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Apple and Google show how COVID-19 exposure notification apps work

Apple and Google are today providing new resources to health authorities around the world to help them create COVID-19 exposure notification apps, including sample user interfaces and sample code for iOS and Android.

iOS 13.5 includes a new menu under Settings> Health> COVID-19 Exposure Logging, which specifies which public health agency app a user is using. It also shows how often a user’s exposure log has been reviewed in the past 14 days.

If a user is potentially exposed to COVID-19, they receive a push notification from the health agency app.

The app could display the following when a user reports a positive COVID-19 diagnosis:

Apple and Google today also shared a list of requirements that all app developers using their Exposure Notifications API must meet:

  • Apps must be created by or for a government health agency and can only be used for COVID-19 response measures.
  • For apps, users must agree before the app can use the API.
  • Apps must require user approval before passing a positive test result to the health agency.
  • Apps should only collect the minimum amount of data required and can only use this data for COVID-19 response efforts. All other uses of user data, including targeted advertising, are not permitted.
  • Apps shouldn’t get permission to access location services.
  • The use of the API is limited to one app per country in order to promote high user acceptance and to avoid fragmentation. If a country has opted for a regional or governmental approach, Apple and Google are ready to support these agencies.

Last week, Apple provided the third beta of iOS 13.5 with the code required to run apps created using the Exposure Notifications API. In mid-May, a release of the software update is still planned for mid-May. Apple has also released the first beta of Xcode 11.5 with a new version of the iOS SDK that includes the API.

Apple and Google said their API was just one component of the wider effort that global health authorities are making to stem the pandemic, including testing, traditional contact tracking, and containment.

For more information on the API, see our previous reporting and Apple FAQs.

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