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

You can be notified if you've been exposed to someone who reported having COVID-19 by turning on Exposure Notifications. If you change your mind, you can turn it off.

To use the system, you need to either download an official app from your region’s government public health authority or, if supported in your region, enable it directly in your device Settings.

  • If you have COVID-19, you may share that info in Exposure Notifications to help alert the people that you've been in contact with.
  • If you've been exposed to someone who has shared that they have COVID-19, you may be notified and provided with further instructions.

Exposure Notifications System: Helping Health Authorities fight COVID-19

How your phone received the update

Your Android phone regularly gets updates in the background. The Exposure Notifications System was introduced in an update to Google Play services. This update did not automatically turn on Exposure Notifications or enable any Exposure Notifications functionality.

Exposure Notifications only work if you decide to opt-in. If you change your mind, you can turn it off at any time.

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

What you need to get started

Some public health authorities build custom apps; some customise a template app provided by Google and some choose an option to allow you to enable Exposure Notifications directly from device settings.

Download an official app

If supported by your region, you can download an official app from your region's public health authority in the Play Store.

Apps that work with the Exposure Notifications System have a badge . Apps that do not have the badge do not use the Exposure Notifications System.

To download an official app:

  1. Find available apps for your region.
  2. If an app is available, download it from the Play Store.
The app tells you how to turn on exposure notifications. For help with your app, contact the app developer.

Set up Exposure Notifications through device settings

If supported in your region, you can turn on Exposure Notifications directly from the settings on your Android device. 

  1. On your Android device, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Google and then COVID-19 Exposure Notifications and then Select your region.
    • If your region supports Exposure Notifications through Settings, you won’t need to download a separate app.

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 exposure is determined

Government public health authorities determine which factors might indicate exposure.

If you may have come in contact with someone who reports themself as having COVID-19, the system may share information to help determine whether the contact meets the criteria for an exposure, including:

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

The Exposure Notifications System itself does not use your location.

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 to help notify others of possible exposure.

Neither Google, Apple nor other users can see your identity

All of the Exposure Notifications matching happens on your device. This means only you and your health authority knows if you report having COVID-19 or have 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 is also not allowed to use your phone’s location or track your location in the background.

In Android 10 and earlier, 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.

Other things that you can do

Turn off Exposure Notifications

Exposure Notifications are off by default.

If you opted in and changed your mind, you can turn them 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 has 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 into contact with you. Those other people won't know your identity.

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