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iOS 13.7 release – easier exposure notifications are here

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iOS 14 is expected to drop later this month, but Apple hasn’t forgotten about iOS 13 just yet. The latest update, iOS 13.7, has been rushed out to get an updated contact tracing feature into as many hands as possible.

Exposure Notification Express

Exposure Notifications are designed to help track COVID-19 risk factors. If you come into close contact with somebody who is later diagnosed with the Coronavirus, the anonymized system will alert you to that fact, warning you to self-isolate in case you too are now contagious.

You may remember that Apple and Google’s joint Exposure Notification tech was already added back in iOS 13.5 – so what’s the difference in iOS 13.7?

Until now, Apple had merely set the groundwork for governments to release their own contact tracing solutions. Individual health agencies around the world could develop apps that used the iOS framework, but users would still have to search out and install them manually.

This latest update represents phase two of the process and should help broaden the net of people using digital contact tracing. Now, health agencies around the world can opt into the Exposure Notifications built directly into iOS Settings, rather than releasing their own apps. Crucially, this new system can communicate with existing health apps that use Apple’s tech.

Turning it on

You still have to give permission for this to work, though – it’s off by default. If you want to start using the contact tracing tech, first update to iOS 13.7 from Settings > General > Software Update. When that’s done, head to the Exposure Notifications section in Settings. Your device will confirm whether the program is available in your region, and then it’s simply a case of toggling it on.