With iOS 13.5, Apple is adding COVID-19 exposure notifications, as a joint project with Google. You may have heard about the new technology, where your phone will be able to communicate with other phones to create a system for alerting people if they’ve come into contact with positive cases of the disease. These notifications are not mandatory, however, and can be disabled at any time.

Before we get started, please keep in mind that these notifications are likely more useful to you than something negative. While some have expressed privacy concerns with the technology (though it is a reasonably secure concept), and our Notification Centers are already full of alerts, disabling the feature could prevent you from learning whether you came into contact with someone that was COVID-19-positive. That knowledge is power and can keep both yourself and those around you as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

Step 1: Check Your iPhone’s iOS Version

If you choose to, disabling these notifications is easy and can be done at any time. Of course, your iPhone needs to be running iOS 13.5, which is still in beta. If you’re not running the software, you don’t even have the feature on your device yet. To check, head to Settings –> General, then either “About” or “Software Update.”

If your version number is iOS 13.5, head down to Step 2. If not, you don’t have anything to worry about, at least, until you update your iPhone.

Step 2: Disable the Notifications

If you are running iOS 13.5, you’ll find the option in question under Settings –> Privacy –> Health –> COVID-19 Exposure Notifications. Here, all you need to do to disable notifications is tap the toggle next to “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.” If you change your mind, you can simply hit the toggle again to reenable them.

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Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks


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