Apple Makes Changes to Exposure Notification Opt-In Settings in iOS 13.5 Beta 4

Today Apple released the iOS 13.5 beta 4 for developers. The latest build comes with new exposure notification settings. Apple has added a new setting that will let users manage COVID-19 exposure logging and installed public health apps. The exposure notification option will remain disabled until one installs an appropriate app.

Apple introduced exposure notification API to help public health authorities to build a contact tracing app. The API first appeared on iOS 13.5 beta 3. The exposure notification is jointly developed by Apple and Google. Previously, privacy advocates had concerns with regard to user data and privacy. However, Apple and Google made a series of changes in exposure notification API to address the same while improving the accuracy of the app.

The exposure notification option is opt-in and if required users can choose to opt-out whenever they want to. In the previous beta, we saw a toggle for enabling/disabling exposure notification. However, there were no signs of an app from the public health authority.

As you can see in the above screenshot, the toggle for exposure notification is accompanied by a description. It says “You cannot turn on Exposure Logging without an authorized app installed that can send Exposure Notifications.” You get to see a new setting that lets you delete exposure logs alongside an option to manage the installed app.

Apple explains that random ID’s collected by the device will not be stored beyond 14 days. Perhaps this is due to the fact that COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14-days. Moreover, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 you will be able to “hare your own device’s random IDs with the authorized app so it can notify others anonymously.”

Our Take

Exposure Notification is expected to work like the Health app. You can manage permissions for data access by apps developed by public health authorities. Contact tracing apps developed by countries like France and Australia are not running properly on iOS due to Bluetooth restrictions. Apple and Google expect public health authorities to use exposure notification API and develop their own contact tracing app.

[via Reddit]