This week Apple released iOS 13.5 to the public and with it came some COVID-19 related features such as Exposure Notification System and Face ID improvements to help with mask-wearing.
iOS 13 Coronavirus Tracing Update
The biggest new feature is the new Exposure Notification System API which Apple developed in collaboration with Google. Using bluetooth beacons it allows users to be notified if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. Importantly, it will only work if the functionality has been rolled into a contact tracing app, such as COVIDSafe here in Australia.
According to the DTA, Australia is still in the testing phases, so we don’t know when the Exposure Notification System may be utilised with COVIDSafe. So if you have downloaded iOS 13.5 your phone will have the capability to use the new API but it won’t actually be doing anything yet.
It’s also important to note that consent and privacy has played a major part in the API’s development. Updating to iOS 13.5 does not mean you will be forced to engage with contact tracing. If you are interested in a deeper breakdown and what we know about the API, its privacy and its impact on Australia so far, we have an article about it here.