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Do you know your iPhone can help you combat COVID-19, Know how!

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Do you know your iPhone can help you combat COVID-19, Know how!

New Delhi: Armed with cutting edge technology, iPhone’s are smarter than what you think. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the developers at tech giants are continuously working to develop features that can help the governments and the global community to curb the spread of the virus.

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Amid this worrisome situation, smartphones are helping people stay connected, keeping them up updated with the latest news, and coping with the work from home setup for students and workers but aside from these, you can actually use your iPhone to avoid contracting COVID-19.

Here are few useful features of your iPhone that can help you work smart and safe through the pandemic:

Use iPhone as a digital COVID-19 Passport

As per survey results conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in September 2020, around 85 percent of passengers feel safer when touchless processing is implemented in airports. Meanwhile, 70 percent of travelers are wary of handing over their valuables to staff and agents in airports.

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Keeping this in mind the IATA is planning to release a coronavirus vaccine passport through an iOS app in mid-April 2021, with its Android counterpart to follow suit. This is similar to what the state of New York has launched: A free app named ‘Excelsior Pass’, which acts as a digital airline boarding pass. The pass aims to provide a faster and easier way of presenting a digital proof of vaccination, as well as recently testing negative on a PCR or antigen test.

Additionally, Apple Maps has a feature that displays COVID-19 measures at airports. By simply searching for an airport in your Maps app, you will be provided with requirements and measures implemented by the airport. It also shows related COVID-19 health information and a link to the airport’s travel guidance page.

Unlock your iPhone remotely

Since Face ID doesn’t work well when your mask is on, developers added a quick way to unlock your iphone using your Apple Watch as a new feature in the iOS 14.5. But to enjoy this feature your Apple Watch should also be updated to at least watch OS 7.4 version.

To enable this feature:

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Go to Settings > Face ID on your iPhone> Enter your passcode> Scroll down and enable the Apple Watch slider under Unlock With Apple Watch.

Remember you’ll be required to have a passcode on your Apple Watch to use this function. Now, whenever your watch is close to your iPhone, the wearable will automatically unlock your iphone. However, if you don’t want to use this, just select Lock iPhone on your Apple Watch’s screen.

Enable iPhone to notify you of possible exposure

Two technological giants, Apple and Google, worked together to release the Exposure Notifications system, which utilizes Bluetooth technology to fully automate and scale contact tracing efforts. Once you turn this feature on, your iPhone will start sending out a beacon via Bluetooth, which comes with an identifier.

In order to protect your privacy, the random Bluetooth identifier is just an arbitrary string of numbers that changes every 10-20 minutes for added protection. Once your phone receives a beacon from another device, your iPhone will securely store that ID.

Follow these steps to enable exposure notifications on your iPhone:

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Go to Settings> Scroll down and tap the Exposure Notifications tab> Tap Turn On Exposure Notifications, then Continue.
-Choose your country, region, and state.
-If your region already has a contact tracing app, tap Open App Store.
-If you wish to disable exposure notifications, go to the same menu mentioned above, scroll all the way down, and tap ‘Turn Off Exposure Notifications’.

Here is the list of US states and regions that already have COVID tracing apps:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Also included are Guam and the District of Columbia.

However, if you live outside the United States, you can check MIT’s COVID Tracing Tracker project or Wikipedia’s page on COVID-19 apps to see if your country has already deployed its COVID tracing app.

Healthcare within reach on your iPhone

There are many healthcare apps that can provide you with quick, hassle-free access to licensed practitioners, from counselors to doctors, nurses, and psychologists.

Check Apple Maps for COVID-19 vaccine Centres

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If you are eligible to get Covid vaccine, you can use Apple Maps to find your nearest vaccination location. Do this by quickly searching for providers and pharmacies using your iPhone.

Here are two ways of finding vaccine locations:

First one is by asking Siri: “Where can I get a COVID vaccination?”

Or second, use the search bar in Apple Maps to manually look for nearby COVID-19 vaccine locations.

To do this, open the Apple Maps app, tap on the search bar, then look for COVID-19 Vaccines in the Find Nearby menu. Alternatively, type “COVID-19 testing site” into the search bar.

The place card on the map contains relevant information for each vaccine site, including a link to the provider’s website, operating hours, address, and phone numbers. Over 20,000 locations are listed in the initial rollout.

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