Apple Launches COVID-19 Screening Tool

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Apple has released a Web site and free iOS app to help you screen yourself for COVID-19 and learn more about the disease.

I don’t live in the USA and the app was not available: “This app is currently not available in your country or region”

Good to know, thanks! It’s not terribly surprising, given that other countries wouldn’t be enthused about it providing information from the CDC as opposed to their health agencies.

Almost forgot, can you get to the Web site, @Fahirsch?

I’m in the UK, and like @Fahirsch, the app isn’t available. However, I can access the website with no problem. I think you’re definitely right, Adam, that it wouldn’t be appropriate in other countries given some of the content is country-specific and it’s not appropriate to ‘bypass’ the local health authority. For the last several days at least, the App Store in the UK always opens to this:

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Yes I did.

Same for Australia… web site access good, app not available.

And if you’re an old person with an old iPhone – surely you can afford to buy a new phone to be able to use this lovely new product.

While I applaud Apple for providing a tool (free of charge, at that), the legal terms are typically user-hostile. The specific issue that prompted this rant is early in the terms.

The terms of these Terms of Use will govern any COVID-19 Website updates provided by Apple to the original COVID-19 Website, unless such update is accompanied by a separate agreement, in which case you agree that the terms of that agreement will govern such update.

There is no date on the tool’s home page or in the Terms of Use, effectively meaning that a user should read the entire terms on each use, since there is no way to check if there has been any update. I conclude that Apple assumes no one will read the terms, ever, which is not a position that a socially responsible organization should take.

This deficiency is common to most sites’ terms of use, but I would have hoped that Apple would do better. Just because “everyone else does it” is not a reason for poor performance, and certainly Apple has the wherewithal to produce a better Legal Terms document.

Thanks for reading.

An additional restriction is that the app requires iOS 13.1 or later to install.

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