How to Enable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications on iPhone

(Update10/30/20: Half a million Colorado residents have already enabled notifications.) 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 as of 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.

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