Apple's iOS 12.5 update brings COVID-19 notifications to older iPhones

Nhs Covid
Nhs Covid (Image credit: NHS)

What you need to know

  • Apple released iOS 12.5 that adds support for COVID-19 Exposure Notifications to older iPhones.

Apple's recent release of iOS 12.5 brings with it an important new feature for those toting older iPhones – COVID-19 Exposure Notifications.

Previously only available on devices running iOS 14 or newer, this new iOS 12.5 release means people with an iPhone 5s or newer can be notified when they come into contact with someone confirmed to be carrying COVID-19.

iOS 12.5 lets you opt-in to the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system for your iPhone. System availability depends on support from your local public health authority. For more information see

The feature, which is a joint effort between Apple and Google, provides users a notification that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, allowing them to then self-isolate and seek a test themselves.

Across the world, governments and health authorities are working together to find solutions to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to protect people and get society back up and running. Software developers are contributing by crafting technical tools to help combat the virus and save lives. In this spirit of collaboration, Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.

Those with older iPhones will see the new iOS 12.5 update available via the usual mechanism.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.