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How to manage COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone

Apple and Google partnered to offer a secure and private coronavirus contact tracing implementation on iOS and Android. Follow along for how to turn on/off COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone in iOS settings.

Update 12/30/21:  One of Apple’s executives shared more about how contact tracing hasn’t been widely adopted in the US and says it shouldn’t have been left for individual states to adopt it. Just after, a report from the Washington Post highlighted that over 20 US states don’t support Apple/Google’s contact tracing.

Anonymous COVID-19 contact tracing via Bluetooth (not GPS location) became available starting with iOS 13.5. Contact tracing is called “Exposure Notifications” on iPhone and is turned off by default.

Apple and Google have detailed how contact tracing is built on privacy and security, read more about that in our full explainer and on Apple’s website.

How to turn on/off COVID-19 contact tracing on iPhone

COVID-19 Exposure Notifications (contact tracing) is off by default in iOS. That means it does not collect any data without you turning the feature on. Follow along below to check our settings.

In iOS 14/15 and later

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Swipe down and tap Exposure Notifications just above Battery
  3. Contact tracing (Exposure Notifications) are off by default – you can confirm your setting at the top
  4. Tap Turn on Exposure Notifications to see if the feature is available in your area
  5. You can only use the feature if a local health authority has made it available
  6. You can toggle off “Availability Alerts” if you don’t want to know when contact tracing is available in your area
How to turn off/on contact tracing iPhone iOS 14 and 15 tutorial - walkthrough 1

In iOS 13.6.1 and earlier

  1. Head to Settings on your iPhone
  2. Swipe down and tap Privacy
  3. Now choose Health
  4.  Tap COVID-19 Exposure Logging at the top
  5. You’ll need an authorized app before Exposure Notifications can be turned on. But then you can tap the toggle to turn notifications on or off
  6. You can also delete the exposure logs manually at any time at the bottom of the settings

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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.