Here’s why you received a text from Trump on your phone

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

On Wednesday, October 3, a majority of Americans received a text message with the header “Presidential Alert.” That’s right: The President of the U.S. texted you — sort of.

The message wasn’t political pandering, or merely a chance to say hello, but rather a test of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) messaging system designed to warn people about disasters — and allow the president to quickly communicate with the American people in the event of emergencies.

The message itself read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System.” It’s basically a mobile version of the same types of tests that are commonplace on TV and radio. It is not the first time that mobile networks have been used for similar messages. For example, Amber Alerts, which warn the public about a missing child, have been sent to cell phones for some time.

However, this is the first time that FEMA has tested its mobile system on the presidential level, and the organization’s website admits that it has some issues that it hopes this test will resolve before it is needed in a real emergency. Unlike other emergency alerts, there is no way to opt out of the presidential alerts. But the system is designed to be used sparingly, so it is unlikely we’ll see them too often.

One thing worth noting is the effort that FEMA made to prepare the public for this test. In addition to the organization’s press release, the message itself contained the words “THIS IS A TEST.” FEMA is likely hoping to avoid a repeat of the debacle surrounding Hawaii’s system test, which sent out a false alarm regarding an inbound missile.

While this particular test didn’t make mention of any specific emergency, many people probably are not familiar with the presidential alert system, so the precautions were warranted. Assuming your phone is on and your wireless provider is part of the wireless emergency alert system — more than 100 carriers are — you should’ve seen the message appear on your phone at around 2:18 p.m. (ET).

Of course, as you might expect Twitter had a field day with the alerts.

Once you receive the alert, you can easily clear it from your notifications or lock screen. While you can’t turn off Presidential alerts, it is possible to turn off AMBER alerts for both Android and iOS.

Updated October 3: FEMA sends out a text to test Presidential Alert Mobile Messaging System

Mobile

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Mobile

No cash. No talking. What goes next? Welcome to your ‘app-tive’ digital life

Bank of America's 2018 Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found mobility has changed our lives. Mobile tech influences how most of us communicate, meet people, build relationships, and handle money as we move toward a cashless society.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Computing

Cloudflare’s privacy-enhancing 1.1.1.1 DNS service comes to iOS and Android

Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver service has been ported to mobile devices, and now anyone with an Android or iOS device can download it for free to take advantage of its speed and privacy-boosting features.
Mobile

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Instagram tool accidentally exposes user passwords. Were you affected?

Instagram's Download Your Data tool accidentally exposed the passwords of a small number of users. Here is the explanation on what happened, and how to find out which Instagram accounts were compromised.
Mobile

New iPad Pro’s durability in question after it fails YouTuber’s bend test

The new iPad Pro models failed a bend test that was carried out by popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything. The result raises questions about the durability of the tablets, especially since customers are also reporting bending issues.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Mobile

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you need some extra storage space and your device supports it, then a MicroSD card is an obvious place to start. Here, we look at what to consider and suggest some of the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone.