How to control COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone

Manage COVID-19 exposure notifications on iPhone
There’s no good reason not to have exposure notifications enabled.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

COVID-19 contact tracing is finally available in California — and in many other states and countries around the world. And if you have an iPhone running iOS 13.7 or later, you can now get an alert whenever you have been exposed to someone carrying the virus.

We’ll show you how to take control of COVID-19 exposure notifications on your device.

Knowing whether you’ve been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is hugely important. That information can help you make better decisions about who you have contact with, protecting your family, friends, colleagues, and anyone else you might see face-to-face.

So it’s a good idea to have exposure notifications enabled. Here’s how to access your notification preferences.

How to enable COVID-19 exposure notifications

Exposure notifications aren’t enabled by default on your iPhone, so you’ll need to activate them manually if you want to receive them. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Exposure Notifications.
  3. Tap Turn on Exposure Notifications.
  4. Hit Continue, then select your country.
  5. Select your state or region if necessary.

Continue to follow the prompts until setup is complete. If your country or region has its own contact tracing app, you will be prompted to download it from the App Store.

How to disable COVID-19 exposure notifications

To disable exposure notifications on iPhone, simple follow the same steps above but at step three, select Turn Off Exposure Notifications.

You can also delete your exposure logs by tapping Exposure Logging Status, and then selecting Delete Exposure Log. This will remove all logging information from your iPhone permanently.

Apple is keen to insist that enabling exposure notifications won’t impact your privacy. The system uses completely random keys, which change at least once every 24 hours, that cannot be used to identify you.