Riddled with recurring problem since its launch, some iPhone users of England and Wales’ contact-tracing app have reported getting error message when trying to use the NHS Covid-19 app.
Following the launch of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro handsets, users reported the incompatibility of their set with the contract tracing app but Apple insist the devices can in fact run England and Wales’ contact-tracing software.
The issue arises if apps are transferred from an older iPhone via an iCloud Backup data transfer, which is common practice.
Apple say this can easily be addressed by making a change within the Settings menu, advising users to select the ‘Notifications Listing’ then tap on ‘Exposure Notifications’ and then turn on the ‘Allow Notifications’ option.
When users install the app from scratch, they are prompted to give the required permission.
But in what appears to be an oversight, when Apple transfers apps over is that the phone does not ask owners to enable the permission and it is not obvious that it needs to be done.
As a result, the app cannot enable the Bluetooth-based matching functionality it needs to work.
The requirement is designed to protect user’s privacy.
However, the alert shown by the app suggested other factors might also be at play. This further confuse matters.
NHS Covid-19 app official twitter account responded to the problem saying that the iPhone 12 was not among devices checked for compatibility with the software.
Some users had got round the problem by deleting the app and then downloading it again from the App Store, which triggered the exposure notification permission request.
However, this technique results in all information previously stored by the app on the phone being wiped, including places the user had checked in to.
Last week it was discovered that people told to go into isolation in an alert from the NHS Covid-19 app will not be eligible for government promised £500 support payment.
Government had announced that anyone on low income who is instructed to self-isolate in a phone call from NHS Test and Trace can claim a £500 payment from their local authority but the Department of Health has said the payments will not be available to app users.
However, the government is exploring ways of changing that as a fine of £10,000 is in place for noncompliance to isolate when told to do so.
About 18 million people have installed the NHS Covid-19 app so far. In addition to contact tracing, it is also used to log visits to restaurants and other leisure facilities, as well as to check symptoms and order a coronavirus test.
The app does not work on Huawei phones however, the China based company is reportedly working with NHS Test and Trace officials to try and get the app working on some of its newer phones.