Apple and Google Reveal How COVID-19 Exposure Notification Apps Will Function

Apple and Google today are providing public health authorities around the world with new resources to help them make COVID-19 exposure notification apps, including sample user interfaces and sample code for iOS and Android.

iOS 13.5 will include a new menu in Settings > Health > COVID-19 Exposure Logging that indicates which public health authority app a user is using, in addition to showing the number of times that a user's exposure log has been checked in the past 14 days.

covid 19 exposure app settings
If a user is potentially exposed to COVID-19, they would receive a push notification from the public health authority's app.

covid 19 app positive exposure
Here's what the app could display when a user goes to report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis:

sample covid 19 report positive
Apple and Google today also shared a list of requirements that all developers of apps that use their Exposure Notifications API must adhere to:

  • Apps must be created by or for a government public health authority and they can only be used for COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Apps must require users to consent before the app can use the API.
  • Apps must require users to consent before sharing a positive test result with the public health authority.
  • Apps should only collect the minimum amount of data necessary and can only use that data for COVID-19 response efforts. All other uses of user data, including targeting advertising, is not permitted.
  • Apps are prohibited from seeking permission to access Location Services.
  • Use of the API will be restricted to one app per country to promote high user adoption and avoid fragmentation. If a country has opted for a regional or state approach, Apple and Google are prepared to support those authorities.

Last week, Apple seeded the third beta of iOS 13.5 with the code needed to run apps built using the Exposure Notifications API, and it continues to target mid-May for a public release of the software update. Apple also released the first beta of Xcode 11.5 with a new version of the iOS SDK incorporating the API.

Apple and Google said their API is just one component of the broader efforts that public health authorities are undertaking worldwide to help curb the pandemic, including testing, traditional contact tracing, and containment.

For more details on the API, read our previous coverage and Apple's FAQ.

Top Rated Comments

paradox00 Avatar
7 months ago


Hopefully the OS will be updated for every single flu season, every single measles outbreak, in every town with a meningitis outbreak, and every single time someone sneezes so we can all feel safe and comfy around each other forever and ever.

Hopefully you educate yourself (using reputable sources) on the differences between Covid-19 and the flu and stop spreading misinformation.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kyle4 Avatar
7 months ago


Hopefully the OS will be updated for every single flu season, every single measles outbreak, in every town with a meningitis outbreak, and every single time someone sneezes so we can all feel safe and comfy around each other forever and ever.

Good insight Texas, comparing the worst pandemic in 100 years to the flu. This is why your country has the highest death rate and cases on earth.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DoogH Avatar
7 months ago


So based on this new information, Apple and Google will allow individual Country apps to be added even though they will collect personal data.

Nope, the API prohibits collecting user data, prohibits GPS, and anonymizes contacts.

Does everyone react this strongly when an app requests access to use your GPS? Imo, that’s much more of a concern than this.

It’s GOOD to be paranoid about privacy. But imo, they’re being plenty cautious here.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TechieGeek Avatar
7 months ago
TheVerge shared a lot more screenshots of the user flows, if folks are interested: https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/4/21246512/apple-google-code-sample-ui-ios-android-contact-tracing-exposure-notification
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
7 months ago


Hopefully the OS will be updated for every single flu season, every single measles outbreak, in every town with a meningitis outbreak, and every single time someone sneezes so we can all feel safe and comfy around each other forever and ever.

Of course that's ridiculous. But go ahead and stir the pot.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
7 months ago
No way I'm letting Apple track m—


Apps are prohibited from seeking permission to access Location Services.

…well, still. :mad:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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