After repeated delays, the NHS Kovid-19 contact tracing app is now available to the public in England and Wales.
Although it was hailed by its creators as helping the country “return to normalcy and defeat the coronavirus”, there are still questions about how effective it will be to follow the trials in the Isle of Wight and Newham.
One of the major mistakes is simple – the app is not compatible with older smartphones that do not run specific versions of Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating systems.
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79% of UK adults use smartphones, but iOS and Android are prevalent in the UK Still running Windows, Blackberry or other systems.
Not only does the device have to be a smartphone (the app does not work on laptops or PCs), devices must be new to support Energy (BLE) 4 technology in Bluetooth, which can also be used to detect phones running the app, and run relatively recent software.
Handsets that have not recently run the app may not find the NHS Kovid-19 app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
How to update your iPhone or Android phone
There are also people who are phones compatible, but for whatever reason still run the old software beyond the minimum requirements of the app – but fixing it is a reasonably straightforward process.
How to upgrade iPhone’s iOS
- Open Settings > General > About > Software version. It displays the software version of the handset currently running.
- To update a compatible iPhone, first make sure you have enough space to keep the new iOS – they can take up many GB of storage, so you may need to delete some apps or photos. You can check how much space you have Settings> General> Storage.
- You need to back up your data to iCloud. Open Settings> Apple ID> iCloud> iCloud Backup And select Save. This ensures that you can recover your data in case anything goes wrong.
- Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and plug it in to charge, and then open it Settings > General > Software Update > Download, Then Install. If the handset is up to date, it will display: ‘Your software is up to date‘.
How To Upgrade Android Phone Software
- Open Settings > About the phone/About the device > Android version To find out which version of the handset is currently in use
- To back it up, make sure the phone is plugged in, connected to Wi-Fi and backed up.
- Select Settings > About the phone/About the device > Check> Update. Depending on the current software, select Install now, Reboot and install Or Install the system software.
Which phones are compatible with the NHS Kovid app?
All of the following iPhones have been successfully tested by the NHS, which requires running iOS 13.5 software (released earlier this year) or higher.
Other iPhone models not listed below are still equipped with BLE 4 or higher, and the NHS recognizes that they can run iOS 13.5 or higher, so other models will be added to support the app. This is a list of phones that the NHS says have successfully tested the app when it was released on September 24:
- IPhone 6S
- IPhone 7
- IPhone XS
- IPhone 11 Pro
The NHS said in May that the following iPhones were also compatible with the app when iPhones were needed to run the old iOS 11.
However, some of the handsets currently on the compatible list are much older than they are now – for example, the iPhone X, which is much newer than the iPhone 6S, is not currently on the NHS tested list.
Previously listed custom models:
- IPhone 6
- IPhone 6 Plus
- Phone 6S Plus
- IPhone 7 Plus
- IPhone 8
- IPhone 8 Plus
- IPhone SE
- IPhone X.
- IPhone XR
- IPhone XS Max
Android handsets must also have BLE 4 technology and run Android 6 (Marshmallow) or higher, released in 2015.
Again, the NHS has released a limited list of custom handsets, which will be updated:
- Giomi MI A2
- Nexus 5X
- Nokia 7+
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
- Samsung A6
- Samsung S20
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- Google Pixel 3A
- Google Pixel 4 (Unlocked)
- Google Pixel 4XL (Unlocked)
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Samsung Galaxy A40
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy A70
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Samsung Galaxy S10 +
- Samsung Galaxy S10E
- Samsung Galaxy A5
- Samsung Galaxy S9 (Unlocked)
- Samsung Galaxy S9 + (Unlocked)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Unlocked)
Like the iPhone list, since the app was initially tested, the NHS released in 2017 changed its requirements when Android handsets needed to run Android 8 (Orio) or higher.
Previously listed custom models:
- Samsung-Galaxy J5
- Samsung-Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung-Galaxy Note 9
- Samsung-Galaxy S6
- Samsung-Galaxy S7
- Samsung-Galaxy S7 Edge
- Samsung-Galaxy S8
- Samsung-Galaxy S8 +
- Huawei-P20 Pro