Apple Rolls out COVID-19 Exposure Notifications in iOS 13.5 Beta

Coronavirus Screening Tool on iPhone Credit: Tada Images / Shutterstock
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Apple and Google are beginning to roll our their coronavirus exposure notification system to developers. Apple embedded the new API into the beta version of iOS 13.5, which is made available today to developers. Google also is delivering the SDK to developers and is rolling out an update to the Google Play store.

Both Apple and Google will begin to support developers with code examples and additional API information soon. The project is still in its early stages, with Apple continuing to add new authorized developers who will be able to access the core API functions.

What Is an Exposure Notification?

Exposure notifications also called contact tracing, are a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus with minimal inconvenience to the user.

It uses a mobile phone and Bluetooth technology to measure how close people come in contact with each other in public. It allows public health officials to identify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 when they came into contact with someone who tested positive.

The system triggers a contact event when two people come closer than six feet apart.

The system then downloads a log of these contact events at least once a day. Apple then compares the tracing data from an infected person with others in its database looking for a match.

Once matches are found, those who may have had contact with an infected individual will be alerted that they may be at risk for COVID-19.

iOS 13.5 Beta Release

Apple rolled out the first public version of its Exposure Notification API into the beta version of iOS 13.5, which is made available today. Developers can download this latest version of iOS from Apple’s website.

Apple also released iPadOS 13.4 beta, but it is not known if this version also contains the hooks for Apple’s exposure notification API.

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