Tonight, get live US election results right on your phone's lock screen

Jane Spencer
·3-min read

On the night of the US presidential election, the Guardian is offering readers a unique way to get live, up-to-the minute election results delivered to their mobile phones.

What is it?

When results start coming in on Tuesday evening, we’ll send one mobile alert that will automatically update with the latest national vote count data over the course of the night. Without a tap, a search or the opening of an app, you can follow the vote tally and key developments live on your phone’s lock screen. (That’s the screen on your phone when you’re not actively using it.)

This alert will be one of the fastest ways to receive election results on Tuesday and beyond. Since we don’t know how long it will take to count the votes this year – whether it will be hours, days or weeks – the election alert will keep counting until the election is called by the Associated Press, though you can minimize it any time.

How do I sign up?

The alert is available free worldwide on both iOS and Android devices to anyone who downloads the Guardian’s mobile app.

If you’re in the US: If you already have the Guardian app and you’re signed up to breaking news notifications in the US, you don’t need to do anything – you’ll automatically receive the live election alert. But if you need to download the app or you’re not already signed up to receive notifications, you can follow these steps:

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for “The Guardian”

  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version

  • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications

  • Turn on “US Election 2020” notifications

If you’re outside the US:

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for “The Guardian”

  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version

  • In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications

  • Turn on “US Election 2020” notifications

What will I receive?

If you sign up, you’ll receive a single continuously updating notification that will sit on your phone’s lock screen as results come in on election night and beyond. The notification will show the most up-to-date numbers of electoral votes won.

You can then expand the alert (on Android, pull down; on iOS, either hard-press or swipe sideways to tap “View”) and see a breakdown of the popular vote and information such as how many states have been called, plus options to tap through to the Guardian live blog or a page of full results.

What if I decide I want to stop getting alerts?

No problem. When the notification is expanded (pull down to expand notifications on Android, and either swipe sideways to tap “View” or hard-press to expand them on iOS) there will be buttons attached to the notification, including an option to Manage notifications (on iOS) or Stop (on Android). Tap that and you can unsubscribe. Alternatively, just go to Settings > Notifications in the app and turn off “US Election 2020” there

Who created the alert?

The project was developed in 2016 by the Guardian’s Mobile Innovation Lab, which was funded by the John S and James L Knight Foundation to explore news delivery on small screens. The 2020 version was developed by the Guardian Apps team, part of our product and engineering division. It is fed by live by data from the Associated Press, which has played a key role in assessing US election results since 1848.