On Tuesday, a few Android users in the San Francisco Bay Area received a notification before the 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck close to San Jose. According to Android Authority, many people claimed on Twitter that they received earthquake alerts before iOS users did, which is a profound observation given that it usually works the other way around for upgrades.
In 2020, Google created a system that would send earthquake alerts to residents of California who own Android phones in conjunction with the USGS, Cal OES, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). With the help of ShakeAlert, the alert system would turn Android phones into miniature seismometers that would detect earthquakes and give people a brief window of time to run for cover before the shock waves hit.
Android users reported that they received the notifications five to ten seconds before they felt any shaking, indicating the effectiveness of Google’s earthquake alert system. Google’s vice president of engineering for Android, Dave Burke, tweeted a GIF of the Bay Area map showing Android phones lighting up before the earthquake as evidence of its effectiveness.
If you want your phone to detect earthquakes and you live in a place like California, Japan, Haiti, or even the Philippines, you may want to turn on Google ShakeAlert, a feature that comes standard with every Android phone. You can also download the Earthquake Alert! App or the MyShake app for added security.
Obtaining Google ShakeAlert
Android phones come pre-installed with Google ShakeAlert, which is used in California, Oregon, Washington, and a few other nations. To detect earthquake shaking, the system uses a network of 1657 sensors. The system then analyses the data to determine the size and location of the earthquake. The Android Earthquakes System is then notified to send notifications to Android phones immediately.
Two different earthquake alerts are sent by Android, but only for earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher. When you tap the notification, the Be Aware Alert notifies you of light shaking and provides more details. To get your attention and instruct you to Drop, Cover, and Hold—much like Stop, Drop, and Roll if you catch fire—the Take Action Alert bypasses your Do Not Disturb settings and plays a loud sound.
Follow these easy instructions if you want to enable this feature for your safety, regardless of whether you reside in those states or are simply traveling.
Step 1: Navigate to Settings.
Step 2: Click the Emergency and safety tab.
Step 3: Turn on earthquake alerts.
Using the MyShake app
Cal OES and UC Berkeley collaborated to create the MyShake app. It is utilized in California, Oregon, and Washington, just like ShakeAlert.
When it predicts there will be shaking, the app sends an earthquake alert notification, which directs you to a page that advises you to drop, cover, and hold on to something. The bullseye icon on the map will indicate the earthquake’s magnitude relative to your location and will remain there until more information about the quake is available. After ten minutes, the bullseye icon will be replaced by an orange dot, and tapping it will direct you to the earthquake information page.
Additionally, you can visit the earthquake event page, where you’ll find a map with hexagons representing reports from other app users. Here are some tips for using this app effectively.
Step 1: Download the MyShake app from the Google Play Store as the first step.
Step 2: Open the app, then choose Allow for location tracking, notifications, and alerts. By turning on your location settings, the app can determine whether you are in the affected area and send you earthquake alerts by determining the general location of your phone.
Step 3: Determine whether you reside in Washington, Oregon, or California.
Step 4: Review recent earthquakes, file an earthquake report and visit the Safety page to review safety precautions. The most crucial earthquake safety rule is to drop, cover, and hold; you’ll be reminded of this when you hear a loud alert that an earthquake is about to occur.
The Earthquake Alert! App: How to use it
The Earthquake Alert! An app is a fantastic option for folks who live in other nations that are earthquake-prone, even though it isn’t the most well-liked of the lot. Additionally, it offers additional functions than MyShake and ShakeAlert.
Step 1: download the Earthquake Alert! App from the Google Play Store, launch it and allow it to track your location.
Step 2: Select the Latest option to view a list of the earthquake magnitudes that have occurred in your area and other places around the globe.
Step 3: View the Map to have a visual understanding of the strength of earthquakes around the world. The red areas indicate magnitudes of 4.0 or higher, while the green spots indicate magnitudes of 3.0 or lower. You can identify which fault line your home is on by looking at the map’s purple fault line lines.
Step 4: Click the News tab to get the latest information on earthquakes occurring nearby and worldwide.
Step 5: Select the Stats option to view the number of earthquakes that have occurred in the last week, month, and today.
Step 6: Above all, notify USGS of any earthquakes you feel.
No matter where you live, whether you like it or not, earthquakes will always occur because tectonic plates are constantly shifting and have been doing so for millions of years. The more damage and casualties there are, the stronger they are. With the aid of these apps, you may better prepare for this natural disaster and help those who will be impacted by it by saving their lives.