A couple of weeks ago, T-Mobile customers lost their cell signal for a few hours and some then lost their minds. In the following days, posts started circulating on Facebook, stirring up a conspiracy that the company was secretly adding trackers on all T-Mobile phones. Soon, many smartphone owners from all wireless carriers were in a tizzy over the tracker being installed without their permission. Most spotted the trackers in settings and noted they had not given Apple or Google permission for the download and install.
So what's the real story? The tracking software is not an app, it's part of the operating system.
On an Android phone, it's the Google settings.
On an iPhone it's in settings, privacy and health.
This software is a collaboration between Apple and Google to help track the spread of the coronavirus, by using bluetooth to detect whether you've come in close proximity of someone who's tested positive. If you walk through the airport for example and your phone comes close to someone else's phone, if they tested positive, you'd get a notification. The software would require the person testing positive to share that information through a secondary app.
Apple and Google aren't tracking that information. The companies have made it possible for other apps to do the tracking. It will only track you if you download a separate app which are being developed now by states and health officials. Australia was one of the first countries to release a tracking app that uses the technology.
The feature is turned off by default you cannot turn it on until you download a third-party tracking app.
So is this something to worry about? No. The tracking software was not done in secret. Apple and Google announced this weeks ago. And if turned on, it doesn't share personal information but rather random ID's will be used to both track and notify users.
And don't let it keep you from downloading the latest iPhone update which includes critical security measures that'll keep hackers from accessing your phone.
The tracking software is one of the best ways, technically, to stop the spread of the virus.
These COVID trackers are nothing to worry about.