KEY POINTS

  • The new app was released on Apple devices to keep users informed about the latests CDC guidelines and news about the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Apple developed the app in partnership with the CDC, FEMA, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force
  • Siri has been updated to direct user questions about coronavirus to the new app and any relevant health apps

Apple released an app Friday that keeps people informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s recommended steps to protect their health.

The app, titled Apple COVID-19, acts as a screening tool and resource guide for all Apple users in the U.S. who may have questions about the pandemic. It was created, along with a sister website, in tandem with the CDC, FEMA and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to keep U.S. residents up to date with “trusted information and guidance at a time when the U.S. is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.”

When using the screening tool, a user can answer a series of questions on the app or website about possible COVID-19 exposure. It will ask about possible risks the user or an acquaintance could have, how they could have been exposed and if they have experienced any symptoms. The app will then provide CDC recommendations on how best to proceed.

Recommendations can range from CDC guidelines on social distancing and self-quarantine to how soon one should get tested or contact a doctor. Users will also receive the most up-to-date information about the CDC’s recommended practices and “frequently asked questions.”

Apple cautions that these don’t replace instructions from healthcare providers and health officials.

Access to the information won’t be limited to the app or website, either. Users will be able to ask Siri about COVID-19, which will then take users to the app and other health apps that contain related information.

The US attorney general claimed Apple has failed to provide enough help to unlock iPhones used in a deadly December shooting spree, reviving a debate on law enforcement access to encrypted devices The US attorney general claimed Apple has failed to provide enough help to unlock iPhones used in a deadly December shooting spree, reviving a debate on law enforcement access to encrypted devices Photo: GETTY IMAGES / JUSTIN SULLIVAN