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How to turn on COVID-19 contact tracing on your iPhone

COVID-19 exposure logging iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is turning the iPhone into a tool to help fight the coronavirus. In addition to rolling out an update in iOS 13.5 that makes it easier to log in to your phone when wearing a face mask, the new software includes a feature that could notify you of possible exposure to COVID-19.

COVID-19 exposure notifications use Bluetooth technology and contact tracing from authorized public health apps. The aim is to alert users who may have been exposed to the coronavirus via a notification.

Keep in mind that in order to use COVID-19 exposure notifications, you will need to also download a public health app that supports Apple’s contact tracing. Three US states — Alabama, South Carolina and North Dakota — have said they will participate in using the contact tracing API from Apple and Google. Other health agencies in other locations will get access in the coming weeks. 

However, it's up for participating health authorities to create a contact tracing app that taps into the exposure notifications APIs. At the time of writing, no apps are currently ready. But by setting your iPhone up for exposure logging you can be ready for when the apps arrive. 

How to active COVID-19 exposure logging on your iPhone

Once you’ve downloaded and installed iOS 13.5, here are the steps for activating COVID-19 exposure notifications.

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Covid 19 exposure logging iPhone

(Image credit: Future)

2. Scroll down and select Privacy.

Covid-19 exposure logging iPhone settings

(Image credit: Future)

3. On the Privacy menu tap Health.

Covid 19 exposure logging iPhone Health setting

(Image credit: Future)

4. Tap the box that says COVID-19 Exposure Logging with the word "Off" underneath it. On this screen you'll also see a brief description of how exposure logging works.

Covid 19 exposure logging iPhone

(Image credit: Future)

5. Tap the button that says Exposure Logging so that it turns on. Note that you can not turn on Exposure Logging without an authorized app.

Covid 19 exposure logging iPhone

(Image credit: Future)

Note that we will be keeping tabs on where and when contact tracing apps become available for iOS and will keep this story up to date.