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How to Turn Off Contact Tracing/Exposure Logging on iOS and Android

By
Zahrah
 - 
Jun 1, 2020

Contact tracing is one of the next steps when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both Google and Apple are teaming up to build contact tracing into their Operating Systems (Android and iOS). This would lead the two companies to have contact tracing on the majority of the world. However, many people don't feel comfortable sharing their data - and it's understandable. So, how do we tweak the tracking settings so it suits us? Read on to find methods for both iOS and Android.

Contact Tracing on Android

Contact tracing will have the required application program interface (API), that is required for it all to work, to be baked into the OS with future firmware updates. If you really don't want to have Contract Tracing then you have to decide if you really need future updates and also understand the security ramifications of doing so.

Google is bringing contact tracing to users via Play services. Ahead of the launch, Google (and Apple) is previewing tracing apps and what settings Android users can control when it comes to contact tracing.

What are Google Play services? Google Play services powers first-party apps, security scanning, helps locate lost devices and manage the users' account settings. The service is always kept up-to-date in the background.

During the first stage of Apple and Google's tracing plan, users will (at first) use apps made by public health agencies. There will also be level controls in the 'preferences' for Google Play services. From Settings, press Google. In that section, there should be a new COVID-19 Exposure Notifications setting. This identifies whether this capability is on.

In that menu, there will be "Exposure Notification sent from" list. This will have a shortcut to open the health agency app you have downloaded. How many "Exposure Checks" that have been conducted in the last 14 days will be listed as well as the date/time of the last check.

Next are the settings for you to "delete random IDs" and "Turn off Exposure Notifications". With Exposure Notifications, Google notes that the device location needs to be enabled to detect nearby devices, but “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications don’t use device location.”.

contact tracing

How to turn off Contact Tracing on iOS

On iOS, Exposure Notifications are turned off at system level automatically. You'll have to download an app from your health authority that will need your permission to use anonymous Bluetooth data.

Apple and Google have said that in the next stages of their plan, Contact Tracing (or Exposure Notifications) will run without a third-party app but would instead use the OS itself. However, this will happen later this year.

So how to turn the contact tracing / exposure notifications off.. Read on.

On iOS 13.5 and later, you want to head to Settings. Next, swipe down and tap Privacy. There, you should see Health. After that, at the top, you should see COVID-19 Exposure Logging.

For now, you need a third-party app for Exposure Notifications to be turned on in the first place. However, you can press the toggle to turn the notifications on and off. At the bottom of the setting, you can delete the exposure logs manually.

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