iOS 16.4 allows health authorities to end their support for Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notifications feature

Back in 2020, Apple and Google teamed up to launch the Exposure Notifications API for COVID-19 contract tracing. The feature aims to alert you to potential COVID-19 exposures, allowing you to get a test and isolate yourself if necessary.

Three years later, Apple is now giving health agencies the ability to sunset their adoption of the Exposure Notifications API.

In iOS 16.4, Apple has added underlying support for health departments to end their support of the Exposure Notifications API. When a health authority decides to end support for the feature, users will see a message on their iPhone informing them of that decision.

“Your health authority has turned off Exposure Notifications. Your iPhone is no longer logging nearby devices and will not be able to notify you of possible exposures,” the message reads. “Previously collected exposure data is automatically deleted.”

Apple and Google had high hopes for the Exposure Notification platform, but it failed to gain widespread traction due in large part to a scattered rollout by states and health agencies around the world. For example, in the United States, rather than creating a single contact tracing app, the decision to support Exposure Notifications was made by each state’s public health authority.

Each state then had to adopt the API and build their own Exposure Notifications app. Eventually, the “Exposure Notifications Express” system debuted, building the feature directly into iOS 13. Still, each state had to enroll in the platform, and many chose not to do so.

You can manage Exposure Notifications on your iPhone by going to the Settings app and looking for the “Exposure Notifications” menu.

Three years after its launch, what are your thoughts on the Exposure Notifications system developed by Apple and Google? Did it prove to be useful to you throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.

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Naveen Kumar

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