Apple and Google Release Digital Contact Tracing Technology

UTC by Steve Muchoki · 3 min read
Apple and Google Release Digital Contact Tracing Technology
Photo: Depositphotos

Apple and Google digital contact tracing system has launched in iOS and Android updates. It will allow public health departments to build their tracing apps.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google LLC (NASDAQ GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) have jointly announced that they are getting into the digital contact tracing space. According to a post made by, Google and Apple rolled out a COVID-19 exposure notification system, which is a unified programming interface that will allow public health departments to create their tracing systems.

“Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts,” the two companies said in a joint statement. “Starting today, our exposure notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android,” the statement read.

However, Apple and Google won’t make the actual contact apps as the government health bodies will. According to the two tech giants, Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina are the first states to commit publicly to using the systems in the United States.

How Apple and Google Digital Contact Tracing Works

Essentially, the technology is designed to slow down the spread of coronavirus by tracking who a person has been in close contact with using Bluetooth. It is an incredible integration of the technology with the health system to solve the COVID-19 puzzle and enable people to stay informed.

The new system will be more efficient than using GPS location tracking and central databases. The only thing that might deter the success of the project is the rate of adoption by the public, as the more phones that opt-in to the system, the more successful it can detect how the virus spreads.

According to the developer team, once an individual downloads and enables a contact tracing app on the phone, they would receive an alert if they are exposed to anyone exposed to the virus. The method assumes that the COVID-19 positive person has the application on their phone and enabled.

The companies, however, said that the new technology is meant to complement the traditional human tracing method but not to replace it. It will be a challenge to convince all people with a mobile phone to install the app and enable it.

A study conducted by the University of Oxford found that for the digital contact tracing to be effective, then 60% of the population would have to opt-in. The fastest way to tame the spread of the coronavirus according to most health experts has been increasing the daily testing capabilities, specifically to people showing symptoms and those in close contact with the victims.

It might remain the best card until a possible vaccine is approved by the relevant government bodies.

You can find more coronavirus news here.

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Steve Muchoki
Author Steve Muchoki

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