Recently, Apple and Google partnered up to offer a coronavirus contact tracing system for iOS and Android devices. This contact tracing system is supposed to aid health professionals in the fight against COVID-19. Here is how to turn off exposure logging and notifications on an Android device.
Google released the Exposure Notifications API to Android mobiles through a Google Play Services update in May 2020. You can find a section for COVID-19 Notifications in your Settings menu, but nothing is enabled without your permission. Also, you need to download an app from your local public health organization before you can the contact tracing feature to work.
How to turn off COVID-19 exposure tracking and notifications on Android
- First, open the Settings menu on your device. To get there quickly, you can swipe down from the top to the display and then tap on the gear icon. You can also locate the Settings app in the app drawer.
- Then, scroll down until you see the Google option and tap that.
- Next, tap on COVID-19 exposure notifications. This option should be at the top of the list. If it is not, your device has not received the May 2020 Google Play Services update. And the API is not installed on your phone.
- If you have manually installed a contact tracing app from your local public health organization and given it permission to use the Exposure Notifications API, the options will not be grayed out, as seen below. Without installing the additional app, this feature won’t work and you cannot disable it.
- However, if you have installed a contact tracing app and gave it permission to use Apple and Google’s API, you can select Delete Randoms IDs and Turn Off Exposure Notifications to disable the contact tracing feature.
If you do choose to use the exposure tracking feature, Apple and Google have assured users that their identities will be kept anonymous. In addition to this, Apple and Google will not receive identifying information about the users or their location data. This system has been published online and you can read it here.
Any way to just delete this service from my phone altogether? I didn’t ask for it.
How to remove the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
Go to the android play store
click on the tree horizontal lines that appear at the top left
Click on “Settings”
Click on “Automatic app update”
Select “Do not automatically update apps” and confirm by pressing “end”
Open android settings
Search “Find my device” and disable it
Go back to the android settings
Look for Apps or Applications
Click on “Show all apps” or “Show System apps”
Click on “Google Play Services”
Click on the 3 vertical dots at the top right
Click on “Uninstall updates”
Press “OK” at the confirmation request
Some steps may be slightly different on your version of android installed on your device.
However, it is important that the “Find my phone” feature is disabled at this stage.
It can then be reactivated if you wish.
And that’s it, go check if it’s gone.
From now on, just remember to never update the “Google Play Services”, which
is usually solicited with a warning in the status bar in form of a triangle,
but you can turn that message off.
And once a week or so, update your apps manually.