A statewide Amber Alert was issued in California last night as authorities search for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson. James Lee DiMaggio, 40, is suspected of abducting the siblings from San Diego County on Saturday after he murdered their mother.

“California” and “#AmberAlert” zoomed up the Twitter trends chart as iPhone users received the alert. Amber Alerts are pushed to iPhone 4S and 5 phones running iOS 6.1.

But the trend wasn’t solely about concern for the kidnapped kids. Won’t somebody think of the iPhone owners?

https://twitter.com/kevinvarz/status/364627304145633280

https://twitter.com/THATDINODINCO/status/364627897807417344

Even the California Highway Patrol acknowledged that the Amber Alert “might have scared some of you.”

But when every second counts, the iPhone alerts are essential to raising awareness about abducted kids.

An upside to the freak-out: The trending Twitter topic brought much-needed attention to the abduction of Hannah and Ethan.

Here’s what the suspect looks like without facial hair.

For the record, the notifications can be disabled.

Related:

iPhone users freaked out by iOS 6 Amber Alert notice of missing 2-year-old Florida girl; Update: Girl is OK!

iPhone users still freaked out by Amber Alerts; Update: missing toddler in Flint, MI found

  • CatHerder

    Okay, but where’s the demo of this ‘terrifying’ sound?

    • http://erickbrockway.com/ Erick Brockway

      I was just looking in my settings and there’s no preview button for it

    • Guest
      • CatHerder

        Dang, I was expecting something more along the lines of an air raid siren. Sheesh!

        • grais

          jeeze. I think these folks might be a bit on edge to begin with.
          I sure hope they can recover from such a fright. *eyeroll*

          • Michael Anderson (WB)

            If I woke up to that in the middle of the night it could be a bit confusing, but during the day no.

          • http://www.thedailymel.com Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

            It might not seem so scary during daylight hours when one has had their morning coffee. I assure you though, it scared the crap out of me last night when it woke me up blaring through my Jambox speaker. The second one came today during my morning commute in L.A. right as I was performing a lane change. It wasn’t quite as scary as the one that woke me up, but it was very disconcerting to say the least blaring through my car speakers.

          • RLEE

            bet the abducted kids a bit scared as well

          • Allan Hamilton

            Please suck it up and get over it…for the kids.

          • $48245650

            When you grow up in an area that encounters tornadoes, the sound has a deeper meaning than “omg what is that noise?”

            Being on edge is one thing, but you should be rolling your eyes at your fellow people who would rather not be bothered with information about an emergency. I only sympathize with them on the issue of the alert tone

        • Rob

          I got the THX intro sound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWkJ86JqlPA Just faster.

      • http://www.thedailymel.com Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

        I just went and listened to this video. That’s not what it sounded like at all.

      • RblDiver

        Sounds like some sort of “Incoming bomb” alert you might get in a scify movie (or “Terminators Online” or something)

      • dtom_molonlabe

        That’s not what the iPhone does.

      • broketheinterweb

        Haha wow, I was bracing myself to hear it again and that video is most definitely not the sound iPhone users got. The iPhone alert actually did sound just like a mix between blaring end-of-the-world air raid siren and a very loud tornado alert. Obv I hope the kids get home safe immediately, just wanted to clarify why people were so disturbed by the sound initially.

    • dtom_molonlabe

      It’s the ALARM tone in the Alert Tones section of the iPhone

    • $48245650

      My iPhone 5 was set to “vibrate” so that’s all it did. My girlfriend’s LG Android somethingorother made this tone in something like 2-3 second intervals:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRxrCBvt7TM

  • Russ

    just curious if anyone noticed that it said they’re facing “bolidy” harm

    • HalleysFifth

      If you’ve ever had your bolidy harmed, then you know how painful it can be.

  • http://erickbrockway.com/ Erick Brockway

    I don’t want them doing this type of alert for every ex that doesn’t bring the kids back on time, but this maggot killed a woman and one of her kids.
    That girl is in trouble.

    • MarcusFenix

      Since it’s an Amber Alert, those have historically been pretty consistent in those regards..so if it’s going off, it’s 99% likely that it’s the real deal.

  • rambler

    Welcome to the new norm. If people don’t like getting amber alerts then they will have lots of fun when the fed gov takes over their phones with gov messages. Notice how we pay for the phones and other entities get to hi-jack them for their own purposes. Some of these messages can be deactivated but the gov ones can not.

  • $29561723

    By making the alert intrusive and jarring, they are encouraging users to diable or silence the notifications. Good job. Change the defaults.

  • Lamebrains

    Why is the state and government taking over my property without my permission. Can I put the government on the do not call me, text me, bother me list??!

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      No, you can’t opt out of the government alerts. Sigh.

    • betzinva

      See above, if you are uninterested in helping. Amber Alerts don’t strike me as the kind of “government intrusion” that I resent, but rather an attempt to protect kids. Feel free to make it all about you.

      • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

        Why yes you’re SO right! After all there’s no better way to do it, I think owning an Iphone should be a mandated part of being a US resident, just like health care!

        PS – seriously — if that’s ALL it was, I think a lot of us wouldn’t mind.

        • betzinva

          I grasp that the government goes beyond any sensible measure in almost everything it does. It is choosing Amber Alerts as poster children for the overreach that chaps me. It’s a bit like complaining about the Emergency Broadcast System cutting in to warn about a tornado bearing down on you. Unfortunately, our phones and cable/dish services are carried through 3rd parties who can interrupt our regularly scheduled lives whenever they chose. If I could build my very own cell tower and run my very own service, it would be a different matter, even then it’s a “frequency” issue(to revive the legend that is Dan Rather,blecchh). Back to the future of CB’s?

    • Jeff Coil

      Yes, so what if those children DIE! Better they die than you be inconvenienced.

      • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

        ………

      • badgerpit

        We all know that government does not give a crap about children, so what are they really trying to accomplish here? You seem eager to find out.

        • $48245650

          Speak for yourself. The government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and most people have hearts.

          • badgerpit

            I agree that most people have hearts, but that is not a desirable trait for top shelf politicians. These are the same politicians that routinely kill children with drones, poison with our foods and waters, abuse with our heartless cps programs, destroy their minds with our ‘education’ system, and on and on. You live in a fantasy if you really believe that our government cares about its people. Judging by your quote it sounds like you have bought into the ‘American Dream’ so clearly you are still sleeping.

          • pgson

            Not to mention, abortion. Yeah, they’re just about the children. No, they use murder as a women’s health “right” issue.

          • $48245650

            Well, I clearly don’t live in whatever world you’re in, so I’m not able to help you here. Best of luck to you.

    • pgson

      Here in MD, my dad got a text on his about some other area than we live in having a police exercise. And yet, we never asked for such a warning. Must be a similar program as out there, meaning it’s probably happening everywhere.

  • Guest

    To disable alerts in iPhone:
    Go to SETTINGS..
    then NOTIFICATIONS..
    scroll all the way to the bottom and deselect Government Alerts.

    • in_awe

      In my new Samsung S4, I can disable all government alerts except “Presidential Alerts”. I can hardly wait for the 1st one of those from Dear Leader.

      • $48245650

        And I’m sure you’d be equally outraged if Mittens was in the White House.

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          Everything I need to know about Dear Leader, I learned from Commies.

          • $48245650

            eagerly awaiting your point

  • SpaceRacer423

    Im fine with the Amber alert being sent to the iPhones.
    However there should be a choice in alert sounds.
    People driving don’t need a loud random distraction.
    Your phone should make the same noise that is set for a text or email alert.
    That said, the real thing we should be worried about is the kids.
    I pray that the are recovered unharmed, and offer my most heartfelt condolences for the loss of their mom.

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      Totally agree about the sound choice. Jeebus. They really need to give us at least that flexibility. The loud random distraction could cause accidents, true, but this means that anyone who is working in a situation requiring physical skills and concentration must now turn their phones off. BTW, I responsibly put my on Do Not Disturb (which was on during this alert – but the alert comes through anyway). I couldn’t help but think about what it was like sitting vigil with my mom while she was dying (and I was occasionally texting out updates to more distant family members). Would be horrifying if she had had to be jarred back into consciousness by this sound. I guess I need a different phone.

      • Guest

        YOU REALLY ARE A SELFISH BASTARD

      • Jeff Coil

        You really are a selfish prick.

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          If ordinary citizens are going to be expected to aid the police in the performance of their duties, they should expect to be able to exercise their right to bear arms like a police officer. After all, this is essentially calling a posse and deputizing everyone with one of these phones. You’re seriously expecting citizens — o pardon me, RESIDENTS- to perform the task of law enforcement without the tools of law enforcement?

          • Nikadile

            I guess the idea is more “volunteer search team” than “volunteer police force” – like rounding up a bunch of neighbors to help search for a lost child/pet/whatever. I don’t think a “resident” would be at all expected to deal with a kidnapper, they’d just be on the lookout for the kids/man/car and call the cops if they saw anything.

          • $48245650

            The AMBER alert asks people to call 911 or local law enforcement, not to shoot anyone. And that’s with good reason.

    • RLEE

      I think it should be a different tone from others so you know to look ASAP but not one that will scare people

    • Jeff Coil

      If that was the case, how many people would ignore it? The whole point is that an Amber Alert is a LIFE AND DEATH EMERGANCY. Following your logic, maybe fire alarms in public schools should play soothing elevator music so they don’t “scare” anybody.

      • SpaceRacer423

        no a fire is an immediate danger.
        An Amber Alert is a way for the police to extend a BOLO to the public.
        Its not like anyone is going to spring outa bed to look out the window for the car or suspect.

  • ce

    It is too bad that a horrible implementation of something that could be useful is going to end up on the immediately disabled feature of the iphone list because people are annoyed that it is waking them up in the middle of the night. I don’t mind getting these alerts during the day when I am out and could possibly be seeing the subject of the amber alert but to be woken up in the middle of the night when I have no hope of even coming close to helping …. well that falls into the massive fail category on software implementation!

    • WorldsAStageDrK

      Yep – the alerts should respect our Do Not Disturb. I do NOT get up at 11 pm to go roam the freeways (ever) looking for murderous kidnappers. I DO drive the freeways four days a week and am happy to join in the search – and I do read all text messages that come in during the night.

      I have lots of responsibilities as it is, and I have a little sleep routine to keep me alert during the day. Fortunately, you can turn the Amber Alerts off – but what a misguided system, to make us have to do that.

      • Jeff Coil

        A little selfish, are we? If your precious sleep is more important than the lives of children, why don’t you JUST TURN THE G-D PHONE OFF.

        • dtom_molonlabe

          Maybe, but isn’t that his right?

        • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

          Really, wtf baby, you expect everybody to go running out of the house in the middle of the night like a firehouse team? You got a issue, man.

          • mike_in_kosovo

            He skipped issues and went straight to entire subscriptions.

  • Sterling Hallbrook

    You know what’s more absolutely terrifying? Many of these people voted for Obama. Twice.

    • Nikadile

      Just out of curiosity, what does Obama have to do with this? Amber Alerts have been around for years, and I kinda doubt he cares too much about them.

  • http://www.nleomf.org/officers/ FlatFoot

    It wasn’t solely Apple iPhones ffs. The manufacturer of cell phones has jack squat to do with any and every alert. It’s Federal Law that applies to all cell phones sold in the U.S. and its territories. I got the very same Amber Alerts on my Android phone. There were a total of two alerts. It emits the same exact same sound tones as when you get broadcast alerts on your TV.

    You can opt in or opt out by simply ticking/unticking a box in the phone settings.

    • $48245650

      It’s Twitchy. You didn’t come here expecting the whole story, did you?

      Of course not. Because all iPhone users are liberal commie socialist hippie stoner marxist slackers or some damn thing

  • anonymoose

    Honestly the fact that you can turn these alerts off but you can’t change the sound they make is retarded. Time for a fix.

    • Jeff Coil

      The point of the annoying sound is to get you to look at your phone.

      • anonymoose

        Dude, I look at my phone if it makes a buzz sound, I look at my phone if it didn’t make ANY sounds, I don’t need a loud alarm at 11pm when I just laid down to bed. I understand that they want to notify as many people as possible so that the kidnapped children are found ASAP, but if we have the choice to NOT get the messages, where is the reason to not change the sounds?

      • $48245650

        You and @disqus_Qva25fMgsz:disqus both have points I agree with.
        The AMBER Alert sound certainly needs to be distinct, but also different than an Emergency Alert System tone. I hate to put it this way, but AMBER Alert situations simply aren’t as severe as, say, a tornado, and therefore they should have a different alert sound. Perhaps a series of beeps that makes “AMBER” in Morse code, and then stops, would suffice.

        Also a quarterly test of the system during non-sleeping hours would calm some nerves.

    • mike_in_kosovo

      You should be able to limit the range, as well. I can’t do much for an Amber Alert from 300 miles away.

  • Jeff H

    Reason #459 I don’t own an iPhone.

    • dtom_molonlabe

      Not just iPhones. It’s most newer phones/wireless carriers on the market in agreement with the local governments.

      Think of a better reason. Im sure 458 are SO great.

      • $48245650

        He’s just looking for something to validate his decision to take a free-with-contract android instead of paying for something better.

        • Carmine Ventura JR

          Iphones have become the smart phone of the senior citizen. They are obsolete . Android has surpassed them years ago.
          Not to mention the iPhones defective antenna problem that is still not fixed.

        • Jeff H

          No, I don’t own/use a smartphone. Could not care less about iPhone vs. Android, or those who do care. I don’t want/need a smartphone. I don’t need technology to validate my manhood. I am beyond placing inappropriate value on “things”

          Sorry you can’t understand that.

          • $48245650

            Props to you, sir. I apologize for misrepresenting you. You just sounded like someone else.

          • Jeff H

            Thank you for a reasoned and polite reply.

        • Jeff H

          No, I don’t own/use a smartphone. Could not care less about iPhone vs. Android, or those who do care. I don’t want/need a smartphone. I don’t need technology to validate my manhood. I am beyond placing inappropriate value on “things”

          Sorry you can’t understand that.

  • Susan Michelle Kirkland

    I had an IPhone and received a couple of alerts when in west Virginia. DUH Freaking HUH people. Its supposed to scare the hades out of you to get your attention. Its an AMBER ALERT. They want you to be on notice because there are lives at stake. Californians amaze me with their stupidity.

    • yummyflan

      Not all Californians are stupid or thinking only of themselves.

      • Rena

        But sadly many do.. I lived there most of my life and they are very spoiled and apathetic.. if it doesn’t concern them personally then they don’t want to be bothered…

  • Readhed

    NOT just IPhones, got it on my Android last night. Scared the beejeezus outta me!

  • DWAAP

    I understand that the noise of the Amber Alert is scary, but think of the children being held against there will, thinking that may be more terrifying!

  • Donna W

    I wouldn’t doubt it..I signed up for a weather alert, and when that thing went off, I thought the world was ending.

  • Kristin

    If these were my kids, I wouldn’t give a crap who got woken up or startled and neither would you.

  • alumin

    I have an older iphone and did NOT get this alert! I guess it’s only on the new phones.

  • PeriMedic

    Serious question: Has an Amber Alert ever found a kid? Or is it one of those, “Let’s do something so everyone feels better”? If it has found kids, then carry on.

    • Jeff Coil

      Short answer: yes. Plenty. Sorry don’t have the actual reports.

      • PeriMedic

        That’s OK; I’ll believe you :) Keep ’em coming then.

      • Joe_Pace

        Jeff, I’ve looked back over your posts via Disqus and while you and I seem to be on the same side politically, you’ve wasted your efforts on a tremendous amount of personal attacks and name-calling toward anyone who disagrees with you.

        That being said, I don’t think we need a blaring sound for these alerts. A popup message is enough.

    • dtom_molonlabe
  • alvin691

    Welcome to your invitation to the collective, thanks to Bloomberg. They did a pilot project in NYC, now the FCC requires it on all phones.

  • http://www.black-and-right.com/ IceColdTroll

    Hmm, the suspect looks like a White Mediterranean to me.

  • Carmine Ventura JR

    Go to settings, notifications, turn off amber alerts.
    they should ban this crap anyway.

    • Chaitealover

      Yeah, we wouldn’t want you wasting your precious time keeping an eye out for a pair of kids who have been abducted by the man who just murdered their mother.

      • ImJustAGuy

        He’s a Feral Democrat!
        Beware of Feral Democrats! They do dumb and dangerous things.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        I am not a cop. . . that is what THEY get paid for.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        Thats why we have cops. . . its what we pay THEM for.

    • $48245650

      I’ll leave mine on in case your children get abducted.

      You’re welcome.

      • Carmine Ventura JR

        Won’t happen, I am a serious practitioner of the second amendment . And If I need your help I will ask for it.

        Your welcome.

        • $48245650

          What about my welcome?

  • mike_in_kosovo

    They have them in Android, too – I about jumped out of my skin the first time it went off!

  • Guest

    I’ve been receiving Amber Alerts on my cell phone for at least a year. Probably have received 3 during this time period. The sound is annoying for a reason, to get your attention. These knuckle-heads need to get a grip. They only do it when children’s lives are in imminent danger.

  • pgson

    They should instead have patrol cars zoom through the neighborhoods with loud train horns, and bull horn messages. The babied Californians would really be upset then.

  • Guest

    Luckily Android now lets me shut this stupid thing off! I hated that abotu the iPhone but supposedly the new iPhone OS will give you the option to turn it off… As well as any presidential alerts, last thing i give a rats azz about is what MaoBama has to say.

    • yummyflan

      Yeah, those abducted kids are so horrible. They should have been kidnapped at a more opportune time for you. Sorry that an alert woke you up when they might be dead. You’re a sorry specimen of humanity.

      • Guest

        I have a California number but live in Texas, it SURE was helpful wasn’t it?

      • Rena

        Wow talk about no compassion… Hope you never have to go through this hell in your lifetime.. you do know that even though you may be in Texas, this monster could be traveling there. But I guess it would be too much to ask for a few moments of your time to be aware.. or alert as this is what its for…

        • Guest

          blah blah blah….

          • Rena

            Does it make you feel like a big man being able to be so heartless? I pity you…

          • Guest

            You know nothing about me…. I donate A LOT of my time to HAVA, WW Project and St. Judes as well as a big brother… tell me again how heartless I am? I just dont’ want or need the government accessing my phone.

          • Rena

            What are you looking for brownie points. Your attitude about this sad event negates your so called “good deeds”. As I said earlier you dont know where that monster is traveling he might just go there and here is something to back that up now…

            “Shortly after Oregon put out the alert, the Washington State Patrol
            followed suit. Authorities believe that DiMaggio might be heading toward
            Texas or Canada with the two.”

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/08/dad-missing-kids-asks-suspect-to-turn-self-in/#ixzz2bPLXmDVs

            But I guess its still too much to ask for someone of your nature to care about this alert… So much for your good heart, seems pretty dark to me when you can turn your back on someone in danger…

            Its obvious that a few moments of your life is too high a price to become aware of a child who has been kidnapped or missing… And I will tell you again you are heartless if you can’t be “bothered” to just keep a look out for these kids or any who have entered the alert system…

  • conservative2012

    I bet those poor kids are much more terrified. I just hope they’re found safe and soon.

  • Sternness

    I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and I got an alert on my iPhone (same sound) that was warning of a flash flood in the area.

  • yugi

    Chill up, iphone dumbards, I’ve got this alert twice on my Samsung Android phone. It’s not iphone specific.

  • John Smith

    Not only iPhones got this. Any carrier with a smart phone that allows receiving alerts. I got it on my Android. That reminded to me to turn that feature off. But then again, no one is accusing iPhone users of being smart.

  • Alice Liddell

    I can’t believe there are people angry about this! yes the sound might be annoying but these are children’s lives we are talking about!! I will experience am annoying noise or two if it will help bring these children home safe. Shame on all you who dont want to be “bothered”.

  • fletc3her

    The sound came out of multiple iPhones at my house and it took us a moment to locate it. At first I thought the fire alarm was going off. It really needs to be toned down. Honestly just a text message sound would be fine.