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How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

Recently, Apple and Google partnered up to offer a coronavirus contact tracing system for iOS and Android devices. This contact tracing system is supposed to aid health professionals in the fight against COVID-19. Here is how to turn off exposure logging and notifications on an Android device.

Google released the Exposure Notifications API to Android mobiles through a Google Play Services update in May 2020. You can find a section for COVID-19 Notifications in your Settings menu, but nothing is enabled without your permission. Also, you need to download an app from your local public health organization before you can the contact tracing feature to work.

How to turn off COVID-19 exposure tracking and notifications on Android

  1. First, open the Settings menu on your device. To get there quickly, you can swipe down from the top to the display and then tap on the gear icon. You can also locate the Settings app in the app drawer.

How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

If you do choose to use the exposure tracking feature, Apple and Google have assured users that their identities will be kept anonymous. In addition to this, Apple and Google will not receive identifying information about the users or their location data. This system has been published online and you can read it here.

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Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

To help understand whether you’ve been exposed to someone who reports having COVID-19, you can turn on Exposure Notifications. If you change your mind, you can turn it off.

To use the system, you need to either download an official app from your region’s government public health authority or, if supported in your region, enable it directly in your device Settings.

  • If you have COVID-19, you may share that info in Exposure Notifications to help alert the people you’ve been in contact with.
  • If you’ve been exposed to someone who has shared they have COVID-19, you may be notified and provided with further instructions.

How your phone got the update

Your Android phone regularly gets updates in the background. The Exposure Notifications System was introduced in an update to Google Play Services. This update did not automatically turn on Exposure Notifications or enable any Exposure Notifications functionality.

Exposure Notifications only works if you decide to opt-in. If you change your mind, you can turn it off at any time.

Most Android phones get this update. Some Huawei phones may not get the update.

What you need to get started

Some public health authorities build custom apps, some customize a template app provided by Google, and some choose an option to allow you to enable Exposure Notifications directly from device settings.

Download an official app

If supported by your region, you can download an official app from your region’s public health authority in the Play Store.

Apps that work with the Exposure Notifications System have a badge . Apps that do not have the badge do not use the Exposure Notifications System.

To download an official app:

    .
  1. If an app is available, download it from the Play Store.

Set up Exposure Notifications through device settings

If supported in your region, you can turn on Exposure Notifications directly from the settings on your Android device.

  1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap GoogleCOVID-19 Exposure NotificationsAdd a region.
    • If your region supports Exposure Notification through Settings, you won’t need to download a separate app.

Check or change phone settings

  • Make sure your phone is running Android 6.0 or above. Learn how to check and update your Android version.
  • Turn on your phone’s Bluetooth. Learn how to turn on Bluetooth.
    • On Android 10 and earlier, turn on your phone’s Location setting. Learn how to turn on Location. The system uses this to scan for Bluetooth signals but it does not collect or track your location. Learn why location needs to be on for the system to work.
    • For phones running Android 11, your phone’s Location setting does not need to be on.

    How Exposure Notifications work

    Once you opt-in to the Exposure Notifications System, it will generate random IDs on your device. To help prevent tracking, your phone’s random ID changes every 10-20 minutes.

    Your phone works in the background to share these random IDs via Bluetooth with the phones around you that also have Exposure Notifications on. When your phone detects a random ID from another device, it records and stores the ID on your device.

    If someone reports having COVID-19 and their ID is stored on your phone, your app will notify you of next steps to take.

    How exposure is determined

    Government public health authorities determine which factors might indicate exposure.

    If you may have come in contact with someone who reports themself as having COVID-19, the system may share information to help determine whether the contact meets the criteria for an exposure, including:

    • The day the contact happened.
    • How long the contact lasted.
    • The Bluetooth signal strength of that contact.

    The Exposure Notifications System itself does not use your location.

    How the Exposure Notifications System protects your privacy

    You choose to use the system and share your data

    This system only works if you decide to use it. You control whether you receive exposure notifications, and you decide if and when to share your data. If you have COVID-19, you can choose to share your random IDs to help notify others of possible exposure.

    Neither Google, Apple, nor other users can see your identity

    All of the Exposure Notification matching happens on your device. This means only you and your health authority know if you report having COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has reported having COVID-19. Your identity is never shared with other users, Apple, or Google.

    Your location is not tracked

    The Exposure Notifications System does not collect or use the location from your device. It uses Bluetooth, which can be used to detect if two devices are near each other — without revealing where the devices are.

    Your public health authority is also not allowed to use your phone’s location or track your location in the background.

    Only public health authorities can use this system

    Only official public health authority apps can use the system. Their apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data use.

    More you can do

    Exposure Notifications are off by default.

    If you opted in and changed your mind, you can turn it off in your Android phone’s Settings, or uninstall the public health app.

    1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
    2. Tap GoogleCOVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
    3. Turn off Exposure Notifications.
    1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
    2. Tap GoogleCOVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
    3. Tap Delete random IDsDelete.

    In your public health app, you may report yourself as having COVID-19.

    Your app may ask you to share your random IDs. This helps the public health authority to notify others.

    Your app may then check if your random IDs are stored on other people’s devices. It may alert others who came in contact with you. Those other people won’t know your identity.

    A couple of months ago, Google and Apple announced that both the companies are working together on a system that can track the spread of coronavirus through data collected via Bluetooth Low Energy transmissions.

    Both the companies have now rolled out this new feature through software update. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can disable the feature on your smartphone. We’ll also show you how you can turn off exposure logging and notifications on Android.

    Note that the there’s now a section for COVID-19 Notifications in the Settings menu, nothing is enabled by default. For it to work, you need to download an app from your local public health organization before any contact tracing starts working.

    How to disable Exposure Notification on Android

    Step 1: Go the “Settings” app on your smartphone. You can open the app through launcher or just by clicking the gear icon on the notifications drop-down menu.

    Step 2: Now, scroll down and search for the “Google” option and then tap on it.

    Step 3: In there, tap on “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications” at the top of the list.

    If you don’t see the option on your smartphone, then your device hasn’t received the May 2020 or newer update and the Exposure Notifications API hasn’t been installed on your smartphone.

    Step 4: Select “Delete Random IDs” to remove any anonymous Bluetooth beacon information that the smartphone has recorded.

    Step 5: You can also opt to “Turn Off Exposure Notifications” to disable the contact tracing feature entirely.

    Do note that the feature for sharing data is voluntary and only works if the user has granted permission to apps provided by the local health organization.

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    Instead of requiring a full OS update, Google is bringing exposure notifications to Android by leveraging Play services. Ahead of this month’s launch, the two companies are previewing contact tracing apps and what settings Android users will have to control COVID-19 contact tracing.

    Google Play services powers first-party apps, security scanning, helps locate lost devices, and manage account settings. It’s always kept up-to-date in the background, and how Android devices (6.0 Marshmallow and newer) will get contact tracing that’s compatible with iOS devices later this month.

    During the first stage of Apple and Google’s joint plan, users primarily interact with apps from public health agencies. There will also be system-level controls in the preferences for Google Play services. From the Settings app > Google, a new “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications” section quickly identifies whether the capability is “On.”

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    In the menu, there will be an “Exposure Notification sent from” list, with a shortcut to open the health agency app that you’ve downloaded. How many “Exposure checks” have been conducted in the past 14 days will be noted, along with the date/time of the last check.

    Next are settings to “delete random IDs” and “Turn off Exposure Notifications.” In terms of how it works, Google notes that device location needs to enabled to detect nearby Bluetooth devices, but “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications don’t use device location.” The Android and iOS contact tracing system does not collect or use GPS data to preserve privacy.

    The two companies today also previewed what third-party contact tracing apps will look like and released sample code.

    More about contact tracing:

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    Use the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications System on your phone

    • Download an app from your region’s government public health authority. To find out if an app is available, check with your government.
    • Turn on your phone’s Bluetooth.
    • Turn on your phone’s Location setting. The system uses this to scan for Bluetooth signals. The system does not collect or track your location.
    1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
    2. Tap Google > COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
    3. Turn off Exposure Notifications , or turn off notifications for a specific app.
    1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
    2. Tap Google > COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
    3. Tap Delete random IDs > Delete

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    Khamosh Pathak
    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on androidKhamosh Pathak
    Writer

    Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier’s blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet. Read more.

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    Khamosh Pathak

    Apple introduced its Exposure Notifications API in the iOS 13.5 iPhone update along with exposure logging and notifications explicitly developed to help with coronavirus contact tracing. Here’s how you can turn on or disable the COVID-19 Exposure Logging feature on your iPhone.

    Google and Apple have joined forces to create a digital version of a contact tracing framework called Exposure Notifications. If you have a health tracking app installed, your iPhone will send out randomized Bluetooth beacons to devices around you. It will also collect the beacons from phones that you have been around for 10 minutes or more.

    If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can mark themselves as infected in the health tracking app. Every day, your iPhone will download a new anonymous database of those with verified cases and check it against the beacons stored on your device. If you crossed paths in the last 14 days, you’d get a notification saying that you might have been exposed to COVID-19, and the app will guide you through the next steps.

    The Exposure Logging feature is not enabled by default, and to enable it, you need to install a tracking app (from your local public health organization.) That said, you can go in and disable the feature at any time.

    To get started, open the “Settings” app on your iPhone and select “Exposure Notifications.” You’ll find it in the block of settings that begins with “General” and ends with “Privacy.”

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    Here, you’ll find the details of the health tracking apps that you have installed.

    If you just see a “Turn On Exposure Notifications” option here, that means Exposure Notifications are not enabled. They will not be enabled unless you install an app from your local public health authority that activates them.

    You will be notified when such apps are available. To disable these notifications, turn off the “Availability Alerts” slider.

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    If you see details about an installed app here, that means Exposure Notifications are enabled. Your iPhone is communicating with other nearby iPhones and Android phones and exchanging random identifiers to track potential exposure to COVID-19.

    If you’d like to disable exposure notifications, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap “Turn Off Exposure Notifications.”

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

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    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android Khamosh Pathak
    Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier’s blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
    Read Full Bio »

    Google and Apple jointly created the Exposure Notifications System out of a shared sense of responsibility to help governments and our global community fight this pandemic through contact tracing.

    Overview

    How Exposure Notifications can help

    Traditional methods of contact tracing are critical to containing the spread of infection. Technology can support and augment these efforts by allowing public health authorities to quickly notify people who may have been exposed to a person who has contracted COVID-19, including those the person might not know directly. This starts with Exposure Notifications on your smartphone. These will help your public health authority alert you if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

    On Android, you can find the app for your area, if available, on Google Play.

    If you have an iPhone, opt-in to Exposure Notifications in your device settings.

    Using Exposure Notifications helps you protect your community — even if you’ve been vaccinated.

    Hear from the people Exposure Notifications has helped

    Molly Moon, Entrepreneur

    “I was hesitant to reopen, but knew if I didn’t, there wouldn’t be a company for my employees to return to. Exposure Notifications help all of us feel protected as we bring joy back to our community.”

    Ryan and Jennifer

    “We’re vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean COVID-19 won’t have an impact on us now. If there’s a risk of exposure, why wouldn’t we keep Exposure Notifications enabled to let us know?”

    Chris, Pastor

    “If someone tested positive, Exposure Notifications will privately alert anyone they’ve come in contact with. Being back together means the world to the congregation, and Exposure Notification helps make that possible.”

    How Exposure Notifications work

    Public health authorities around the world are building apps that use the Exposure Notifications System to help their contact tracing efforts. On Android, you can find the app for your area, if available, on Google Play. Android users will also receive a notification from the Play Store, if their state has made Exposure Notifications available.

    If you have an iPhone, opt-in to Exposure Notifications in your device settings.

    Once you opt-in to the notification system, the Exposure Notifications System will generate a random ID for your device. To help ensure these random keys can’t be used to identify you or your location, they change every 10-20 minutes.

    Your phone and the phones around you will work in the background to exchange these privacy-preserving random keys via Bluetooth. You do not need to have the app open for this process to take place.

    Your phone periodically checks all the random keys associated with positive COVID-19 cases against its own list.

    If there’s a match, you will receive a COVID-19 exposure notification, with further instructions from your public health authority on how to keep you and the people around you safe.

    Exposure Notifications and your privacy

    We understand how important your privacy is. Here’s how we’ve built this system to respect your privacy and keep you in control.

    You control whether you receive Exposure Notifications

    The Exposure Notifications System doesn’t track your location

    Neither Google, Apple, nor other users can see your identity

    Only public health authorities can use this system

    Already turned on Exposure Notifications, what’s next?

    Thank you for taking a step in protecting your friends, family and community by enabling Exposure Notifications. Using Exposure Notifications helps you protect your community — even if you’ve been vaccinated.

    What does the notification mean?

    If you receive a notification, it means that someone that you were near tested positive for COVID-19 and chose to privately share their diagnosis in the Exposure Notifications System. The notification will allow you to take action to protect yourself and those around you, like getting tested, seeking medical attention, quarantining, etc. Visit your public health website for specific guidance.

    Will others know that I received a notification? Is this information shared with others?

    The Exposure Notifications System itself does not collect or store information such as your name, contacts, or location, and does not share that information with other users.

    Some health authorities may ask for your information. You can choose to share your information when you use Exposure Notifications.

    How do I know the Exposure Notification System is working?

    Once you enable Exposure Notifications, the system will continuously run in the background to scan for other phones with Exposure Notifications enabled that you are near. If someone you were near later tests positive for COVID-19 and they report their test result in Exposure Notifications, you may be alerted about a potential exposure without the system needing to know your identity or the identities of other people you have been near.

    The Exposure Notification System uses your phone’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal strength to determine proximity to other phones. There are many factors that can affect BLE signal strength, but generally the closer two phones are to each other, the stronger the signal strength between the two.

    I received an Exposure Notification. What’s next?

    Visit your public health website for specific guidance.

    What is a code? Who do I get this from?

    After you receive a positive test result, you may receive a SMS or a phone call from your health authority. They will provide you with a code that you can use to upload your diagnosis into the Exposure Notifications System.

    By uploading your code, you are helping to keep those near you safe by alerting them so they know that they may have been exposed. In fact, a study conducted in England/Wales showed that every code upload can stop one COVID-19 infection. Uploading your diagnosis does not reveal your name or personal information to other Exposure Notifications users.

    Who will see my positive diagnosis?

    This information remains private to you, your testing provider, and the health authority. When someone receives a notification about possible exposure, they will only know approximately how many days ago the exposure happened. Your name, the time of the exposure, or where the exposure occurred will not be shared as part of the notification.

    Someone I was near tested positive for COVID-19. Why didn’t I get an Exposure Notification?

    There are different reasons why you may not receive an Exposure Notification. To start, the person who tested positive needs to be an Exposure Notification user and choose to upload their positive diagnosis.

    In addition, your health authority determines whether you receive a notification based on how close and long you were near another Exposure Notification user. Visit your health authority’s Exposure Notification website for more information.

    I have been vaccinated. Should I keep Exposure Notifications on?

    Yes. In addition to being vaccinated, Exposure Notifications is another tool to help slow the spread and is an added layer of protection to others in your community. Keeping Exposure Notifications turned on makes a difference, as the technology works better when more people use it.

    Toggle Dark Mode

    Earlier this year, Apple and Google worked together to develop exposure notification technology for COVID-19. The new system alerts a person when they have potential COVID-19 exposure after being out in public. It also makes it possible for a person to get tested right away and take the necessary precautions to limit the spread of this viral disease.

    How Exposure Notification Works

    Apple and Google’s exposure notification was designed with privacy in mind. The technology doesn’t track your location or store your personal information. It uses a low-power Bluetooth connection to detect when two phones are nearby for a long enough period to transmit the virus.

    This encounter is logged temporarily by the phone using a unique digital signature that does not expose the user’s personal information or location.

    When a person tests positive for COVID-19, this information is entered into the exposure notification system. All previous close encounters with this person are detected, and the people who were near the infected person are then alerted.

    How to Enable Exposure Notifications on iPhone

    In several states, including California, which is rolling out its exposure notification system this week, iOS users don’t need an app. You only need to be running iOS 13.7 or later to use this exposure notification system. iPhone owners can enable the exposure notification system in the Settings as follows:

    1. Open the Settings app.
    2. Scroll down and select Exposure Notifications.
    3. Select Turn on Exposure Notifications.
    4. Select the United States, then your home state.

    If your home state supports exposure notifications, you’ll need to agree to terms and conditions and follow a few steps to enable it on your phone. If your state does not use exposure notifications, iOS will prompt you to turn on alerts that’ll let you know when your state enables this system.

    Some states have developed a custom exposure notification app that residents need to download. These states include Alabama, Delaware, Guam, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming.

    How to Enable Exposure Notifications on Android

    Regardless of their state, Android users will need to download an app from the Google Play store. California, for example, is rolling out its CA Notify app this week in the Play Store.

    To find other states with an exposure notifications app, you can search for exposure notifications in the Google Play store. You also can visit your state’s Department of Public Health for more details.

    How to turn off covid-19 exposure tracking and notifications on android

    The new settings are part of an update to the operating systems, which will enable an app to run in the background.

    The “exposure notification” allows contact-tracing apps to send a notification if you’ve likely been exposed to Covid-19.

    The tool is switched off by default and requires a user to opt-in to the system. Once opted-in the system will generate a random ID for an individual’s device, which will be exchanged between devices using Bluetooth to monitor the spread of the virus.

    The exposure notification system also allows an app to measure the distance and duration between two devices, alerting users if someone they’ve been near later tests positive.

    The update is not a contact-tracing app but will be needed for an app to work on a device.

    On Android it can be found in the Google section of the settings menu, and on iPhone it is found in the health subsection of the settings app.

    The update comes after the government abandoned its centralised contact-tracing app in favour of a decentralised version from Apple and Google.

    Instead NHSX will be working with the tech giants to develop a companion app that supports the “end-to-end” NHS test and trace service.

    Field tests on both versions of the technology revealed problems with the NHSX and Apple and Google system.

    The NHSX version was able to register about 75% of nearby Android devices, but just 4% of iPhones. The Apple and Google model was more accurate, logging 99% of Android devices and iPhones, but had difficulty measuring the distance between users’ devices.

    In a joint statement Baroness Dido Harding, chair of the test and trace service, and NHSX CEO Matthew Gould, said their ambition was to develop an app that would “enable anyone with a smartphone to engage with every aspect of the NHS test and trace service”.

    The test and trace service was launched on 28 May without the app, despite it being touted as a major part of the system earlier in the year.

    A trial of the NHS contact-tracing app began on the Isle of Wight in the first week of May, but not date for a wider roll-out of the tool has been confirmed.

    NHSX is continuing to work on developing an app but it is not know if it will be in place before the winter.