Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Apple and Google worked together on a contact tracing API. Contact tracing works by using Bluetooth signals from smartphones that are in close proximity. All of this is done without identifying the user or collecting location data. In case a person is tested positive for Covid-19 then the others who came in contact with the person will get a notification. Apple and Google have now introduced a new exposure notification tool that doesn’t require an app.
Apple introduced Exposure Notification API, starting with iOS 13.5. Now Apple and Google have announced a new contact tracing feature that will not require a separate app to work. The new feature is called Exposure Notifications Express, and it works without having to download a separate app. This new feature is available on iOS 13.7 public build.
Apple hopes to improve adoption by building in contact tracing within iOS and not relying on public health authorities to develop a separate app. Meanwhile, the public health groups will still be able to send a notification to people at risk of exposure.
As the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app.
The Exposure Notification Express is likely to reduce the burden from public health authorities. All they need to do is submit contact information via a configuration file. As and when the Exposure Notification Express is available, the users in that particular region will get a notification. Once users click on the notification, they will be educated on how to use the feature and will be given an option to opt-in.