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iOS 14.0.1 Fixes COVID Alert App Exposure Notifications Issue [Update]

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The federal government’s Canadian Digital Service (CDS) today announced the latest iOS 14.0.1 update has fixed an issue related to “an inconsistency in push notifications” between the COVID Alert app and iOS Exposure Notifications.

“We’ve heard some feedback from users that there’s an inconsistency in push notifications between Apple’s Exposure Notifications and Health Canada’s COVID Alert app,” explained CDS.

“Some notifications are sent from your phone’s operating system and not from COVID Alert itself. Your OS defines exposures differently from the app,” further added CDS.

“If you get a notification from your operating system that you’ve been exposed, check the COVID Alert app before taking action. The app follows Canada’s public health guidance to determine an exposure.”

CDS did not get into specifics about the issue, only to note iOS 14.0.1 has fixed the problem. We’ve reached out for clarification and will update this post accordingly.

“This issue has been resolved on iPhone devices with the latest software update. So if you haven’t already, make sure you have the latest OS installed to fix this issue.”

Canada’s COVID Alert app is based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification framework, which leverages Bluetooth on devices for anonymous “handshakes” in the background. The app does not use GPS info or collect any user data. It has been vetted as safe by Canada’s privacy commissioner and provincial counterparts.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can anonymously alert others that may have been in contact using COVID Alert, by obtaining a one-time use from their provincial health authority.

Apple released iOS 14.0.1 for iPhones on September 24, so it may be worth updating if you haven’t already. Just head to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone.

COVID Alert is launching tomorrow in Prince Edward Island, while Nova Scotia says it is in its final stages of prepping for its own debut in supporting the app. So far, COVID Alert is supported in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Update Oct. 9, 2020: A CDS spokesperson told iPhone in Canada in a statement, “there have been some instances of COVID Alert users on Apple operating systems getting exposure notifications from their phone’s operating system and not from the COVID Alert app itself. To clarify, this notification comes from the Apple operating system, not from the COVID alert app.”

“If you get a notification from your operating system that you have been exposed, check the COVID Alert app before taking action. If the COVID Alert app indicates that you have been exposed to COVID-19, follow public health guidance. Apple device users should update to iOS 13.7 as soon as they can, as Apple has now fixed this issue,” added the spokesperson.

“The COVID Alert app is continually re-assessed and updated as it rolls out across the country based on provincial needs, user research and testing,” said the government agency spokesperson.

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