Apple introduced its Exposure Notifications API in the iOS 13.5 iPhone update along with exposure logging and notifications explicitly developed to help with coronavirus contact tracing. Here’s how you can turn on or disable the COVID-19 Exposure Logging feature on your iPhone.
Google and Apple have joined forces to create a digital version of a contact tracing framework called Exposure Notifications. If you have a health tracking app installed, your iPhone will send out randomized Bluetooth beacons to devices around you. It will also collect the beacons from phones that you have been around for 10 minutes or more.
If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can mark themselves as infected in the health tracking app. Every day, your iPhone will download a new anonymous database of those with verified cases and check it against the beacons stored on your device. If you crossed paths in the last 14 days, you’d get a notification saying that you might have been exposed to COVID-19, and the app will guide you through the next steps.
RELATED: How Your iPhone’s New COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Work
The Exposure Logging feature is not enabled by default, and to enable it, you need to install a tracking app (from your local public health organization.) That said, you can go in and disable the feature at any time.
Update: These settings have been moved in iOS 13.7. They were previously under Settings > Privacy, but you’ll now find them at Settings > Exposure Notifications.
To get started, open the “Settings” app on your iPhone and select “Exposure Notifications.” You’ll find it in the block of settings that begins with “General” and ends with “Privacy.”
Here, you’ll find the details of the health tracking apps that you have installed.
If you just see a “Turn On Exposure Notifications” option here, that means Exposure Notifications are not enabled. They will not be enabled unless you install an app from your local public health authority that activates them.
You will be notified when such apps are available. To disable these notifications, turn off the “Availability Alerts” slider.
RELATED: Why Your iPhone Says "COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Are Available"
If you see details about an installed app here, that means Exposure Notifications are enabled. Your iPhone is communicating with other nearby iPhones and Android phones and exchanging random identifiers to track potential exposure to COVID-19.
If you’d like to disable exposure notifications, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap “Turn Off Exposure Notifications.”
Want to learn more? Take a look at our contact tracing explainer and the best apps and websites for tracking COVID-19.
RELATED: The Best COVID-19 Tracking Apps and Websites
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