Apple and Google have released the much anticipated first iteration of an API intended to aid in global COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. The new API, which has been dubbed the Exposure Notification API, is being rolled out initially to a small group of developers that will develop contact tracing applications for public health organizations.
ProgrammableWeb covered the initial announcement of this joint effort, stating that:
“The initial plan is for Apple and Google to develop APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices. This interoperability will be limited to communication between applications that are developed by partnering health authorities and target contact tracing initiatives. This initial API-centric phase is expected to be introduced sometime in May 2020.”
The two tech giants subsequently announced an advanced release date of April 28th. This week’s announcement is the fulfillment of that promise.
The next step is anticipated to be a broader rollout of the API, followed by Apple and Google eventually releasing a solution that is more deeply embedded into their mobile operating systems. For an end user’s devices to be compatible with the contact tracing applications that are currently being developed users will need to update to the latest OS version. Apple has announced iOS 13.5 to support this and Google has announced similar updates.