The warning day is over. At 11 a.m. sharp, Germany rehearsed the disaster scenario. For the first time, Germans were also warned by SMS. But the important test warning was not received everywhere. FOCUS online says what you should do for the next warning day in September 2023.

Millions of smartphone devices should actually display the warning from the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. But not all devices received the important test message.

This is very important in the event of a disaster. Explosive: Even the all-clear, which was supposed to be sent at 11.45 a.m., did not reach everyone.

The warning message is only received by switched-on smartphones. Also, the device must not be stuck in flight mode.

Because the smartphone is an important tool for informing those affected in a life-threatening situation, you should change this setting as soon as possible.

If you have an Apple device (iPhone), then change this under “Settings” and under “Notifications”. Scroll to the bottom and check all boxes under “Official Alerts” or “Cell Broadcasting”.

Depending on the iPhone, “Test message” may also be listed there. If you do not find any information under this menu item, you should definitely update the operating system of your iPhone device.

For Android devices (Samsung, Huawei, Google Pixel, Xiaomi, OnePlus), you can turn on alerts under Settings, then Advanced Settings, then SMS Messaging. You must turn on the “Mobile Emergency Notifications” field. Given the large number of brands and different menu navigation, the setting can also be directly visible under “Settings” and then “Security and emergencies”.

If the warnings are already activated and you still haven’t received an SMS, it could also be your smartphone.

The warnings are sent via “cell broadcasting”. It is an official system set up by the authorities and the telecommunications providers.

The “Cell Broadcasting” system only works on devices that continue to receive operating system updates from Apple and Google. The prerequisite is: By default, iPhones are ready to receive if the operating system is up to date.

If you have iOS 16 installed on iPhone, you should upgrade to at least iOS 16.1 version. If you are using iOS 15, you should install version 15.6.1. By the way, the latest versions are iOS 16.1.2 and iOS 15.7.1.

If you still have iOS 13 and iOS 14 installed on your smartphone and no further updates are made available to you, your cell phone is out of date for “Cell Broadcasting”.

The following applies to Android devices: “Cell Broadcasting” is supported from version 11.

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The test SMS of December 8 contains the following message:

emergency alarm


Thursday, December 8th, 2022 – 10:59 a.m. – test warning – for Germany

There is no danger.

More information at

Published by: Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, National Warning Center 1 Bonn

You should then definitely install warning apps to be informed in the event of a disaster. This includes, for example, NINA, the official federal warning app. But warning apps such as BIWApp and Katwarn also issue official civil protection warnings. Official weather warnings are available in the WarnWetter app from the German Weather Service (DWD).

Also read: The colleagues at “CHIP”-Online explain how the warning SMS works

With the warning message via mobile phone, affected people can be informed quickly about important life-threatening events such as natural hazards, dangerous weather warnings, terrorist attacks or serious accidents in chemical plants.

This is particularly important in the event of a disaster. The displayed text message is 500 characters long, graphics and images cannot be sent. In the event of a disaster, the warning message states what the danger is and what those affected must do.

The disaster in the Ahr Valley in July 2021 clearly showed the weaknesses in German civil protection. Many of those affected were not warned in time. 180 people died in the flood disaster. At the time, the federal government declared that it wanted to make adjustments to civil protection.

The next warning day is September 8, 2023.

A lot went wrong on the first nationwide warning day on September 10, 2020. Among other things, the message from the warning apps Nina and Katwarn only arrived on the smartphones a good half hour late.

If it had actually been an emergency, many citizens would not have noticed.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior had described the then warning day fiasco as “failed”.

A warning day originally planned for September 2021 was canceled again. The reason given at the time was that the BBK first wanted to “build a comprehensive test landscape”.

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