How to Turn On COVID Exposure Notifications on iPhone
Did you know that your iPhone may be able to inform you if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19? With the contact tracing API, Apple has been working with public health authorities in creating services and apps that can alert users if they’ve been in contact with a COVID infected person. Of course not all regions support the effort yet (and most states and localities do not), but over time support by health authorities is likely to improve.
Earlier this year, Apple introduced exposure notifications for its iPhones and iPads to combat COVID-19. It was first spotted in iOS 13.5 as a privacy setting for the Health app, but with the new iOS 14 update, it’s getting a dedicated section in the settings menu. The feature works by using Bluetooth to securely share your random IDs with nearby devices and collect their IDs. However, it relies on a local health authority app to report this data.
Interested in making use of this to fight the global pandemic? We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll cover how you can turn on exposure notifications on both the iPhone and iPad.
How to Turn On Exposure Notifications in iOS 14
Before going ahead with the following procedure, make sure your device is running the latest version of iOS/iPadOS. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the necessary steps.
- Head over to “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
- In the settings menu, scroll down and tap on “Exposure Notifications”. It’s located just above the Battery settings.
- Next, tap on “Turn On Exposure Notifications” to proceed. It won’t turn on immediately, and you’ll need to go through a few more steps.
- You will be shown a brief description of the feature. Tap on “Continue” to move on to the next step.
- In this step, you’ll be asked to select your country or region, since the feature isn’t available everywhere.
- If your region does have an exposure notification app, you’ll see the screen below. Tap on “Open App Store” to get the app.
- This will take you to an App Store Story page. Scroll down and tap on “Find a list of all available Exposure Notification apps here” as shown in the screenshot below.
- Next, download the health authority app for the state you live in.
- Now, when you launch the app for the first time, you’ll get the pop-up to enable COVID-19 exposure logging and Notifications. Choose “Enable” and proceed with setting up the app.
- Now, if you go back to the Exposure Notifications section in Settings, you’ll see that the feature is active. It’ll also display the active region, indicating the public health authority that has access to your contact tracing data.
There you go. You’ve successfully managed to enable and set up COVID-19 exposure notifications on your iPhone and iPad.
Once again, we’d like to remind you that this feature isn’t available in many regions. That means if you enable it and it’s not supported, you won’t get any notifications about potential exposure.
If the area you reside in doesn’t have a public health authority app that makes use of Apple’s contact tracing API, you simply won’t be able to enable exposure notifications on your device.
If you are in a region with support for the API, then thanks to this feature, local health authorities can quickly inform users if they’ve been in contact with an infected person through their respective apps. Contact tracing API can help in determining how long the users were in proximity and estimate the distance between their devices using Bluetooth signal strength. And this is all anonymized, so privacy buffs should take some comfort in that.
According to Apple, the COVID-19 exposure notification system does not collect location data from the device and does not share the identities of other users to each other. Users will have to give permission to share the information related to their exposures, so they have complete control over the data they share.
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.
Were you able to take advantage of this feature on your device? Is your regions local health authority involved in the contact tracing program? What’s your take on this feature to iOS? Does your state have an app that supports exposure notifications? Do share your valuable opinions and experiences in the comments section down below.