How to Enable and Disable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications on iPhone
Apple and Google have teamed up to aid governments and health authorities in the fight against the SARS-COV2 / COVID-19 pandemic by releasing the first version of their COVID-19 exposure notification API for both iOS and Android devices. For iPhone users, this arrives as a COVID-19 exposure logging feature in iOS 13.5 and later that eventually may pair with regional apps for contact tracing.
Previously referred to as the contact tracing API, the tech giants aim to assist developers who’re working for health authorities in creating apps that can alert users if they’ve been in contact with an infected person. This is made possible by using Bluetooth to securely share your random IDs with nearby devices and collect their IDs. These IDs are then deleted after 14 days, which is the above average incubation period for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to opt-in to this anonymous logging and notification system. In this article, we’ll be discussing how you can enable or disable COVID-19 exposure logging and notifications on your iPhone.
How to Enable and Disable COVID-19 Exposure Logging & Notifications on iPhone
This feature is available to iPhone with iOS 13.5 and later, earlier devices will not have this functionality. Note that you’ll also need an app from a health authority to make use of this function, and availability of such apps depends on many factors including regional support.
- Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad.
- In the Settings menu, scroll down and tap on “Privacy”.
- Under Privacy settings, tap on “Health”.
- Here, you’ll see the option for COVID-19 Exposure Notifications / “Exposure Logging” right at the top. Tap on it.
- Use the toggle to enable or disable it according to your preference at any time.
That’s pretty much all there is to enable and disable COVID-19 exposure logging and notifications on your iPhone.
Apple says that users will have the explicit choice to turn on the technology once it’s rolled out. Once enabled, and combined with an eligible contact tracing app, public health agencies can quickly inform users if they’ve been in contact with an infected person through their respective apps. With this API, they can determine how long the users were in proximity and the approximate distance between their devices using Bluetooth signal strength.
The current version of the COVID-19 exposure notification API is a developer-focused release and apps will be taking advantage of it sooner rather than later to combat the pandemic situation. However, contact tracing may be introduced at the system level in the second phase of this program’s roll-out later this year and will function without a third-party health authority app.
COVID-19 exposure notification system does not collect location data from the device and does not share identities of other users to each other, according to Google and Apple. Users have complete control over the data that they want to share, if they choose to share it.
It’s also worth mentioning that not all states, countries, and health authorities will use this API, so even if you enable (or disable) the feature, if you’re in an area without support you may not find the app has any functionality anyway. What states, countries, and health authorities, are using this Google & Apple feature will likely vary over time as well.
If you wish to learn more about this feature and the exposure API, you can read more on Apple.com contact tracing page, and you can also learn more in general about what Apple is doing regarding COVID-19 at COVID-19 page here.
Did you choose to enable or disable COVID-19 exposure logging and notifications? Do you think Apple and Google’s implementation of this technology will be a major help to the government in tracing infected cases? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section down below.