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Explore our frequently asked questions.

How do I sign up to get earthquake early warning alerts?

If you live in California, Oregon, or Washington and have location services turned to 'Always On' and/or you have a HomeBase location set, you will automatically receive earthquake early warning alerts for magnitude 4.5 or greater quakes if your last known location or HomeBase location are the in areas of estimated light-heavy shaking. Alerts can arrive before, during, or after shaking. You will not receive an alert for all felt events, only those that meet the above criteria. To hear what the alert sounds like click 'Play the Alert Sound' on the settings page. To see what the alert card looks like, click 'See the Alert Image' on the settings page.

How do I sign up for custom earthquake notifications?

Custom earthquake notifications are educational content, NOT early warnings. They will arrive several minutes after an earthquake has occurred and analysis has been done to determine key characteristics. You can set up to three custom locations you want to receive notifications for by going to Settings and clicking on Custom Earthquake Notifications. Location services are not required to be on to receive these notifications.

What is HomeBase?

The HomeBase backup location feature will give people living in California, Oregon, and Washington the option to define one default location for which they would like to receive earthquake early warning alerts. The app will audibly alert for magnitude 4.5 or greater quakes if your last known location or HomeBase location are in the areas of light-heavy shaking. HomeBase is an always-on default location, so if a quake impacts your HomeBase, you will receive an alert, no matter where your device actually happens to be. Alerts can arrive before, during, or after shaking. You will not receive an alert for all felt events, only those that meet the above criteria. To hear what the alert sounds like click 'Play the Alert Sound' on the settings page. To see what the alert card looks like, click 'See the Alert Image' on the settings page.

Do you store my HomeBase address?

No, the street address is only used to identify the grid square your HomeBase is located in. You can see this confirmation on the map as a teal square when you set your HomeBase. We store this square, not the specific address.

Should I have location services set to always on for MyShake?

Yes! If you are in California, Oregon, or Washington and would like to receive earthquake early warning alerts, location services are encouraged so that we can determine if your device is in the impacted area of shaking with the most up to date location information. Globally, the citizen science research project also uses device locations to pinpoint the area of the globe where MyShake records earthquake events. For regular notifications and general app functionality, like the safety pages and submission of experience reports, location services are not required.

Do I still need to have location services turned on if I have set a HomeBase?

You can choose to turn location services 'off' and still receive alerts in California, Oregon, and Washington. However, alerts will only be sent to your device if shaking is expected in your HomeBase region. If you are travelling and an earthquake occurs near your current location, but your location services are Off, MyShake will not know to alert you at your current location. Also, we use location services as part of MyShake's citizen science effort, to detect and characterize earthquakes around the world. Leaving your location services on will also aid in this effort. Keep in mind that alerts will only go to your device if either your last known location or HomeBase is in the affected area.

What does MyShake do with the data it collects?

MyShake uses data provided by citizen scientists to locate moderate to large earthquakes globally, determine their magnitude, and characterize the shaking. MyShake seismologists can also use this data to learn more about earthquake dynamics in areas without traditional networks. This research could lead to the development of earthquake early warning technology in these areas

Does having battery saving mode 'on' affect the quality of the app?

As a system setting on your app operating system, battery saving mode can impact our ability to deliver alerts and notifications in a timely manner. The MyShake-specific battery saving mode, found on Android devices in the MyShake settings page, will prevent the app from collecting seismic data. On some older devices, this will help reduce battery drain, but testing with newer phones has shown that MyShake doesn't really impact battery health. Enabling battery saving mode significantly impacts your contributions to citizen science, so we recommend keeping battery saving mode 'off' if possible.

What is a Plus Code?

The Plus Code is for internal testing purposes. Please ignore this setting.

Can I add multiple Homebases?

We are contemplating adding the ability for users to set multiple Homebases. The earthquake early warning will be delivered if any of the Homebases is in an earthquake alert area. Until this capability is available, please set your primary location as your Homebase, and enable Location Sharing. You may do that through your phone settings (Settings -> Location -> MyShake -> Allow all the time on Android, Settings -> MyShake -> Location -> Always on iPhone). NOTE: Both Android and iPhone will periodically ask you to review and/or restrict the location permissions that you have given for MyShake.

What is the difference between Notifications and Alerts?

On MyShake, Notifications are educational information sent when an earthquake is added to the United States Geological Survey global catalog and it can take a few minutes to receive this information after the quake is over and scientists using high-quality instruments can confirm its characteristics. This information arrives on your phone as a simple push notification with no further instructions. This is different than earthquake early warning alerts. Alerts are powered by the USGS ShakeAlert system, and these messages are only delivered in California, Oregon, and Washington to devices which have a last known location or Homebase in the area of light-heavy shaking for a magnitude 4.5 or larger earthquake. These alerts will come with audible and visual instructions to drop, cover, and hold on.

USGS ShakeAlert® system

MyShake uses ShakeAlert information, issued by the United States Geological Survey, to deliver alerts to users in California, Oregon, and Washington. Alerts will be delivered for magnitude 4.5 or greater earthquakes to users in the Modified Mercalli Intensity level 3 (light shaking) or higher areas. Alerts are not sent out for all felt events; they are designed to alert people for potentially damaging earthquakes. The USGS ShakeAlert System uses hundreds of high quality seismic stations accross the West Coast to detect earthquakes as they happen and issue ShakeAlert Messages. However, alerts are not earthquake predications! Rather they indicate that an earthquake has begun, and shaking is imminent. Additionally, for every earthquake, regions near the epicenter may not receive a warning before the shaking arrives. Remember to Drop, Cover, and Hold On when you get an alert, or when you feel shaking.

Will I get an alert?

We are a Licensed Operator for the USGS ShakeAlert project. MyShake delivers ShakeAlert-powered alerts across California, Oregon, and Washington for magnitude 4.5 or greater quakes to users in the areas of light to severe shaking. You will not be alerted for all felt events, only those that are estimated to potentially cause damage.

What does an alert look and sound like?

You can see and hear a demonstration of the alert card and alert sound in the app. Open the settings tab on your MyShake app and click on the "See the Alert Image" and "Play the Alert Sound" buttons.

I didn’t receive my ShakeOut test drill message for MyShake – Will I receive other messages and alerts?

In order to maximize your likelihood of receiving earthquake early warning alerts from the MyShake App, some notification settings on your phone may need to be changed. These settings may have been automatically disabled by your phone’s operating system if you haven’t opened the app in a long time. We recommend that in order to maximize the likelihood of receiving alerts, you go into your phone’s settings and 1. Enable notifications from the MyShake App, and 2. Ensure that unused app offloading is disabled for the app. For instructions on how to disable unused app offloading for each operating system, please see below: For Apple/iOS For Android

Will the alert go to my HomeBase or my phone location?

If an earthquake strikes either your HomeBase location or your last known phone location, you will receive an alert for the event. This could mean that you receive alerts for your HomeBase region while you and your device are currently elsewhere. HomeBase is a default that is 'always on'.

What is a custom earthquake notification?

Notifications are a custom feature of the MyShake app that let you get information about earthquakes you are interested in. You can get general information about earthquakes around the globe, or set a custom notification for a particular region of interest. Notifications are sent after an earthquake is published to the global catalog, this can take several minutes. If you do not wish to receive notifications about global events, please disable these under settings and then custom earthquake notifications. Phones in California, Oregon, and Washington will continue to receive earthquake early warning alerts even if no custom notifications are set.

How can my clear my Notification log?

Unfortunately, this is not a feature in the current version of the app. While we contemplate adding this capability in a future version, you may take any of the following actions:

  1. Ignore it. Even a year's worth of logs is no larger than a few MB. You may see this for yourself through your phone settings (Apps->Storage->Data on Android, General->Storage->MyShake->Documents & Data on iPhone).
  2. Clear the data through the same settings menu if your phone allows it. We do not recommend this approach since there are uncertainties about the state of the app once the data is wiped. If you do this, at minimum, please re-open the app immediately and ensure that it is functioning as expected.
  3. Uninstall and reinstall the app.

I felt a quake and it is not showing up on the map.

The map displays earthquakes globally at magnitude 3.5 or higher. If the felt quake was smaller than that threshold, it will not appear on the map. Users near the epicenter may experience a large shake, even for a small event. California, Oregon, and Wasington are all well instumented and the database is complete down to magnitude 3.5. Some areas of the globe are not as well instrumented, so sometimes an event may be registered locally as above magnitude 3.5, but still not appear on the map due to the incompleteness of the global database we are using.

I did not receive an alert.

This could be for one of several reasons. Please check that you have location services set to 'always on' or that you have a HomeBase location set. If the event you experienced was smaller than magnitude 4.5, no alert was sent. If your last known location or HomeBase are outside of the estimated light-heavy shaking areas, you will not receive an alert even if you did feel shaking. As the alerts are estimates, sometimes the final magnitude and areas of shaking are different than the estimate, which can result in over or under alerting. This is not a system failure, but rather a natural consequence of using preliminary data to rapidly calculate earthquake impacts. If all of the above are set properly, please check that your operating system has not turned off notifications from the MyShake app. This can sometimes happen when your device is set to Power Saving mode outside of the app. If you are still having this issue, please reach out to us at

I do not want to receive global alerts, just local ones.

You can change this. Please go to settings and then custom earthquake notifications. There you can set the default Global toggle to on or off. Here you can also set up to three custom notification areas by clicking 'Add New Location'. These notifications will be sent to you whenever an earthquake meeting your criteria is published to the USGS database, which usualy takes several minutes after the event.

Will MyShake alert me if my phone is on Do Not Disturb or Silent Mode?

It can! MyShake is Critical Alert capable on iOS and Android devices. When enabled, Critical Alerts will permit earthquake early warning alerts from MyShake to bypass Do Not Disturb or Silent mode. When the app is freshly installed, a pop-up window should automatically appear prompting you to enable the Critical Alert setting. Once you've set up Critical Alerts on your device, MyShake will not re-ask for subsequent updates. You can double check your phone's settings at anytime to see whether Critical Alerts are turned on for MyShake. Please be aware that Critical Alerts cannot bypass Power Saving mode.

If I am in a different location than my HomeBase, how will I know where the earthquake actually is?

Clicking on the alert should open up the app and, after closing the alert card, the map should show a temporary bullseye at the estimated location of the quake. The bullseye will be replaced with updated earthquake information as it becomes available.

Should the app always be running in the background?

We do recommend that the app stays running in your active app tray. We have done some testing to ensure that apps will receive notifications and alerts even if the app is closed or killed and those work well after several weeks of inactivity. However, we have no information on how Android or iOS will behave if the app has been closed for months. Testing is ongoing, but we would like to err on the safe side when making recommendations.

What is MyShake doing to improve accessibility for low-vision users?

MyShake is working with our stakeholders to make improvements to the app for the low-vision community. Specifically, we are improving our integration with VoiceOver. Some updates are now available in the latest version. We will continue to make improvements over time, but please reach out to us if you encounter any bugs or missing labels

Who can submit an Experience Report?

Anyone can submit an experience report about an earthquake. However, only users within the impact zone of an earthquake will have their reports used as citizen science data, which is shown in maps and circle charts on an earthquake's page. The impact zone is the estimated area where shaking might be felt from an earthquake and is based on an earthquake's magnitude.

How can I submit the app debug information for troubleshooting?

Open the app, and go into the settings menu, scroll all the way down till you see the version number in the bottom-right. If your version number is v3.1.16 or above, long-press on that version number. The app will reveal a bunch of numbers. Please copy paste those numbers and email to the MyShake team. If your version number is less than v3.1.16 please upgrade the app and try again.

What is earthquake early warning and how does it work?

Earthquake monitoring sensors are installed up and down the West Coast of the United States. When an earthquake begins, the sensors record the movement of the ground underneath them. The first seconds of motion (the preliminary waves) are sent to a central computer processing center, which uses an algorithm to estimate how big that earthquake is (magnitude), where it is located (epicenter), and how much the surrounding areas will shake (intensity). An alert is sent out to affected end users through a variety of communication systems. In many cases, the information can get to end users before the stronger, secondary wave shaking reaches their location.

How are earthquakes traditionally detected?

Traditionally, earthquakes are detected by highly specialized equipment that is installed by field engineers. These sensors can produce high quality readings and are sensitive to a range of shaking types, from the biggest ruptures down to the smallet tremor. However, the equipment is often expensive to create, install, and maintain so many communities are unable to sustain a comprehensive, up to date network.

How does my phone detect earthquakes?

Phones go into 'monitoring mode' when they are not being used for other things and have been lying still for several minutes. In monitoring mode, MyShake watches the accelerometer sensor (which detects vibrations and motion) for motion that looks like an earthquake. You can see how this accelerometer sensor works by going to the sensor tab on MyShake.

How can you differentiate between my movements and earthquakes?

MyShake's algorithm uses what's called a neural network to decide whether a motion looks like typical earthquake shaking or not. The algorithm is already good at this, and as a MyShake user, you're helping it get even better!

How good are the sensors in phones?

Some phones have better sensors than others. However, sensors continue to get more and more sensitive with newer smartphones. Our testing has shown that most modern phones in use today can record earthquakes down to magnitude 5. Bigger earthquakes are easier to detect, but when conditions are right and the phone sensor is the highest quality, we have even recorded the shaking of a train rolling past a town.

What is IRIS and what is a non mobile sensor?

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology ingests, curates, and distributes geoscience data. MyShake has partnered with them to give users more information about high quality earthquake sensors outside the MyShake network. "Non mobile sensors" are high-quality scientific instruments which are installed in the ground all around the world and which feed their data into the IRIS database. These high quality sensors are used by researchers around the world to learn more about earthquakes and the structure of the planet.

My battery is draining and/or How can I remove this earthquake detection feature?

The earthquake detection feature of the app is the citizen science project, where the accelerometer on your phone is monitored for earthquake like signals. In response to previous user complaints that this feature is draining the phone battery, we have made optimizations and eliminated this problem. However, if you still notice a substantial battery drain, please ensure you have the latest version of the app. Optionally, you may restrict this citizen science feature of the app by going to the app settings, ie, Settings -> Battery saving mode -> ON

What will MyShake do for the Great ShakeOut 2023?

MyShake is participating in the Great Shakeout 2023 drill. On October 19th at approximately 10:19am PST, MyShake will send a test alert for a fictitious M5.0 earthquake in San Francisco. This test alert will be sent to all users in California, Oregon and Washington. Prior to the ShakeOut drill, MyShake will send several notifications to its users announcing the ShakeOut test alert including:

  • A pre-drill notification sent 1 week before ShakeOut, October 12th at 8:00am

  • A pre-drill notification sent 1 day before ShakeOut, October 18th at 8:00am

  • A pre-drill notification sent the same day as ShakeOut, October 19th at 8:00am

Happy ShakeOut Drilling and remember to Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

I did not receive your ShakeOut notification. What should I do?

Have a look at your phone notification settings to make sure that you have not disabled notifications for the MyShake app. If you have notifications enabled, check your do-not-disturb setting. If your phone is set to Do Not Disturb mode, MyShake will not be able to send you notifications. You will also not receive notifications if MyShake is not allowed to run in your phone’s background. If you are reasonably certain that you should have gotten a notification and that your phone settings are not the reason why, the quickest fix is to uninstall and reinstall the app. After you have reinstalled MyShake, your phone will appear as a new device in our system and will be included in subsequent notifications/alerts. If you continue not to receive notifications, it is time to email us at

I clicked the notification, but didn't get to read it. What did the message say?

The following pre-drill notifications will be sent at 8:00am before the Great ShakeOut:

  • October 12th:
      ShakeOut TEST Drill NEXT WEEK!
      MyShake will be sending a TEST alert NEXT WEEK. When you get the alert, practice: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!
      MyShake enviará una alerta de PRUEBA la PRÓXIMA SEMANA. Cuando reciba la alerta, practique: ¡AGÁCHESE, CÚBRASE y SUJÉTESE!

  • October 18th:
      ShakeOut TEST Drill TOMORROW!
      MyShake will be sending a TEST alert TOMORROW at 10:19 am. When you get the alert, practice: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!
      MyShake enviará una alerta de PRUEBA MAÑANA a las 10:19 am. Cuando reciba la alerta, practique: ¡AGÁCHESE, CÚBRASE y SUJÉTESE!

  • October 19th:
      ShakeOut TEST Drill TODAY at 10:19am!
      MyShake will be sending a TEST alert TODAY at 10:19 am. When you get the alert, practice: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!
      MyShake enviará una alerta de PRUEBA HOY a las 10:19 am. Cuando reciba la alerta, practique: ¡AGÁCHESE, CÚBRASE y SUJÉTESE!

I am not in California, Oregon, or Washington. How can I participate in the ShakeOut drill?

MyShake only sends alerts to California, Oregon, and Washington. For this reason, the test alert and notifications for the Great ShakeOut will only be sent to users in California, Oregon, and Washington. We applaud your eagerness to participate in the Great ShakeOut and we encourage you to visit the ShakeOut website to plan your own ShakeOut drill and view participating organizations in your area.

How do I opt-out of the drill?

While we encourage you to participate in the ShakeOut drill, we recognize that there are people who might not want to receive a test alert. At this time, there is no way in the app to opt-out of the drill though we will consider adding this option to MyShake in the future.

It is possible to prevent the delivery of the test alert to your phone by temporarily disabling MyShake notifications. We recommend disabling MyShake notifications for a short time window such as from 10:00am to 11:00am on October 19th.

If you do not re-enable MyShake notifications after the test alert, you will not receive alerts for actual earthquakes!

To turn off MyShake notifications and alerts:

  • On iPhone:
    • Go to Settings → Notifications → MyShake → Turn off "Allow Notifications" AND "Critical Alerts"

  • On Android:
    • Go to Settings → Notifications → App Notifications → MyShake → Turn off “Allow notifications”

Turning off MyShake notifications may vary slightly depending on your device and operating system.

Still have a question?

We’d be happy to help. Email us at