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iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro Users May Need to Re-Enable COVID-19 Contact Tracing When Switching: Report

iPhone users in the UK faced the issue while trying to access the NHS app.

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro Users May Need to Re-Enable COVID-19 Contact Tracing When Switching: Report

iPhone models appear to have exposure notifications turned off by default

  • New iPhone users spotted the issue in the UK
  • Exposure Notifications not available for iPhone users in India
  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro was launched a couple weeks ago

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro users in the UK reportedly came across an issue that requires its contact tracing feature to be re-enabled to function properly. When switching to a new iPhone from an older model, users can easily set up their previously installed apps from Cloud backups. However, users of National Health Service (NHS) contact tracing app faced settings-related issues when they tried to open the app. It should be noted that several countries, including India, doesn't have access to Exposure Notification feature on iPhones due to restrictions from the countries' public health authority.

According to a report by BBC, users who switched to iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro – launched earlier this month – faced an error message when trying to access the NHS COVID-19 app. The pop-up message suggested that the app can't be run due to “a restriction in your settings.” When the app was deleted and re-installed, it then asked users to re-enable exposure notifications. The app started working again, however, all the locations users had previously checked into got deleted. This could suggest that after restoring an earlier iPhone backup, the exposure notification feature automatically got disabled.

The Verge restored one of its own iPhone 12 models from a backup and noticed that the exposure notifications were indeed turned off by default. This suggests that the issue could be specific to the phones and not to the NHS app.

To activate exposure notifications on your iPhone, head to Settings > Exposure Notifications > Turn On Exposure Notifications > Continue > Select Your Country or Region.

India is among several countries that cannot use the feature on iPhone handsets. If you follow the above steps and select India from the list of countries, you'll get a pop-up message that says, “Exposure Notifications have not been turned on for your region by your public health authority.”

The exposure notifications feature was first announced in May by Apple and Google as a part of their contact tracing system to help users detect the spread of COVID-19. Working with various contact tracing apps, such as the NHS app, it will result in notifications to pop up on the screen to alert users if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or is at risk of being exposed to COVID-19. It is up to the public health authorities of different countries to decide if the notifications will pop up and what steps should be advised to users.

Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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Shayak Majumder
Shayak Majumder is Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. A journalist since 2013, he has worked both on the field as well as behind the desk in several organisations including Indian Express Online and MSN. As a reporter, he covered a wide range of verticals, from politics to the development sector. While at Indian Express, he regularly reviewed video games, gaming hardware and the growth of MMORPG in India. He is also a passionate musician and a former trainer, currently working on his upcoming EP. ...More
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