Groundbreaking Bluetooth contact tracing tool now available for NZ iPhone users

iPhone users in New Zealand will now be able to use a groundbreaking contact tracing tool from Apple and Google.

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Starting today, Bluetooth technology widely used overseas will be available to help iPhone users with contact tracing. Source: 1 NEWS

It means Apple and Google phones will be able to communicate with each other - using Bluetooth - to record close contacts.

The Ministry of Health is looking into the feasibility of using it in NZ to assist with contact tracing, but it would need to be built into NZ Covid tracer app and contact tracing system. 

How does it work?

Once enabled, users’ devices will regularly send out a Bluetooth signal that includes a random ID — basically, a string of random numbers that aren’t tied to a user's identity and change every 10-20 minutes for additional protection.

Other enabled phones will be listening for these beacons and broadcasting theirs as well.

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When each phone receives another signal, they swap codes and store them on the device.

At least once per day, Apple and Google’s application programming interface (API) system will download a list of the keys for the beacons - that have been verified by local public health officials - as belonging to people confirmed as positive for Covid-19.

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Your device then checks its list of recorded contacts against the list of positive cases downloaded from the server.

If there is a match, the user will be notified and advised on steps to take next.