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California finally rolls out COVID-19 iPhone contact tracing based on Apple’s Exposure Notifications

After launching a pilot program for digital contact tracing last month, the state of California has made contract tracing available today, December 10. That’s about half a year after Apple/Google made the feature available on iPhone and Android. But better late than never as the support will allow the almost 40 million people living in California to stay safer amid the pandemic.

We’ve been keeping a detailed and updated list of all the U.S. states that are offering contact tracing through iPhone and today marks a milestone of Apple’s home state finally offering support for the contact tracing that it developed in partnership with Google (via TechCrunch). It’s been a long time coming and notably, California was hit early by the pandemic along with New York. All of that considered along with California being on the leading edge in tech and more, this was a quite slow response to getting digital contact tracing going.

California developed its Exposure Notifications software to work with the CA Notify app. However, the CA Notify website highlights that you don’t need to download the app to opt-in to contact tracing on iPhone or Android. Earlier this week California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the public rollout is starting today, Thursday, December 10.

We’ve got detailed walkthroughs on how to opt-in to contact tracing on iPhone as well as how it preserves your privacy and security.

Here’s how California decided to customize Apple and Google’s framework:

In the case of California, the state has set contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual of within 6 feet, for a period of 15 minutes or more as meriting an exposure notification. Users who receive a positive COVID-19 test will get a text message from the Department of Public Health for the state that contains a code they input in the CA Notify app in order to trigger an alert broadcast to any phones that met the criteria above during the prior 14 days (the period during which the virus is transmissible).

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.