Apple announced today that it will partner with Google on contact tracing, a technology used to slow and contain the spread of diseases.
Contact tracing is the process of trying to identify people who may have come into contact with an infected person. By tracing these contacts, testing them for infecting, and then tracing their contacts, it can help track and reduce the spread of a disease. From Apple’s document:
Contact Tracing makes it possible to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus by alerting participants of possible exposure to someone who they have recently been in contact with, and who has subsequently been positively diagnosed as having the virus.
Apple and Google will build a Bluetooth platform with APIs and “operating system-level technology” and release it as a software update in May. For people concerned about being tracked, the press release mentions it will be opt-in.
Apple also has technical documentation regarding the framework API, cryptography specification, and Bluetooth specification.