How to Enable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications on iPhone

Apple and Google have joined forces to help governments and health authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They have released the first version of their exposure notification software for both iOS and Android devices. The State of Colorado just announced their participation today, Sunday October 25, 2020.

The tech giants want to assist developers who’re working for health authorities in creating apps that can alert users if they’ve been in contact with an infected person. This is made possible by using Bluetooth to securely share your random ID with nearby devices. These IDs are then deleted after 14 days, which is the above-average incubation period for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.

It’s up to you to decide if you want to opt-in to this anonymous logging and notification system (we recommend that you do). This article will show you how to enable COVID-19 exposure logging and notifications on your iPhone.

How to Enable COVID-19 Exposure Logging & Notifications on iPhone

This feature is only available to iPhones with iOS 13.5 and later; earlier phones will not have this functionality. Note that availability depends on many factors including regional support. Go to Settings > Exposure Notifications > United States > Colorado (or your country/state).

Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad

Once enabled, public health agencies can quickly inform users if they’ve been in contact with an infected person. With this, they can determine how long the users were in proximity and the approximate distance between their devices using Bluetooth signal strength.

Not all states, countries, and health authorities are using this yet. Here is a page with a current listing of all participating countries.

If you wish to learn more about this feature, the State of Colorado has a very informative page here. This page also includes instructions for enabling this functionality on Android devices. Apple and Google have created an excellent explainer video, viewable here. You can also learn more in general about what Apple is doing regarding COVID-19 on their COVID-19 page.

Wait, what?

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iOS 14: Is It Time to Upgrade Yet?

Autumn has arrived in the northern hemisphere. That means it’s time again for Apple to release the latest version of iOS for iPhone and iPad, which they have: iOS 14. Last year’s iOS 13 was scandalously buggy on its initial release. Apple committed to changing their processes to make sure that a similarly buggy mess wouldn’t be released in the future, and that seems to have worked. As always, the smaller point releases (14.1, 14.2, etc.) will include bug fixes later on this year and the next, but this release is stable and we recommend upgrading to it now.

iOS 14 includes hundreds, if not thousands, of small but significant changes to the user interface. The result is buttons and screens that are easier to read (especially for aging eyes). Overall, it makes the iPhone or iPad feel simpler and easier to understand and use.

How do I get iOS 14?

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings:General:Software Update and if your iPhone qualifies, you’ll see the offer to update there. Apple says that iOS 14 can run on the iPhone 6s and later, which is the exact same compatibility as iOS 13. Updating typically takes about 15 minutes to download, and another 15 minutes to install.

What’s New and Noteworthy?

The number one best change with iOS 14 is that when a phone call comes in, it no longer takes over your entire screen. Instead, you get a notification-style window at the top of your phone, so that you can easily accept or dismiss the call without losing whatever you were doing before the call.

Similarly, Siri no longer takes over the entire screen when you engage with it.

Green Dot, Orange Dot

A new security feature included in iOS 14 will display an orange dot at the top of your iPhone or iPad when an app is actively using your microphone. A green dot indicates an app is using your camera. The dots also display in the control center.

Translate

A new translate app in iOS 14 is designed for conversations and works completely offline. All you have to do is tap on the microphone icon and the app will translate to your chosen language. 11 languages are currently supported.

translate

Voice Memos

With the Voice Memo app, the most exciting feature this year is the new Enhance Recording functionality. This reduces background noise and room reverberation with a single tap. Once you create a recording, you’ll see a small icon similar to the Auto adjustment feature in the Photos app. (9 to 5 Mac has an article describing this feature here.)

Exposure Notifications

Apple has introduced an Exposure Notifications System, which lets public health authorities and governments worldwide help people figure out if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and if so, what steps to take next to minimize the spread of the virus. Your state or country may or may not yet support this. You can see which US States support this technology here and which countries around the world support it here.

MacRumors wrote an excellent article, describing this new confidential system (developed in conjunction with Google for their Android devices) in great detail.

Where Can I Learn More about iOS14?

Lots of companies have put out their “best-of” iOS 14 lists and tutorials; here are a few:

9 to 5 Mac

Macrumors

MacWorld

Renee Amberg

Can’t You Make It Any Easier?

Why, yes! Contact Us and we can do the upgrade for you and get you high-flying with this new iOS update in no time!

Can I Do Dictation on My Mac? Yes!

Most everyone is familiar with how to do dictation on an iPhone by activating the microphone within the keyboard and/or using Siri. This has your phone interpret your speech and turn that into text, as if typing on the keyboard. But did you know you can do the same thing with your Mac? It’s true! Apple has continued to improve upon this service over the years. Any Mac with OS X from Mojave 10.14 and beyond, has the ability to do dictation with high accuracy.

Whether you are composing an email, sending a message through iMessage, or writing a long Word document, your Mac can take dictation for you – no typing required.

Set up your Mac to Listen

  1. Under the Apple menu, open System Preferences.
  2. Select “Keyboard” and when that opens, click on the “Dictation” tab on the right.
  3. For the “Dictation” radio button, turn that to “On.”
  4. On the left, select “Internal Microphone” or other preferred mic. You will see the microphone animation responding to the ambient sound.

To get started, open your email, Word document, or iMessage window and place your cursor where you want to begin. Press the Function or “fn” key in the lower left-hand corner of your keyboard twice in a row. A small window with a microphone will appear and will indicate that your Mac is now listening and waiting to dictate your speaking.

Similar to Siri or dictation on the iPhone, you will need to speak your punctuation as well, such as saying “period” or “question mark” at the end of a sentence. Fortunately, Apple put together a handy list of Commands for Dictating Text on Mac.

When you are finished, either press the Done button text just below the microphone icon, or press the function or “fn” key once to have your Mac stop listening.

The quieter your surrounding environment can be, the more accurate your Mac’s dictation will be.

Can you help me?

Yes, that’s what we’re here for! Contact Us and we can get you set up!

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