How to disable COVID-19 notifications on Android

In collaboration with Apple, Google has published an Exposure Notifications API that health professionals can use - always with the prior consent of the user - to draw COVID-19 contact lines. If we want to make sure that this functionality is disabled on our phone, below we explain the steps to follow to deactivate the exposure record and notifications related to the coronavirus on our Android device.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Google has started to roll out the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications API through an update to Google Play Services issued in May 2020. Therefore, if we have not made any updates automatic it is possible that we still do not have it displayed on our mobile phone.

On the contrary, if we have received the update We will see that now there is a new section within the general settings of our Android dedicated to COVID-19 notifications. It should be clarified that yes, that by default there is no functionality activated, being completely necessary the manual download and installation of a compatible application developed by the official health authority of our region or country so that the work of tracing and monitoring the Google API can be started.

How COVID-19 Contact Tracking Apps Work

If you are interested in knowing more about how COVID-19 contact tracing works on your Android phone, you should know that this is exactly the same as the one that Apple is already using in iOS 13.5 for iPhone.

Basically and in a nutshell, if we participate in one of these monitoring programs, what we do is register a series of identifiers associated with the devices with which we have been in contact.

Subsequently, if any of these devices belongs to someone who ends up getting COVID-19 and reports it through these official applications, the system will send a notice to the rest of the identifiers with which it has been in contact. These identifiers are private and anonymous, since they are registered locally on the device and not on centralized servers and are automatically deleted after 14 days.

How to disable COVID-19 exposure tracking and notifications on Android

In any case, at the time of writing these lines there is still no official application of the state or of any other health authority that is in charge of taking advantage of the functionalities offered by the COVID-19 API in Spain, so its presence on a daily basis today on our mobiles is completely harmless.

In any case, we can check its status and make sure it is disabled by following these steps:

  • Open the menu "Settings" of the system.

  • Enter the options of "Google”. You will notice that now there is a new section called “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications”. Click on it. (If you do not see this section on your mobile, it is because your device has not yet received the May 2020 update from Google Play Services and therefore the Exposure API is not yet installed.)

  • If you have not installed any health monitoring application and you have not given express permission to use the Exposure API, the 2 options that you will see within this new screen will appear in gray. This is so because without installing any additional app this functionality is simply disabled.

  • Choose "Remove random IDs”To erase any anonymous identifier that your mobile may have registered via Bluetooth. You can also click on “Turn off exposure notifications”To stop the plotting tool from working completely.

Once this is done, if we wanted to stop collaborating in the monitoring program, the only thing left to do would be to uninstall the health application that was responsible for collecting this data.

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