You may have come across a message like the one below on WhatsApp speculating that a COVID-19 app sensor was ‘inserted’ into your phone. 

No COVID-19 spy app inserted into your phone

Apple and Google have been rolling out Exposure Notification features on Android and iOS phones since 20 May 2020. These features can be used by national health authorities to build contact tracing apps, and send notifications to users if they’ve likely been exposed to COVID-19.

The Exposure Notification features will appear on Android phones with Android OS versions 6.0 and above, and on Apple devices with iOS version 13.5 and above. If your phone has been updated to these latest versions, you will see this as a new OS feature. In order to activate this feature, you need to (a) first install a national contact tracing app that uses Exposure Notification features, and (b) opt-in by enabling this feature in the OS. It cannot be turned on without your knowledge, because you have to deliberately opt-in.

TraceTogether does not use this Exposure Notification API

MOH does not use these Exposure Notification features in TraceTogether, the national contact tracing app. Instead, TraceTogether continues to use BlueTrace, an open-source protocol that was developed by GovTech as the world's first national digital contact tracing protocol.

Like Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification feature, TraceTogether is opt-in. You must install TraceTogether on your phone and register your details, in order for TraceTogether to protect you by recording your close contacts with other TraceTogether users. This information is anonymised, stored securely on your phone, and only accessed by MOH if you are tested positive for COVID-19 and contacted by the contact tracing team.

There is neither a secretly installed COVID-19 tracker installed on your phone, nor should you worry about your privacy when you use the TraceTogether app – TraceTogether does not collect your location data and can only show connections between devices, not locations.

Download TraceTogether to support contact tracing efforts, and protect you and your loved ones.