The recently released Apple iOS version 17 allows for an additional information box to be included with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) alerts.
The instruction field can be found under the WEA message boxes. If Emergency Alert System (EAS) is also included, this box will be grayed out. There can be only one information field per alert, so if EAS is included, the information in that field will be copied down to the WEA alert.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a new field to fill out?
No, it's the same field that has always been used for Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Non-Weather Emergency Message (NWEM) messages.
What devices will display this information?
Only Apple devices with iOS 17 or higher will support viewing this information. Apple Watches can be configured to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), but they are not compatible at this time for viewing the extra information block.
Is there a character limit?
There is a limit of 600 characters that will display on iOS 17 devices and will truncate any characters beyond that point. For EAS, the Instruction field has a shared character limit with the Description field which is significantly more characters. For readability, we recommend not going over the 600-character limit in this block.
Will the IPAWS Message Viewer show the Instruction field for WEA?
The instructions field is visible for EAS right now, but a specific view for WEA Instructions is not available yet.
What Models of iPhone will support iOS 17?
Apple states iOS 17 will cover all iPhone models from 2018 to current.
Will links and phone numbers in the Instruction field be clickable?
Yes. They will perform in the same way as links and phone numbers in WEA messages currently display.