Apple today released iOS 13.7, a major update that comes more than a month after the release of iOS 13.6. iOS 13.7 is an update that's being introduced to roll out a new Exposure Notifications System that does not require an app to be downloaded for the feature to be turned on.
The iOS 13.7 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Apple has also released a new version of iPadOS 13.7, but as Exposure Notifications don't work on the iPad, the iPad update focuses on bug fixes.
With iOS 13.7, Apple is adding Exposure Notifications Express, a feature that lets states that choose to participate provide an Exposure Notification system without having to do the work to develop an app.
After updating, iOS 13.7 users will see a new Exposure Notification section in the Settings app (it used to be in the Privacy settings) where there's a toggle to "Turn on Exposure Notifications."
Activating Exposure Notifications lets you know if the feature is available in your country, state, or region through a contact tracing app. In areas that are participating in the Exposure Notifications Express program, users will be able to turn on Exposure Notifications without the need to download an app.
Apple this morning said that Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. will soon be adopting Exposure Notifications Express, and more states could follow in the future. Using Exposure Notifications Express will require iOS 13.7, and even though it works without an app in some areas, it is still entirely opt-in.
In areas that do not participate in Exposure Notifications Express, attempting to toggle on Exposure Notifications will direct users to an app created by a public health authority in their state if one is available, or it will let them know that Exposure Notifications are not yet available in their area.
iOS 13.7 is likely to be one of the final updates to the iOS 13 operating system as Apple shifts its focus to iOS 14. We could see iOS 14 released in the coming weeks if the update is decoupled from new iPhones, or in October when the new iPhones are expected to debut.