Use the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications System on your Android phone

To help understand whether you've been exposed to someone who reports having COVID-19, you can turn on Exposure Notifications. If you change your mind, you can turn it off.

To use the system, you need to download an official app from your region’s government public health authority.

  • If you have COVID-19, you may share that info with your app to help alert the people you've been in contact with.
  • If you've been exposed to someone who has shared they have COVID-19, your app will notify you and give you further instructions.

How your phone got the update

Your Android phone regularly gets updates in the background. The Exposure Notifications System was introduced in an update to Google Play Services. 

The system is turned off by default. This technology only works if you decide to opt-in. If you change your mind, you can turn it off at any time.

Most Android phones get this update. Some Huawei phones may not get the update.

What you need to get started

Download an official app

First, download an official app from your region’s government public health authority (if available). Official apps have an Exposure Notifications badge . Apps that don't have the badge don't use the Exposure Notifications System. 

If an app is available in your region, you can download it from the Play Store. Search for “exposure notifications” or for the name of the app.

Your app will tell you how to turn on exposure notifications. To get help with your app, you can contact the app developer.

Check or change phone settings

How Exposure Notifications work

Once you opt-in to the Exposure Notifications System, it will generate random IDs on your device. To help prevent tracking, your phone's random ID changes every 10-20 minutes.

Your phone works in the background to share these random IDs via Bluetooth with the phones around you that also have Exposure Notifications on. When your phone detects a random ID from another device, it records and stores the ID on your device.

If someone reports having COVID-19 and their ID is stored on your phone, your app will notify you of next steps to take.

How the app may determine exposure

Government public health authorities determine which factors might indicate exposure.

If your app learns that you’ve come in contact with someone who reports themself as having COVID-19, the system may share information with the app, including:

  • The day the contact happened.
  • How long the contact lasted.
  • The Bluetooth signal strength of that contact.

Your public health authority app is not allowed to use your phone's location.

The Exposure Notifications System itself does not use your location or share other users’ identities with the app, Google, or Apple.

How the Exposure Notifications System protects your privacy

You choose to use the system and share your data

This system only works if you decide to use it. You control whether you receive exposure notifications, and you decide if and when to share your data. If you have COVID-19, you can choose to share your random IDs with your app.

Neither Google, Apple, nor other users can see your identity

All of the Exposure Notification matching happens on your device. This means only you and your app know if you report having COVID-19 or having been exposed to someone who has reported having COVID-19. Your identity is never shared with other users, Apple, or Google.

Your location is not tracked

The Exposure Notifications System does not collect or use the location from your device. It uses Bluetooth, which can be used to detect if two devices are near each other — without revealing where the devices are.

Your public health authority app is also not allowed to use your phone’s location or track your location in the background.

Learn why location needs to be on for Exposure Notifications to work.

Only public health authorities can use this system

Only official public health authority apps can use the system. Their apps must meet specific criteria around privacy, security, and data use.

More you can do

Turn off Exposure Notifications

Exposure Notifications are off by default.

If you opted in and changed your mind, you can turn it off in your Android phone’s Settings, or uninstall the public health app.
Important: By turning off this feature, you won't be notified if you've been exposed to COVID-19.
  1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
  3. Turn off Exposure Notifications.
Delete your exposure history
After you opt into the system, you can delete the random IDs stored on your device. They’re also automatically deleted after 14 days. You can’t delete your random IDs that may be stored on other people’s devices or that you shared with an app.
Important: By deleting this data, you won't be notified if you've been exposed to COVID-19.
  1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
  3. Tap Delete random IDs and then Delete
Get help with your public health authority app
To get help with your app, you can contact the app developer.
If you were exposed to someone who reported having COVID-19
You may get a notification from your public health authority app that you were exposed to COVID-19. If you get a notification, your app will guide you on what to do next.
If you have COVID-19

In your public health app, you may report yourself as having COVID-19.

Your app may ask you to share your random IDs. This helps the public health authority to notify others.

Your app may then check if your random IDs are stored on other people’s devices. It may alert others who came in contact with you. Those other people won't know your identity.

Related articles

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?