Apple and Google COVID-19 Tracing API Rolls Out This May, Feature Available on iOS 13.5 Beta 3

Image via AppleInsider 
Apple’s partnership with Google in the development of the coronavirus contact tracing tool will be rolled out to Android iPhone users on the 1st of May. It is already developed by Apple employees in less than a month, which will also be launched by the company. Here is how the two companies are contributing to the public health crisis, which involves a user’s iPhone or Android phone, a COVID-19 app from Apple or Google, and Bluetooth.

Apple and Google’s methodologies of contact tracing involve tracking the exponential growth of the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. It monitors an infected iPhone or Android user and its close contacts with other users, which the iPhone user infected with COVID-19 enters in their information on their state or local public health coronavirus tracking app on their iPhone. Coronavirus-stricken iPhone users then input in their positive coronavirus test results in the app, and other iPhone and Android users who are participating in the “exposure notification” program and with the device’s Bluetooth settings on will be notified via the app exchanging unique identifiers from the infected iPhone to close contact’s iPhone and vice versa. The COVID-19 positive iPhone users’ identifiers exchanged via Bluetooth to the exposed iPhone and Android users will be uploaded to iCloud and other cloud services for the next two weeks, which is the average length of incubation of the coronavirus before symptom onset, and the self-isolation period for COVID-19.

Apple has started developing the contract tracing project since mid-March, with a dozen of their employees in a small team named “Bubble”, led by software chief Craig Federighi and COO Jeff Williams. Williams is also the head of the healthcare and HealthKit departments at Apple. All of the employees in the “Bubble” team found out that the tool can help iPhone users to think twice about self-quarantine and help loosen the mandatory lockdowns set by the state or federal government agencies in their area.

It is unusual for the project to be completed in only a month and a half, as the company worked and collaborated quickly to come up with a solution to contain and slow down the spread of COVID-19. The early members of the new team included employees from the HealthKit, location services, and software departments at the Cupertino company. Two of the experts came from the cryptography division at Apple alongside other employees who volunteered to bring the project over the last month.

The team also has been getting the contact tracing features to work on the background on iOS devices, but it is not possible due to the strict security protocols that are put in Apple’s software. Other countries and regions have already provided similar technologies to track and contain coronavirus cases from iPhone and Android users, such as Singapore, South Korea, and in the UK. Google is working on its COVID-19 contact tracing app, which is codenamed as “Apollo” and started in late March. Google’s VP of Android Dave Burke has already been collaborating with Apple since that time.

Therefore, the feature is already live for iPhone users running iOS 13.5 developer beta 3 and will be available in May when iOS 13.5 is released to the public. The contact tracing system-level API is compatible with iPhones running the next version or later, from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 11 Pro. The API will also be cross-compatible with Android phones as Google is collaborating with Apple to bring the feature to its users.

Post a Comment

أحدث أقدم