How to opt out of COVID-19 contact tracing in iOS 13.5

Apple in iOS 13.5 is introducing an “exposure notification” (née “contact tracing”) API designed to allow apps created by developers working with governments worldwide to notify users of such apps that they’ve come into “contact” with someone who has COVID-19 and potentially been exposed to the virus.

In May, Apple and Google will release APIs that enable interoperability between iOS and Android devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.

Next, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This promises to be a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.

In Apple’s iOS 13.5 beta, you can opt out of COVID-19 contact tracing (“exposure notification”).

contact tracing opt out: Apple's iOS 13.5 COVID-19 Exposure Notifications can be turned off
Apple’s iOS 13.5 COVID-19 Exposure Notifications can be turned off

Juli Clover for MacRumors:

Apple in the iOS 13.5 update added a toggle to disable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications for those who do not want to participate…

[ Here’s how to opt out of COVID-19 contact tracing in iOS 13.5 ]

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
3. Tap on Health.
4. Tap on COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
5. Tap the toggle to turn the feature off.

iOS 13.5 is available in a beta capacity at the current time, and there won’t be apps that take advantage of Exposure Notifications until the update is released. Receiving Exposure Notifications also requires downloading an app from a public health organization that uses the API and agreeing to its terms and conditions.

MacDailyNews Take: It looks easy enough to opt out of contact tracing and, better yet, each app will have to ship with that toggle in the off and ask users for their permission to toggle it on.


  1. It should be off by default. This is a huge fail by Apple on privacy, it is quite astounding considering their usual strength in protecting privacy. This sounds more like a google move here.

        1. The moon hasn’t fallen yet, but you don’t know that it won’t. I wouldn’t bet on a suspension of the laws of motion any more than I would bet on Apple suspending its commitment to privacy.

  2. The way the Google/Apple API works is by broadcasting random numbers all the time from your phone to any phones nearby via bluetooth. Your phone also records what numbers it sees. If you later test positive, your phone uploads the numbers it has broadcast onto a central database. Anybody whose phone has come into contact with you can recognize those numbers and can direct the user to self-isolate. This way, the system can find infected people while they’re still presymptomatic.

    Your privacy is preserved. No location data is used, and nobody knows which numbers belong to whom except for the person who generated them.

    1. Your privacy may be preserved, however, the government health agencies will know which phones were within the infection radius. If they know the phones they also know who owns them.
      Why not let the people decide If they want It on their phones rather than making it compulsory, forcing them to take it and removing a person’s right to choose?

  3. Okay, so who here is actually naive enough to think the contact tracing “opt-out button” actually functions? Oh well, I guess I can manage without my i-Phone 8. Now where have some of us heard of our right to privacy before: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”? Oh that’s right (pun) – the fourth amendment. Rights do not come from governments or corporations, you are born with God given inalienable rights. Unless you exercise your rights you will loose them.

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