Apple releases iOS 13.7 with Exposure Notifications Express

It has only been a week since Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 13.7, but apparently the company’s ready for a full release.

Today, Apple released iOS 13.7 and iPadOS 13.7 to folks in the wild. This is not a major software update in the grand scheme of things. Rather, iOS 13.7 is specifically meant for the iPhone’s Exposure Notification element, a system that Apple developed with Google to stem the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing. With this software update, it makes it easier for iPhone owners, and public health authorities, to adopt the contact tracing feature thanks to Exposure Notifications Express.

Specifically, for health authorities, it makes it easier to opt-in without having to utilize the API. They can simply fill out a configuration profile (with information like name, trigger criteria, logo, and more) to take advantage of the Exposure Notification system. This is directly integrated into iOS 13.7, making it much faster in general.

Per Apple and Google:

As the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app. Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for public health authorities to supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security.

Washington, D.C., Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland will be the first states to take advantage of the new Exposure Notifications Express system. What’s more, iOS and Android Exposure Notifications will be interoperable, and the new system will work perfectly fine with existing Exposure Notification apps that have already been released. And the ability to build apps utilizing the Exposure Notifications API is still an option for health authorities as well.

As for the end user, iOS 13.7 makes it easier to enable the COVID-19 contact tracing feature in the iPhone. Now, with the new software, users will be able to turn on the feature from directly within the Settings app. Users will need to agree to public health agency terms, if applicable in their region. Turning on push notifications will inform a user when their local health agency adopts Exposure Notification.

iOS 13.7 is available now. To update, simply open Settings –> General –> Software Update. If you have automatic downloads and installs turned on, your iPhone and/or iPad will automatically handle the update.