Contact tracing apps. It’s a category of apps that we never would have thought of three months ago, and yet now not only are public health organizations around the world racing to develop their own, but two the biggest rivals in technology, Apple and Google, have formed an unprecedented partnership to build special features into the iPhone and Android operating systems that stand to help empower many of these contact tracing apps to do their thing.
At a basic level, the purpose of a contact tracing app is to simply keep track of who you’ve come into contact with. Since the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can be so easily spread by people who don’t even know they have it (“asymptomatic” transmission), health authorities have come to realize that if they want to stop the spread, they need to be able to figure out who else may have come into a contact with a person whenever that person tests positive.
However, not all contact tracing apps are created equal, and there have been many different approaches to the problem. Some use Bluetooth, while others use GPS location data, and then of course there are those that plug into the ultra-private Apple-Google Exposure Notification system, and those that refuse to do so. Of course, while each approach has its pros and cons, since this is unexplored territory, the jury is still out on how well each one will work.
Keep in mind that since Apple is only allowing contact tracing apps from recognized government and health organizations, most of what you’re going to find on the App Store will be regional in nature. In fact, you may not even have a choice as to which one you can use, but it’s still interesting to see the different approaches that are being taken with the contact tracing apps that are out and available now. Read on for 9 of the most interesting contact tracing apps that are coming out now.