The iOS 13.5 update on the iPhone adds in support for COVID 19 tracking and notifications through a contact tracing service that you can opt into if your state offers an app to help notify people about potential exposures.
This is part of a joint effort between Google and Apple, which allows users to opt into contact tracing, which will then help you find out if you’ve potentially been exposed to Coronavirus.
Here’s a look at how you can control the COVID 19 contact tracing settings on the iPhone after you install iOS 13.5.
How to Turn COVID 19 Contact Tracing Off or On
The COVID 19 contact tracing feature is off by default on iOS 13.5. This means you need to turn it on and install an app to make it work. Unless you take action, there is no tracking or notifications that will happen.
To check the COVID 19 contact tracing settings on your iPhone follow these directions;
- Open Settings
- Tap on Privacy
- Tap on Health
- Tap on COVID-19 Exposure Logging
If you have an app installed, you will be able to turn logging on so that you can find out later if you are exposed. At this time there are only three states with apps including Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota. You can download one of these apps even if you live outside the state, but if your state is not participating with the app you cannot use these features.
Once you turn this on, your phone generates a random ID that can share with other Bluetooth devices and collect random IDs that are stored for 14 days. If you are diagnosed you can then choose to share that information with your state’s app.
This also allows your device to download the random IDs of other users who have been diagnosed and reported, and then if you’ve been exposed to them, you will know that you were potentially exposed. The app can then offer advice and you may get an exposure rating.
Until you install an app from your state or a wider area, you cannot turn the COVID 19 contact tracing app on and there is no COVID 19 tracking happening on your phone.