Apple and Google support for ‘corona apps’ available through updates

21/05/2020

Apple and Google support for 'corona apps' available through updates

Apple and Google are releasing software updates today that are necessary for contact research apps to work properly. This should help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. The two companies have been working on a notification system in recent weeks .

In the case of iOS, Apple’s operating system, this happens in the form of the update iOS 13.5. At Google it works on devices with Android 6.0 and higher and comes in the form of an update for Google Play Services.

22 countries requested access

Only selected apps from health authorities can access the functionality. 22 countries on five continents have now requested access. Apple has announced that the Netherlands also belongs to this group.

The system uses Bluetooth technology and uses the distance to another device and the duration of the contact to determine whether to report a potential contamination. The two companies leave the adjustment of these parameters to the health authorities.

Apple and Google emphasize that their system complements normal contact research and should not be seen as a substitute for it. In the Netherlands , experts have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of such an app. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health is still working on it, it is unclear how far this app is.

Give explicit permission

Users will soon have to give explicit permission to turn on the notifications themselves and can withdraw them at any time, the two companies say. The user also decides whether to report a positive diagnosis. The function is turned off at regional level when it is no longer needed.

Using a contact research app is the first step; Ultimately, Apple and Google want to embed the contact research into their operating system. An update for this is expected later this year. Even then it only works if a user consciously switches on the function.

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