Apple Assisting Authorized Repair Shops With COVID-Related Expenses

In an internal memo last week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that it will assist its third-party repair partners around the world with COVID-19-related expenses, such as cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.


All eligible Apple Authorized Service Providers will receive a subsidy from Apple by way of increased payouts for each completed repair. The subsidy is retroactive and the length it is offered will depend on stay-at-home guidelines in each country. Service providers are encouraged to contact their Apple representatives for more details.

To find an Apple Authorized Service Provider in your local area, visit the Get Support page on Apple’s website and follow the steps to initiate a repair.

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Apple and Google Launch COVID-19 Exposure Notification API, Over 20 Countries Have Requested and Received Access

Apple and Google today launched their Exposure Notification API to assist public health authorities around the world with slowing the spread of COVID-19.


On the Apple side, the API is available in the iOS 13.5 software update released today. Apple said that several U.S. states and 22 countries around the world have requested and received access to the API to date, with more expected to join in the coming weeks. A few of the committed states so far include Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota.

Apple and Google have consulted with a number of public health authorities on the API, including the CDC, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Public Health Informatics Institute of the Taskforce for Global Health.

Apple and Google said that the API is intended to supplement rather than substitute for traditional contact tracing. In a statement, the companies said that the API is designed to make contact tracing apps work better:

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance.

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app — rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts.

Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota:

North Dakota is excited to be among the first states in the nation to utilize the exposure notification technology built by Apple and Google to help keep our citizens safe. The CARE19 Exposure app will help us improve contact tracing and continue our ND Smart Restart by notifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, reaching the greatest number of people in a way that protects their privacy. As we respond to this unprecedented public health emergency, we invite other states to join us in leveraging smartphone technologies to strengthen existing contact tracing efforts, which are critical to getting communities and economies back up and running.

Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama State Health Officer:

The State of Alabama’s priority as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together is the health and safety of its citizens as well as their privacy. In partnership with Apple and Google, the Alabama Department of Public Health, University of Alabama System, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we are harnessing technology to accelerate exposure notification to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that we can all be safe together.

Leslie A. Lenert MD, Assistant Provost for Data Science and Informatics and Chief Research Information Officer, Medical University of South Carolina:

The Department of Health and Environment Concerns (DHEC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are building the SC-Safer-Together COVID-19 risk management app, which is designed to let people know anonymously that they may have been exposed to the virus and giving them the option to connect with public health officials. Built to tough medical privacy protection standards by health care providers, the SC Safer Together app, using the Apple-Google system, protects users’ privacy and will help South Carolina safely get back to work. MUSC is also proud to be working with Clemson University and the University of California San Diego on smart and private extensions that will further enhance the app’s capabilities.

To learn how the API works, read our Exposure Notification guide.

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Apple Updates COVID-19 App With New CDC Recommendations for Healthcare Workers and Best Practices for Quarantining

Apple today updated its COVID-19 screening app, created to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.


Today’s update includes updated recommendations for healthcare workers to align with CDC guidelines, plus best practices for quarantining if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

The app update also adds new information for pregnancy and newborns. Apple has also updated its accompanying COVID-19 website to provide the same new information for those who prefer to use the website.

Apple created the COVID-19 app and website in partnership with the CDC, White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA. Along with the features introduced today, the tools provided by Apple let users answer a series of questions on risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms to receive CDC recommendations on the next steps that they need to take.

The screening tool is available to anyone who is 18 years or older in the United States. Data provided in the COVID-19 app and on the website is not shared with Apple, the CDC, or other government agencies.

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Apple Awards $10 Million to COVID-19 Testing Kit Maker From Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Apple has announced it is awarding $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to COPAN Diagnostics, a market leader in sample collection kits that play a critical role in COVID-19 testing across the United States.


The funding aims to allow COPAN to rapidly accelerate the supply of sample collection kits for hospitals across the U.S., expanding production from several thousand today to more than one million kits per week by early July.

Apple says it will also support COPAN’s expansion to a new, larger facility in Southern California that will be built out with advanced equipment that Apple is helping to design.

“We feel a deep sense of responsibility to do everything we can to help medical workers, patients, and communities support the global response to COVID-19,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “COPAN is one of the world’s most innovative manufacturers of sample collection kits for COVID-19 testing, and we’re thrilled to partner with them so they can expand as we work to address this critical issue for our nation. I couldn’t be prouder of our teams for bringing all of their energy, passion, and innovative spirit to supporting the country’s COVID-19 response.”

“We’re excited to forge this new relationship with Apple, whose teams are already making a huge difference with our efforts to scale up the production of our sample collection and transport kits,” said Norman Sharples, CEO of COPAN Diagnostics. “Collection and transport kits are a critical component in the fight against COVID-19. At COPAN, we’re excited and grateful for this partnership with Apple as our strong beliefs of innovation, quality, and excellence in manufacturing and design are perfectly aligned. Apple’s operational expertise will help us increase delivery of important pre-analytical tools for medical professionals across the country at this critical time.”

Apple is sourcing equipment and materials for the project from companies across the U.S., including including equipment Apple is helping design from K2 Kinetics, based in York, Pennsylvania, and MWES in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Apple has donated several million dollars toward the global COVID-19 response, including Global Citizen and America’s Food Fund. It has also designed and distributed almost 10 million face shields, sourced over 30 million face masks for healthcare professionals, and developed a COVID-19 exposure notification API for use by public health authorities around the world.

CEO Tim Cook announced Apple’s $1 billion Fund for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs in May 2017. The other major benefactor since then has been Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass).

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Apple Expands Reach of Mobility Trends Report Tool to Help Mitigate COVID-19 Spread

Apple has significantly added to the data available through its Mobility Trends Reports tool using information collected from Apple Maps.


Apple’s reports are designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by providing helpful insights to local governments and health authorities, although anyone can use the tool to search by country, region, or city to see specifics trends for an area.

When Apple released the tool last month, it included data from major citis and 63 counties or regions. As noted by Asymco’s Horace Dediu (via 9to5Mac), Apple has added approximately 580 new sub-regions to its database.

According to Dediu, all U.S. states and 530 other providences are now represented in the data. Apple generates the data by counting the number of requests made to ‌‌Apple Maps‌‌ for directions.

The data sets are compared to reflect a change in the number of people who are driving, walking, or taking public transit, and Apple says that data availability in a particular place is subject to factors like minimum thresholds for direction requests made per day.

With the tool, users can search to see how routing requests have shifted since January 13, 2020, leading up to today. Apple also provides a complete downloadable data set that features daily changes in requests for directions by transportation type for all available countries and cities.


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Apple and Google Reveal How COVID-19 Exposure Notification Apps Will Function

Apple and Google today are providing public health authorities around the world with new resources to help them make COVID-19 exposure notification apps, including sample user interfaces and sample code for iOS and Android.

iOS 13.5 will include a new menu in Settings > Health > COVID-19 Exposure Logging that indicates which public health authority app a user is using, in addition to showing the number of times that a user’s exposure log has been checked in the past 14 days.


If a user is potentially exposed to COVID-19, they would receive a push notification from the public health authority’s app.


Here’s what the app could display when a user goes to report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis:


Apple and Google today also shared a list of requirements that all developers of apps that use their Exposure Notifications API must adhere to:

  • Apps must be created by or for a government public health authority and they can only be used for COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Apps must require users to consent before the app can use the API.
  • Apps must require users to consent before sharing a positive test result with the public health authority.
  • Apps should only collect the minimum amount of data necessary and can only use that data for COVID-19 response efforts. All other uses of user data, including targeting advertising, is not permitted.
  • Apps are prohibited from seeking permission to access Location Services.
  • Use of the API will be restricted to one app per country to promote high user adoption and avoid fragmentation. If a country has opted for a regional or state approach, Apple and Google are prepared to support those authorities.

Last week, Apple seeded the third beta of iOS 13.5 with the code needed to run apps built using the Exposure Notifications API, and it continues to target mid-May for a public release of the software update. Apple also released the first beta of Xcode 11.5 with a new version of the iOS SDK incorporating the API.

Apple and Google said their API is just one component of the broader efforts that public health authorities are undertaking worldwide to help curb the pandemic, including testing, traditional contact tracing, and containment.

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Apple’s COVID-19 App Gains Updated CDC Symptoms, Cloth Mask Tips

Apple today updated its COVID-19 screening app, which was created to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus.


The new version of the app includes updated symptoms and recommended actions that align with the CDC guidelines. The CDC this week added several new symptoms that can be signs of the coronavirus, including chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of smell or taste.

Apple’s updated COVID-19 app also includes tips for wearing a cloth mask to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. The mask section includes tips on creating a mask, how to wear it, where to wear it, and how to sanitize it.

Apple has also updated its accompanying COVID-19 website to provide the same information.

Apple developed the COVID-19 app and website in partnership with the CDC, White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA. Along with the features introduced today, the tools provided by Apple let users answer a series of questions on risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms to receive CDC recommendations on the next steps that they need to take.

The screening tool is available to anyone who is 18 years or older in the United States. Data provided in the COVID-19 app and on the website is not shared with Apple, the CDC, or other government agencies.

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Apple’s Earnings Report Today to Reveal COVID-19’s Impact on iPhone Sales

Apple will report its financial results for the second quarter of its 2020 fiscal year at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time today, providing a first look at how the company’s sales have been affected by the global health crisis.


On February 17, Apple announced that it no longer expected to meet its March quarter revenue guidance due to COVID-19’s impact on the iPhone supply chain and demand for its products in China. The virus has since become a global pandemic, with all Apple Stores outside of China and Korea remaining closed.

Apple’s letter to shareholders at the time:

Our quarterly guidance issued on January 28, 2020 reflected the best information available at the time as well as our best estimates about the pace of return to work following the end of the extended Chinese New Year holiday on February 10. Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated. As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter…

Apple had forecasted revenue between $63 billion and $67 billion for the quarter, which ran December 29 through March 28. On average, analysts now expect that figure to be approximately $54.5 billion, down six percent from $58 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The second quarter encompassed the launch of new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models, which became available to order on March 18.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Luca Maestri will review the financial results on a conference call at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, with a live stream on Apple’s website. MacRumors will be providing detailed coverage of the remarks.

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How to Opt Out of COVID-19 Exposure Notifications in iOS 13.5

Apple in iOS 13.5 is introducing an exposure notification API designed to allow apps created by public health authorities worldwide to notify people who come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 about their exposure to the virus.


Apple’s Exposure Notification feature is privacy focused and shares no personally identifiable information or location data with the public health authorities creating the apps, but some users may want to opt out of the feature, which is enabled by default when upgrading to iOS 13.5.

Apple in the iOS 13.5 update added a toggle to disable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications for those who do not want to participate and do not want to be notified should they come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. Here’s how to get to it:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap on Health.
  4. Tap on COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.
  5. Tap the toggle to turn the feature off.

The purpose of the exposure notification system is to limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible by informing people who have been exposed so they can self-isolate and get recommendations from their local health authorities. Because it works by allowing two smartphones to interface with one another using random identifier beacons and Bluetooth, it works best when most people have it turned on.

Re-enabling Exposure Notifications can be done by following the steps above and tapping the toggle to turn the feature back on. If the toggle is green, it’s on, and if the toggle is gray, it’s off.

iOS 13.5 is available in a beta capacity at the current time, and there won’t be apps that take advantage of Exposure Notifications until the update is released. Receiving Exposure Notifications also requires downloading an app from a public health organization that uses the API and agreeing to its terms and conditions. Simply having the toggle turned on won’t do anything without the app.

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Apple Lays Groundwork for Coronavirus Exposure Notification API in iOS 13.5 Beta 3 and New Xcode 11.5 Beta

Apple is today releasing the third beta of iOS 13.5 for developers along with the first beta of Xcode 11.5, laying the groundwork for the release of its opt-in exposure notification APIs that will be used by public health apps to create coronavirus contact tracing tools.

iOS 13.4.5 has been bumped up to iOS 13.5 to include the code that’s necessary to run the first apps built using the exposure notification API, while Xcode 11.5 includes a new version of the iOS SDK with the exposure notification API.


Apple is working with Google on its exposure notification initiative, and Google has also delivered its beta Google Play Services update with the exposure notification API and SDK to select developers who can test using Android Developer Studio.

Public health authorities are able to use these new tools to begin getting their apps that take advantage of exposure notification ready. Apple is planning to release its exposure notification API in mid-May following the testing period.

Apple and Google first announced plans to develop Bluetooth-based contact tracing technology (now known as exposure notification) on April 10, providing a privacy-focused way to track coronavirus exposure.

The beta API released today is the first part of a two-prong effort to provide an exposure notification platform for health agencies. Apps created by verified health authorities can incorporate the API to allow smartphones to communicate with one another, providing users with notifications if they’ve come into contact with someone that is later diagnosed with COVID–19.

When smartphone users with a contact tracing app installed come into contact with another person that also has an app installed, their phones exchange an anonymous identifier beacon. If one of those people contracts coronavirus, they can then choose to notify all of the other people they’ve been in contact with, and at that point, all the other smartphones that have exchanged info with the infected person’s smartphone will be notified.

The API works cross platform on both iOS and Android devices, and it was built with privacy and transparency in mind. A random, rotating identifier, which changes every 15 minutes, is assigned to a person’s phone and transmitted via Bluetooth to nearby devices.

No personally identifiable information is associated with the identifier, and the list of identifiers a person has been in contact with doesn’t leave the phone unless the user decides to share it. Users that test positive will not be identified to other users, Apple, or Google, and location data is not collected.

Exposure time is recorded in five minute intervals, with the maximum exposure time capped at 30 minutes. All Bluetooth metadata is encrypted, and exposure estimates will rely on the power level of the Bluetooth signal to determine the distance between two phones when contact was made.

Public health authorities will be able to define and calculate an exposure risk level that they can choose to assign to users in the event they are notified of COVID–19 exposure, allowing for fine-tuned notifications that will evaluate exposure based on information like approximate distance and exposure duration. Exposure risk is calculated on users’ devices in the app and the data is not shared with Apple or Google.

Apple and Google on Friday plan to release additional information including sample code that will aid developers in understanding how the exposure notification system will operate, and specific criteria for developing apps.

Detailed privacy information about Apple’s exposure notification initiative is available on Apple’s Contact Tracing website, with info on Bluetooth and Cryptography specifications along with a Frequently Asked Questions feature.

In the future, Apple and Google plan to debut a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform that is built into iOS and Android, allowing more individuals to participate.

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