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The Facts: Apple and Google COVID-19 Tracking on Mobile Devices

The Facts: Apple and Google COVID-19 Tracking on Mobile Devices

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Tracking Coming Soon

Perhaps you have heard the buzz about COVID-19 Tracking being installed on your phone. That is not entirely the full story, so we’re here to reports the facts. Here is what you’ll need to know about this new feature. COVID-19 Tracking


  • The new feature located in your privacy settings is completely voluntary and will work together with an app from your region’s public health authority. The public health applications are still in the works and are also voluntary to download.
  • If you have the 13.5 version of iOS or a currently updated Android, the application programming interface (API) is already available in your settings. However, the feature is not functional until public health apps are rolled out.COVID-19 Tracking
  • In order to use the tracking, your Bluetooth and location will need to be enabled.
  • Apple and Google released a joint statement detailing the Tracking and Exposure Notifications here: Official Statement.
  • According to Apple, “At least once a day, your iPhone will download a list of keys for the verified beacons belonging to those who have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive. Your iPhone will then check your local copy of exchanged beacons against the list downloaded from the server. If there’s a match, you’ll be notified about it, and your app will advise you on what to do next.”
  • So, how accurate is it? Well, it’s not entirely fail-safe. It relies on testing, reporting, and of course you and others must have exchanged Bluetooth tokens and have a public health app installed. Below is a quick video that explains how virus tracing apps work:

Additional Resources

  • More on contact tracing from Apple’s Newsroom.
  • Some public health applications are available now, but not for every region. Check out region-specific websites for guidance on what to download.
  • Later this year Apple and Android devices will have operating system updates that will allow you to opt-in to COVID-19 tracking without downloading an app.
  • Both Apple and Google have built-in protections to ensure users’ privacy is safeguarded. You can rest assured that you choose what personal information is shared with public health authorities.
  • Finally, Google has provided this infographic to visually explain how the feature works:

COVID-19 Tracking

Please stay safe out there, from!

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