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How to turn on/off COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone

Apple and Google have partnered on offering a secure and private coronavirus contact tracing implementation on iOS and Android. Follow along for where to find the on/off toggle for COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone in iOS settings.

Update 5/6: Apple has redesigned the iOS settings portion for Exposure Notifications that gives users more clarity on the feature. The toggle is turned off by default and needs an authorized app to turn the feature on with user permission. See below for how it looks.

Update 5/20: iOS 13.5 is now available to the public. Stay up to date with our list of which U.S. states are going to offer supported apps here.

Anonymous COVID-19 contact tracing via Bluetooth (not GPS location) is available with iOS 13.5.

Contact tracing is called “Exposure Notifications” on iPhone and is turned off at the system level by default. You’ll have to download an app from your local health authority that will require your explicit permission to use anonymous Bluetooth data for it to work when phase one of the rollout starts in May.

Apple and Google have said that phase two of the contact tracing software will allow it to work without a third-party health authority app, but that won’t happen until later this year.

Apple and Google have done a great job highlighting how contact tracing is built on privacy and security, read more about that on Apple’s website. But if you still want to change your contact tracing settings, here’s how to find it in iPhone system settings.

Note: The “COVID-19 Exposure Logging” toggle is disabled by default in iOS 13.5. This does not collect any data without you installing and authorizing a local health authority app, which will be available soon. Apple and Google’s exposure notification system will be completely opt-in.

How to turn on/off COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone

  1. On iOS 13.5 and later, head to Settings on your iPhone
  2. Swipe down and tap Privacy
  3. Now choose Health
  4.  Tap COVID-19 Exposure Logging at the top
  5. For now, you’ll need an authorized app before Exposure Notifications can be turned on. But then you can tap the toggle to turn notifications on or off
  6. You can also delete the exposure logs manually at any time at the bottom of the settings
  7. Follow along here for when apps from health authorities become available

Here’s how these steps look:

How to turn on/off contact tracing iPhone iOS 13.5 walkthrough

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