Google shutters the COVID-19 exposure notification feature on Android

Google Covid 19 exposure notification
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • The COVID-19 exposure notification feature was developed by Apple and Google in 2020 to help people track potential COVID-19 exposures.
  • Millions of notifications were sent through this feature while it was live, but the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which managed the servers for this feature, ended its support in 2022.
  • While users may have received alerts on their devices to turn off exposure notifications, the feature is no longer functional on either Android or iOS.

During the pandemic, companies such as Apple and Google collaborated to develop features that made life a little easier. One of those features was COVID-19 exposure notifications, which Google has now decided to shut down.

As spotted by 9to5Google, you will no longer find the COVID-19 exposure notification setting in your Android phone's settings. With the number of cases declining and vaccines widely available, it makes sense to retire this feature. The Association of Public Health Laboratories, which oversaw the servers for this feature, also ended its support in 2022.

Google's decision to ditch the COVID-19 exposure notification feature comes a few months after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic over. However, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of WHO, stressed that the virus still exists and poses a global threat.

Apple and Google created the useful feature in early 2020 to help people track potential COVID-19 exposures. Your phone would use Bluetooth to remember who you'd been close to, and if you later tested positive, you could anonymously share that with those individuals. It sent out millions of alerts while it was active.

The software framework created by the two tech giants helped states build their own contact-tracing apps. It served as a starter kit that saved public health officials a lot of time and effort because they didn't have to start from scratch.

Apple and Google designed their exposure notification system to put most of the app development work on the shoulders of local health departments. Their focus was on making sure that the system was private and that notifications could be shared between different apps.

However, while dozens of states explored building their own app, only a handful actually went through with it. The main reason? It turned out to be a lot harder than they thought to create and launch the app.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • fuzzylumpkin
    It was a nice idea, but it wasn't really useful in practice.
  • mustang7757
    I think it should be removed , we are not in the same place with COVID 19 as it was in 2020