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Health authorities can now end support for Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notifications

Published Mar 22nd, 2023 8:59AM EDT
Health authorities can now end support for Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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During the COVID-19 outbreak, Apple and Google partnered to offer the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications feature. While this tool could show whether you were near – or passed by – someone who could have the disease, it never actually worked as intended, as people had to add a serial number showing the positive status for COVID-19, and in the US, it depended on each state to add support for this feature.

In 2020, here’s what Apple (and Google) said around iOS 13.7 release regarding the COVID-19 Exposure Notification feature:

As the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app. Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for public health authorities to supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security. Existing apps using the Exposure Notification API will be compatible with Exposure Notifications Express, and we are committed to supporting public health authorities that have deployed or are building custom apps.

With the pandemic easing across the globe, Apple has offered authorities the option to end support for its COVID-19 Exposure Notification feature. According to 9to5Mac, iOS 16.4 adds “underlying support for health departments to end their support of the Exposure Notifications API.” Here’s what the message says:

“Your health authority has turned off Exposure Notifications. Your iPhone is no longer logging nearby devices and will not be able to notify you of possible exposure. Previously collected exposure data is automatically deleted.”

With that, if your local government thinks it doesn’t need to keep offering support for this feature, it can disable it and remove the Exposure Notifications tab from your device.

This is one of the many iOS 16.4 features that will be made available starting next week. BGR also reported that this upcoming operating system would bring a Voice Isolation function for cellular calls. It was previously available with iPhone 12 or older models as “Phone Noise Cancellation,” but Apple decided to end support for this feature until now.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.