Pennsylvania launches contact tracing app built on Apple and Google tech

Covid Alert Pa
Covid Alert Pa (Image credit: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)

What you need to know

  • Pennsylvania has launched its own contact tracing app.
  • COVID Alert PA is built on Apple and Google's Exposure Notification technology.
  • The app does not track your location or collect your personal information.

In a press release on its government website, Pennsylvania has officially rolled out COVID Alert PA, its COVID-19 contact tracing app built on the Exposure Notification technology developed by Apple and Google

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf says that the pandemic has proven that the state is most successful when everyone is working together to fight against the coronavirus and believes that the COVID Alert PA app will help everyone do their part.

"The last seven months have shown that we are most successful when we unite against COVID-19 and work together for the common good, and I am proud to be here with Dr. Levine to announce an important new technology that will allow us to do just that. Today, we are launching the COVID Alert PA mobile app. This app is a simple tool you can use to help fight COVID-19 every day, everywhere you go. I encourage you to visit your app store and download it for free today."

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's Secretary of the Department of Health, encouraged all citizens of the state to download the app so that everyone could more quickly respond to anyone who has been exposed to the virus.

"We all play a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, which is why I am encouraging every Pennsylvanian to add their phone to the fight and download COVID Alert PA today. By utilizing this technology, we can quickly notify more people who have been exposed to COVID-19. This innovative solution will enhance our COVID-19 response and give residents another tool to stay calm, stay alert and stay safe all in the palm of their hands."

Dr. Levine stressed that the app, since it uses Apple and Google's technology, does not track your location or collect any of your personal information.

"We are very committed to and conscious of protecting the privacy and security of all Pennsylvanians. COVID Alert PA will not track your location or collect any personal information from you—it is simply an exposure notification tool. The app uses Bluetooth technology to send a notification if someone has been in close contact with an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19. This is the same technology that your smartphone uses to connect to your wireless Bluetooth headphones, or your car. The app will never ask you to turn on your location."

The COVID Alert PA app is available now for free from Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store. So far, the app has gathered almost 30,000 users. You can learn more through the COVID Alert PA website as well as the video below:

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.