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
34 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)
480951 Avatar
34 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
34 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
34 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
34 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
34 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)

Popular Stories

Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...
Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic Plus App

Apple Announces Oceanic+ App Now Available for Apple Watch Ultra

Monday November 28, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today announced that the Oceanic+ app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra starting today. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app serves as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet. Apple already offers a basic Depth app on the Apple Watch Ultra for viewing your current depth, maximum depth reached, water temperature,...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
rapid security response

Apple Releases Another Rapid Security Response Update for iOS 16.2 Beta Users

Monday November 28, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released a Rapid Security Response update that is available for those running the iOS 16.2 beta, marking the launch of the second RSR update since the feature was released in iOS 16. The Rapid Security Response Update is designed to provide iOS 16.2 beta users with bug fixes without the need to install a full update. The initial RSR release for iOS 16.2 beta users was a test with ...
twitter elon musk

Elon Musk Claims Apple Has 'Mostly Stopped' Offering Ads on Twitter and Is Making Moderation Demands

Monday November 28, 2022 10:42 am PST by
Apple has cut back on its Twitter advertising, according to Twitter CEO Elon Musk. In a tweet, Musk said that Apple has "mostly stopped" its Twitter ads, asking if Apple hates "free speech." Musk went on to publish a poll asking if Apple should "publish all censorship actions" taken that impact customers and he began retweeting content from companies that Apple has had moderation discussions ...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...