Apple recently released iOS 13.5 which also includes support for the contact tracing API in the beta form – an API that the company has been working on with Google. Along with the release of the latest version of iOS, the company also shared a sample app to show a set of best practices that the developers can practice.
iOS 13.5 not just includes the implementation of the contact tracing framework but also the authorization feature of the contact tracing service. Users do not have to agree to sharing their information and can completely opt-out of the contact tracing features completely altogether. Apple has also bundled the mechanism along with the latest iOS update, the feature which of course is however, still in beta form.
At present, there are no apps available on the App Store which uses the contact tracing API created by Apple & Google. As a result, the features related to the API will be left disabled. However, when an user installs an app created by the government or any public health authorities using the contact tracing API, the app will ask to opt-in for the feature.
The sample app provided by Apple offers a good overview for developers. Aside from the best practices, the company has also included pieces of code to show how the “central server responds” to the diagnostic services of the app.
The app shared by Apple as a sample on launch checks whether the “exposure logging” feature has been enabled. If not, the user will be asked to enable the feature and if the user declines, the user will be asked once again. The practice displayed by Apple shows a more aggressive approach to making people agree to share their diagnostic information.
It looks like Apple will allow certain practices for contact tracing apps which are usually not considered “acceptable”. However, it’s up to the developers to choose their desired practices, Apple is not pushing developers to do anything that goes beyond their beliefs.