emergency.

Another important step is to ensure your iPhone has the latest software. Check the App Store for updates, and install them as soon as they become available. You can also try a soft reset of your iPhone to see if that fixes the problem. If all else fails, try deleting and reinstalling the Weather app. This is a quick and simple solution, and can fix minor bugs that may be affecting your device.

  1. Tap Weather

One of the best ways to stay on top of severe weather conditions is to add a widget to your iPhone Lock Screen. You can see the latest temperature, wind speed, barometer, air quality, sun and moon phase, sunrise & sunset times and UV index. It also shows you the current forecast at a glance and displays real-time alerts from America’s wireless emergency warning system, WEA (Figure H).

You can also enable Severe Weather notifications in the Weather app’s notification settings. Tap the menu icon in the lower right corner, then tap a location and turn on the switch for both Severe Weather and Next-Hour Precipitation.

If you’re still not getting weather alerts, you may need to reset the Weather app’s settings. Long press the Weather icon until it starts to wiggle, then tap X to delete the app and re-install it. Resetting the app’s settings should solve any problems with severe weather alerts not showing up. If you’re unable to fix the issue, try restarting your device. It’s also possible that the Weather app needs an update. Check the App Store to see if there are any available updates. You can also use a professional iOS Repair Tool that can fix any iOS issues including broken Weather app widgets without data loss.

  1. Tap Critical Alerts

You can enable critical alerts from the Settings app to ensure that high priority notifications like severe weather warnings override your device’s Do Not Disturb or other notification preferences. These alerts will play a sound and appear on your screen even if the device is muted or in silent mode. You can also choose if you want the alerts to be delivered immediately or within a scheduled summary.

Using the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) public safety system, local governments broadcast geographically targeted alerts to iPhone users when they are in areas that are being affected by an imminent threat or a crisis, including tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and AMBER alerts. These alerts are transmitted automatically to your iPhone when you are in the danger zone.

Note that WEA alerts require an iPhone running iOS 14 or later and may not work on all carriers. You can check the status of your WEA service by visiting the official website for your government or by contacting your local emergency management agency. If you’re unable to enable critical alerts, there may be an issue with your carrier or your iPhone. You can try performing a soft reset to fix this issue.


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