How to control COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone

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Manage COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone
There's no good reason not to have exposure notifications enabled.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

COVID-19 contact tracing is finally available in California — and in many other states and countries around the world. And if you have an iPhone running iOS 13.7 or later, you can now get an alert whenever you have been exposed to someone carrying the virus.

We’ll show you how to take control of COVID-19 exposure notifications on your device.

Lack of COVID-19 contact-tracing apps shows limits of Apple’s power

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iOS 13.7 contact tracing feature: Life-saver, or NSA spy tool?
It's not Apple's fault. But it's certainly frustrating.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple and Google moved fast to develop a COVID-19 contact-tracing solution that was both smart and privacy conscious. Unfortunately, more than six months after the companies announced the cross-platform approach to contact tracing, few places in the United States use it.

It’s a tough lesson for the world’s biggest tech company. And one that everyone is a little bit poorer for having learned.

10 states now use Apple and Google’s contact-tracing API, with more on the way

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iOS 13.7 contact tracing feature: Life-saver, or NSA spy tool?
Several months later, Apple and Google's contact tracing tool is finally gaining momentum.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

More than two months after Virginia became the first state to use Apple and Google’s Exposure Notifications API, a total of 10 states now distribute their own contact-tracing apps to fight COVID-19.

The two most recent — New York and New Jersey — launched their apps last week.

Apple hardware rumors come in hot and heavy [Cult of Mac Magazine 365]

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Apple rumors are coming in hot and heavy.
It's that time of year again.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

It’s officially Apple hardware season. With new gear coming as early as next week, the rumors and leaks are coming in fast and furious. Read the latest to get an idea what to expect in the near future from iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV and maybe even some high-end Apple headphones.

Get those rumors, plus the rest of the week’s top Apple news, how-tos and reviews, in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it to read for free on your iPad or iPhone. Or scroll below to get the headlines in your browser.

iOS 13.7 brings contact-tracing update and other new features [Updated]

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iOS 13.7 includes COVID-19 Exposure Notifications without an app.
iOS 13.7 brings optional COVID-19 Exposure Notifications without needing any other application. But only in limited areas.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 13.7 on Tuesday, with an update that makes it easier for public health agencies to take advantage of the recently launched COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system.

The software brings other new features, too. The update improves iCloud Drive folder sharing, and adds new Memoji stickers.

Virginia launches first US COVID-19-tracking app using Apple-Google API

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Virginia's COVIDWISE contact-tracing app uses the Exposure Notifications API developed by Apple and Google.
Contact-tracing app is now live.
Photo: Virginia Department of Health

Virginia launched its COVIDWISE contact-tracing app Wednesday, becoming the first state to use Apple and Google’s Exposure Notifications API to fight COVID-19.

The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy to anonymously track people’s interactions. Then it notifies users who have likely been exposed to infected individuals so they can take appropriate precautions, such as isolating themselves.

Governments divided over Apple and Google’s approach to contact tracing

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Plenty of governments are optimistic about contact tracing. But which approach to take?
Photo: World Health Organization

The battle over decentralized versus centralized contact-tracing apps continues to rage. Some public health officials feel forced to adopt Google and Apple’s Exposure Notifications system — even if they don’t necessarily think it’s the right approach, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Others are avoiding the system altogether, despite the fact that its privacy-first approach has been praised by privacy advocates.

Even before its COVID-19 app launches, UK considers switching to Apple’s contact-tracing approach

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Second thoughts on Apple/Google contact tracing by NHS?
Photo: World Health Organization

Great Britain’s National Health Service reportedly asked the developers of its COVID-19 app to investigate switching to Apple and Google’s contact-tracing approach even as its U.K. launch approaches. The move came after widespread concerns over privacy issues and battery life, according to a published report Wednesday.

iOS 13.5 beta simplifies sharing medical ID info with emergency dispatchers

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iOS 13.5 beta 4 makes sharing medical ID a snap.
With iOS 13.5, your iPhone can share medical ID info with emergency dispatchers.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone and Apple Watch will soon make it easy to share medical ID information during emergency calls. Basic details like allergies and medications can be sent to a dispatcher during the call.

This feature appeared in iOS 13.5 developer beta 4, which debuted on Wednesday.