UK Government Alerts

Is it possible to block or not evem allow the danger to life alerts from Governments sent via text?
Apparently these messages must be.acknowledged before the phone is fully useable again.

Android Settings>Apps and notifications>Emergency alerts>Notifications gives me the option to turn them off.

Ok cool :+1: Thats after they’ve sent it though, just wondering if it was possible to dodge it altogether :thinking:

That’s not how I interpret the wording, but perhaps your phone differs from mine.

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I am a curious guy :wink:
Why do want to turn off the “danger to life alerts”? Are you getting that many that it is a nuisance?


No not really, i just want as little to do with the Government as possible and I don’t trust their intentions. The last time they got my number (during Covid) I changed it asap.

in that case let me assure you that Cell Broadcast (the protocoll behind the those alerts) is anonymous by design and save for you to use.

Obviously your mobile has to be logged into a cell-tower (which probably is the case, right? Unless you are completely off-the-grid) to receive a Cell Broadcast message. So that much information is always “leaked” anyway.

Other than that there is no information running back. Cell Broadcast was designed with resiliency and scalability in mind. For that reason it is a protocol with no acknowledgement:
The cell-tower basically turns into something like a radio tower and keeps broadcasting (hence the name) the message to every connected device at a certain schedule.
The devices display the message the first time it receives it (and ignores it on subsequent times) but never ever call back to say “I got the message”. This is done on purpose in order not to overload the cell-tower with potentially thousand of synchronous acknowledgements.

what this means in short:

  • your phone gets the message anyway (as far as I know this is handled by the network chip and not the OS)
  • you only block that message from being displayed
  • either way nobody will EVER know whether or not you got the message

I would strongly suggest to turn the feature back on. The messages MIGHT actually be lifesaving and the privacy-gain by blocking them is literally non-existent.


Good points raised, I appreciate the knowledge :+1:


thank you

I don’t always know things
But when I do, I like to share

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By the way I think I made a mistake there.
I am pretty sure Cell Broadcast works even without a SIM card. So you don’t even have to be formally logged in at a cell tower. You just need to receive its signal.

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I just uninstalled everything to do with broadcast services via adb - haven’t noticed any ill effects but your mileage may vary. Obviously I don’t know if this will work until the test.

Probably not recommended in light of the informative post by agschaid.

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What I’m going to do is just put my sim in a dumbphone for a couple of days that way if there is anything nefarious about this alert, the Government will get as little information as possible.

Just let me point out that Cell Broadcast was in the GSM standard since the mid-1990s.
So whatever you are trying to protect yourself against, putting your SIM in dumbphone is probably not going to do the trick.

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I’m not so sure? I don’t doubt the info have have provided, however I don’t believe the notification will be sent via SMS?

From my understanding the UK Gov website is only talking about sending it through to smartphones and compatible tablets (I presume with LTE capability.)

However the same site does say the emergancy services have other means to communicate the message should you not have a compatible device. In which case what you have posted, may be the way they do it. Thanks for the info.

I don’t think putting the sim in a dumb phone is the best solution? In theory you may well miss out on the test run… but if/when it is used in real life you wouldn’t know when to switch the sim into the dumb phone if you don’t want to be warned. So it depends if you want to avoid just this test or the actual warnings in the future?

Likewise, the service may not be related to the OS/system apps I pointed to, as agshaid said it might be tied to hardware.

I’m not an expert by any means so take what I’m saying with a pinch of salt.

I have uninstalled those apps, I’ll be leaving my devices on to see if I get the notification. I can always report back if you’d like so you can figure out what you want to do? But as agshaid also said there wouldn’t be a way to know whether the notification came through and was just blocked.

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Can you give the link to the to that UK government site?

I am not from the UK. I just happened to hear lately that there is going to be some test run and that their system was based on cell broadcast. Maybe they do have an additional app?

is it that site?

Still looks like just cell broadcast to me. I know there is a list of compatible devices. I can only assume that this is what they tested it against . . . Cell-Broadcast should in theory also work with an ooooold Nokia (and as far as I know that was also what was seen in a simillar test in Germany last year)

Here is the link for UK Gov Alerts

Also I’m familar with Linux but hadn’t used android for years and even when I did was not savvy enough to work out the adb thing.

Initially I used this app GitHub - 0x192/universal-android-debloater: Cross-platform GUI written in Rust using ADB to debloat non-rooted android devices. Improve your privacy, the security and battery life of your device. I mention it because it gives descriptions for quite a few apps

I don’t know off the top of my head but can check later, the apps in question I just searched all packages and broadcast, and description is to do with emergancy alerts.

Greetings from the UK!

The site says “Emergency alerts work on all 4G and 5G phone networks in the UK.”
May THAT is an issue with old phones.
Not sure why they restrict it to 4G and 5G

I don’t know, like I say I’m not an expert.

I can say my new tablet came with the broadcast apps, pixel6a did too, old galaxy s8 does not have them most recent update on that thing is April 2021.

I can only assume it is tied to these broadcast apps. Which is why I’m quite looking forward to seeing if the notification gets through or what the alternative method is.