Apple Confirms COVID-19 Contact Tracing Feature Will Only be Available For iOS 13 Devices

Apple Google Collaboration

Apple has provided more details about the contact tracing feature that it is building with Google for iOS and Android devices. The company has made it clear that the contact tracing feature will only be coming to iPhones and iPads running iOS 13. The feature will be rolled out to them via a software update. 

By mid-May, both Apple and Google will roll out an API that will support contact tracing. Public health bodies will be able to take advantage of this API in their apps for contact tracing. This API will only be available for public health authorities as recognized and authorized by governments and not to other app developers.

After this, Apple will work on integrating the contact tracing feature right into iOS which will again be rolled out to existing iPhones and iPad owners via a software update.

Apple will be processing all data on a user’s device and only then relay that data through servers of health organizations across the world. The data will not be centralized to prevent surveillance by the government. Apple itself will not have access to data, though both the companies — Apple and Google — acknowledge that the servers can always get hacked but having the data decentralized would help in such scenarios.

Another interesting point to note is that even if a user reports themselves as COVID-19 positive, public health authorities would have to confirm their diagnosis. This will be done so that the system is not misused and users are able to trust the system.

[Via TechCrunch]