Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the launch as “a defining moment”.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology,” said Mr. Hancock. “The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time.”
A first version of the NHS contact-tracing app, which was intended for use in the entire UK, was trialed in May but was scrapped. The app did not use the API created by Apple and Google.
The new app does use the Apple and Google API that detects other nearby smartphones. Scotland has already launched its own contract-tracing app that uses the Apple and Google API.
The API allows iPhone and Android smartphones to communicate with each other for contact tracing purposes only. If a user has been near someone that later tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a notification, allowing them to take the proper steps to self isolate and seek medical help if needed.
As of iOS 13.7, iPhones will offer a new Exposure Notification section in the Settings app where there’s a toggle to “Turn on Exposure Notifications.”
Once you’ve activated the feature, it lets you know if the feature is available in your country, state, or region via a contact tracing app. In areas that are participating in the Exposure Notifications Express program, users will be able to turn on Exposure Notifications without the need to download an app.