iOS 14 accidentally shuts down COVID-19 tracing on iPhones

Apple iPhone users who signed up for the iOS 14 public beta quickly began to encounter problems with the COVID-19 tracing functionality on their devices after installing the new software, 9to5Mac reports.

Users who installed the beta version of iOS 14 found that the software disabled the COVID-19 contact tracing functionality on the device.

Navigating to the Health menu under Privacy settings after installing this update will show that the COVID-19 Exposure Logging option is turned off, even if it was enabled previously.

If users try to turn this feature on again, however, they will be told that the functionality is not available in their region.

While this would not alter functionality in countries where the service is unavailable, those who live in supported countries and have installed contract tracing applications will encounter the same error message.

This means iPhone users who use a contact tracing app and install the iOS 14 public beta will no longer be able to access the contract tracing features of their application.

Apple acknowledges the problem as a known issue with the iOS 14 public beta and is reportedly working on a fix for the issue.

How COVID-19 contact tracing works

The COVID-19 tracing functionality launched within the Android and iOS operating systems enables the use of COVID-19 tracing applications.

It is important to note that this technology does not send these companies your location data or private information – it exists only to enable COVID-19 tracing apps released in the user’s country.

Part of the specification of the technology is that no personally identifying information or location data is collected.

Rather than relying on GPS tracking or any other exchange of personal data, the exposure notification framework built into Android and iPhone devices uses Bluetooth low-energy signals to determine whether two people were in close proximity to each other.

The Apple-Google COVID-19 exposure notification framework works through the exchange of anonymous cryptographic tokens using Bluetooth low-energy signals.

Devices store the tokens they have sent, as well as the tokens they have received for 14 days.

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iOS 14 accidentally shuts down COVID-19 tracing on iPhones