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How to download the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app

Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Now that the UK government has released the NHS’s Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England and Wales, here’s what you need and how to download it.

To use the new NHS Covid-19 app you need an Apple iPhone 6S or newer, or an Android phone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer with Google Play.

Android phones without access to the Google Play store, including some Huawei smartphones released in the last year, as well as older iPhones, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 5S or iPhone 5, will not be able to use the app.

To download on an iPhone

  • Open the App Store

  • Search for “NHS COVID-19” or click this link on your iPhone

  • Tap Get

  • Confirm you want to download the app if required

  • Tap Open

  • Follow the short step-by-step instructions in the app to activate it

To download on an Android phone

How to use it

Simply take your phone with the app installed with you when you leave the house or are in proximity to those outside of your household. The app does not need to be open to function and is expected not to affect your phone’s battery life significantly.

In addition to the privacy-preserving Bluetooth-based contract-tracing system, the app also provides information on the risk level in your neighbourhood using the first part of your postcode.

Users can also “check in” to venues by scanning QR codes with your phone’s camera to create a log of where you have been so that you can choose to give that information to contract tracers should you be contacted.

The app also has a symptom checker, links to the latest advice and the ability to enter a test result should it be needed.

For those in the UK outside of England or Wales

Protect Scotland is Scotland’s official contact-tracing app that was released on 9 September. It can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

StopCOVID NI is Northern Ireland’s official contact-tracing app that was released on 24 July. It can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.