Apple releases iOS 13.7 with standalone COVID-19 Exposure Notifications feature

The new feature no longer requires a third-party app to receive alerts if you've been exposed to COVID-19, but remains opt-in only.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple on Tuesday released iOS 13.7 to iPhone owners. Included in the update, along with bug fixes and general improvements, is Apple's standalone version COVID-19 Exposure Notifications feature. 

The original version of this feature required a local health authority to create an app, which then allowed users to opt-in to the contact tracing feature. However, iOS 13.7 forgoes the need for your local health department or group to create an app. 

Instead, your local health authority will only need to opt-in to the program before you can turn the feature on. 

You can download and install the update on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update and following the prompts. 

After the update is installed, you can find the new Exposure Notifications option in the Settings app. Selecting it will provide more info, as well as give you the option to turn on exposure notifications. You'll then be asked to select your country, region or state. If your local health officials have opted into the program, you'll be able to complete set up. 

If it's not available in your area yet, you can turn on availability alerts in the Exposure Notifications settings page. 

Apple and Google worked together on the API that drives the contract tracing feature, and Google is expected to release an update adding the stand-alone feature in the near future.

When the feature is available in your area, are you going to enable the Exposure Notifications, or are you going to leave them disabled? Let us know in the comments below. 

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