iOS 12.5 Brings COVID-19 Exposure Notifications to Older iPhones

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 14 Dec 2020

Apple has now launched iOS 12.5 for older iPhones. The update’s highlight is that it brings COVID-19 Exposure Notifications support to older iPhones that don’t support iOS 14. Many people still use older devices like the iPhone 6, and the new update brings COVID-19 exposure notification for these devices.

Apple says the iOS 12.5 update also bundles “security updates” and is thus recommended for all users. Typically Apple releases updates to older iPhones/Apple Watch to fix security issues or add essential features like the COVID-19 exposure notification.

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

Apple and Google have jointly worked on the COVID-19 contact tracing feature called Exposure Notifications. The Exposure Notification app is aimed at helping health care authorities build a contact tracing app. Recently, Apple announced that Exposure Notification would function without the need for any app.

The Exposure Notification records exposure once every five minutes. It works with the help of Bluetooth signals while not revealing user identity or collecting other location data. If a person is tested positive for COVID-19, then all the people who came in contact will receive an exposure notification.

Apple soon realized that health care authorities are already overburdened and lack resources to develop an app. Thus Apple and Google released Exposure Notifications Express. Thanks to the new feature, public health authorities will only submit contact information via a configuration file. Whenever Exposure Notification Express is available in a particular region, the user will get a notification.