(Meredith) – With its new iOS 13.5, Apple has added coronavirus contact tracing to your iPhone.
The feature is called “COVID-19 Exposure Logging” and is nestled in your Settings app. You can find it by going to Settings – Privacy – Health – then find COVID-19 Exposure Logging.
The new iOS with the contact tracing feature was released on May 20.
Apple joined together with Google for the contact tracing plan, which they announced in April.
The goal of contact tracing is to help curb the spread of COVID-19 by alerting people who have been in contact with someone who is infected.
While social media users have been posting concerns about an invasion of privacy with the new contact tracing feature, the reality is, the feature is automatically turned off, and you must also manually download a separate app for the contact tracing to work.
Therefore, the COVID-19 Exposure Logging is not tracking your location unless you manually turn it on and download the necessary app.
According to Apple, you can’t turn on COVID-19 Exposure Logging without downloading an authorized app that can send you exposure notifications.
"Once enabled, users’ devices will regularly send out a beacon via Bluetooth that includes a random Bluetooth identifier — basically, a string of random numbers that aren’t tied to a user's identity and change every 10-20 minutes for additional protection. Other phones will be listening for these beacons and broadcasting theirs as well. When each phone receives another beacon, it will record and securely store that beacon on the device. At least once per day, the system will download a list of the keys for the beacons that have been verified as belonging to people confirmed as positive for COVID-19. Each device will check the list of beacons it has recorded against the list downloaded from the server. If there is a match between the beacons stored on the device and the positive diagnosis list, the user may be notified and advised on steps to take next," Apple said in a FAQ about the new feature.
To read the full FAQ, click here.