Apple has launched iOS 12.5.1 for older iPhones and iPads today, approximately a month after the launch of iOS 12.5. The update features bug fixes for the COVID-19 exposure notification.
The previous month, Apple released iOS 12.5 to the older models, bringing support for COVID-19 exposure notifications. This was a crucial modification as it stretches contact tracing to iPhones that are incompatible with iOS 14, including devices like the extremely popular iPhone 6 series.
According to the official version of Apple, it has said the following in the release notes for the update- “This update fixes an issue where Exposure Notifications could incorrectly display logging profile language.”
iOS 12.5.1 is available for the following devices:
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPod touch 6th gen
- iPad Air
- iPad mini 2
- iPad mini 3
- iPhone 5s
How will the COVID-19 exposure notifications function?
If a user activates the feature, the device will frequently send out a beacon via Bluetooth that comprises of a random Bluetooth identifier. If two people are in close proximity to each other, their devices will exchange and record these Bluetooth identifiers.
Assume that someone tests positive for COVID-19. In that case, he/she can willingly report the positive test to the Exposure Notification application for their region. The Exposure Notification API will also accordingly download a list of the keys for the beacons that have been confirmed as belonging to people who tested positive for COVID-19 and check against that list. If there is a match, the user will be notified and advised on the next course of action.
Privacy is crucial in the Exposure Notification API. Probably, the most authentic privacy protection in Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification API is that location data has no role in how it works. The two companies claim that these applications will gather as fewer data as possible, and location data is not required for this Bluetooth-based approach.