Earlier this year, Apple and Google announced that they would be working together on developing a COVID-19 contact tracing system. Dubbed Exposure Notifications, if you have an iOS or Android device, you might be interested to learn that the API is now available in the latest update to both operating systems.
What does this mean? This API basically allows developers or governments to create apps that can help with contact tracing. It will also be able to alert users if they might have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This relies on Bluetooth in which information is shared amongst devices that are nearby that have the feature enabled.
The fact that it is integrated into iOS and Android will also make it easier to be adopted, although both Apple and Google have highlighted how this is entirely in the user’s control. For example, users will need to give their explicit permission to upload and share their information when they get sick.
This is meant to address privacy concerns, although some have wondered about its effectiveness if users choose not to enable it. That being said, both Apple and Google have also stated that once this pandemic has passed, they will be shutting the API down.