Yes, it is coming for your iPhone and Android smartphones. As a matter of fact, some of the features have already been available in iOS 13.5 and above for the iPhone that was released in May 2020. Google and Apple are working with public health organizations on contact-tracing apps.
The piece that is missing, for now, is authorized apps from your health authorities. This is where you’ll report any sickness. Apple and Google are not releasing apps; they are collaborating to allow these apps to work across iOS and Android to collect data and send out alerts.
The following guidelines are for the iPhone. Android devices will be similar.
This is for iPhone and Android smartphones. Screenshots are from the iPhone
Check out TechSavvy.Life for similar blog posts!Tweet
What Is Contact Tracing
Conventional contact tracing is a technique used by public health authorities to measure and slow the spread of infectious diseases. It requires manually gathering information from infected individuals about the people they have previously been in contact with. These people can then be notified by public health authorities to take appropriate safety measures, such as undertaking self-quarantine and getting tested to break the chain of transmission. While this process will continue to be important to contact tracing efforts, systems that are being developed can alleviate some of the challenges with this process.
First there is a significant organizational burden from a manual process, as many public health workers are needed to perform these tasks. Second, the process can be slow as it requires finding and interviewing infected individuals and then reaching out and talking to their high risk contacts; all of whom may not be able to remember or know all of the people that they came in contact with in the past days to weeks.
The contact tracing is called “COVID-19 Exposure Logging” and is automatically turned off. When contact tracing apps are installed, you can enable the feature.
Setting Up On iPhone
First, launch Settings. Refer to below image:
Next, scroll down to the Privacy option and tap it. See below image:
Now, tap the Health option. See following image:
You wil see the COVID-19 Exposure Logging option; just tap it. Refer to below image:
How It Works
Once enabled, users’ devices will regularly send out a beacon via Bluetooth that includes a random Bluetooth identifier; basically, a string of random numbers (IDs) that are not tied to a user’s identity and change every 10-20 minutes for additional protection. Other phones will be listening for these beacons and broadcasting theirs as well. When each phone receives another beacon, it will record and securely store that beacon on the device. Refer to below diagram:
At least once per day, the system will download a list of the keys for the beacons that have been verified as belonging to people confirmed as positive for COVID-19. Each device will check the list of beacons it has recorded against the list downloaded from the server. If there is a match between the beacons stored on the device and the positive diagnosis list, the user may be notified and advised on steps to take next. See below diagram:
Now, scroll down to the Active App section. Here you will find your installed apps that works with contact tracing. Once available from local, state or federal authorities, you will need to install the apps then they will appear here. (As of this writing, there is one app available from Center for Disease Control; for a list of States that will participate or have an app available, click here . See below image:
For these apps to work, you will need your phone’s Bluetooth and location tracking features turned on, though your actual physical location is not tracked; the apps will not know where in the world you are or how many times you have left the house today. They’ll only know which random IDs your phone has come into contact with.
Check for Exposure
To see if the option is working, tap on Exposure Checks. See following image:
Now, you will see the following image about any exposure within the last 14 days. Refer to below image:
The Fine Print
Now, tap the Back button then tap on the Learn More blue link. See below image:
Information on Exposure Notifications & Privacy terms and conditions will be displayed. See following image:
I have found TechSavvy.Life blog posts extremely helpful. Check them out for posts on smart phone apps, Macs and PCs!<Tweet
I Would Like to Hear From You
Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.