If the worldwide spread of the coronavirus disease isn't scary enough, the worldwide spread of misinformation about the coronavirus makes matters worse. In an attempt to make sure that iOS users are receiving legitimate information, Apple has updated its Developer page titled "Ensuring the Credibility of Health & Safety Information." The company says that it is making sure that iOS apps that pass along potentially life-saving information come from reputable organizations.
Apple says that it will accept COVID-19 apps for the App Store if they come from "government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions." No games or entertainment apps with a COVID-19 theme will be allowed in the App Store. Apple is telling developers that it is important to get legitimate apps into the public's hands as fast as possible. As a result, the company recommends that developers select "Time-Sensitive Event" on the expedite review form to make sure that their coronavirus-related apps receive a "prioritized review." A standard App Store review takes longer.
The tech giant writes, "The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors."
Earlier this month, four iOS app developers complained that Apple had rejected their App Store submissions for apps that passed along real-time coronavirus data originating from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, the Google Play Store has a dedicated site that is updated constantly. Called Coronavirus: Stay Informed, it has a list of apps that Android uses concerned about COVID-19 should install such as offerings from the CDC, American Red Cross, Doctor on Demand, Medical ID, News360 and Twitter.
One new app in the App Store called Wash Your Hands! allows you to set a reminder to wash your hands after a certain number of hours that can be customized. Since the CDC suggests that people wash their hands for at least 20-seconds, there is a timer that will count down these 20 seconds. However, for some reason when we installed the app on our iPhone 11 Pro Max, it froze. Another useful App Store app called Stockupfood-Prepper Tool keeps track of the food you have in inventory by scanning the barcodes on the labels. If you search for coronavirus related apps in the Google Play Store, you won't find a single one. That is because, to prevent the dissemination of incorrect information, Google would prefer that you` stick to the aforementioned dedicated list of apps.