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The new NHS COVID-19 app doesn't work on iPhone 6 or earlier models

Mashable 24 Sep 2020 10:44
The new NHS Covid-19 mobile phone application on the home screen of an iPhone, after the app went live on Thursday morning.
The new NHS Covid-19 mobile phone application on the home screen of an iPhone, after the app went live on Thursday morning.
Image: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

The National Health Service (NHS) has launched its long-awaited COVID-19 app in England and Wales. Problem is, the app doesn't work on iPhone 6 and earlier models of the smartphone. 

So, what does the app do? Firstly, it provides contact tracing using Bluetooth and it also allows you to input your postcode district to check the risk level in your area. The app also has a "QR venue check in" feature, as well as a symptom checker and test booking option. 

The exclusion of Apple's older smartphones from the app rollout could pose accessibility issues for people with low income and the older generation, who might not have the latest model. The app requires handsets to have Android version Marshmallow 6.0 (released in 2015) or iOS 13.5 (released in May 2020) as well as Bluetooth 4.0 or a more recent version. 

The app is also only available on smartphones — not tablets, smartwatches, or any other devices. If you've got an iPad, but not an iPhone, you'll be able to download the app, but upon opening it, you'll be redirected to a version of the NHS website. 

In a joint statement, Apple and Google said they built the Exposure Notifications system to "enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design."

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