Apple has today released iOS 13.7, bringing a new COVID-19 “Exposure Notifications Express” system, which removes the need to install a separate third-party app.
In a quote provided to The Verge, Apple described this new notification system as:
... the next step in our work with public health authorities on Exposure Notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the Exposure Notifications System without the need for them to build and maintain an app. Exposure Notifications Express provides another option for public health authorities to supplement their existing contact tracing operations with technology without compromising on the project’s core tenets of user privacy and security.
According to MacRumors, you can now enable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications directly in the Settings app:
After updating, iOS 13.7 users will see a new Exposure Notification section in the Settings app (it used to be in the Privacy settings) where there's a toggle to "Turn on Exposure Notifications."
Activating Exposure Notifications lets you know if the feature is available in your country, state, or region through 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.
As the focus of this update appears to be adding the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Express System , our expectation is that it does not contain any accessibility changes for blind and low-vision users. However, if you do notice any changes, improvements or regressions in your use of this release, please let us know by posting a comment below.
iOS 13.7 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, or via iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier.
Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either locally or in iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.
More information on how to update the software on your device is available on this Apple Support page.