England and Wales' Contact-Tracing App With Apple and Google API to Launch September 24

An NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing app using the Apple and Google API is finally set to launch in England and Wales on September 24, the UK government has announced today (via BBC News).

nhs logo

The app performs distance-based contact-tracing like similar apps released in other countries. It will also allow users to scan QR codes to register visits to hospitality venues to aid contact-tracing.

UK businesses are being asked to display QR code posters to advertise the app. The Department of Health and Social Care also said that an alternate system, such as a handwritten register, must also be maintained for visitors who do not have smartphones.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the launch as "a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time."

The first version of the NHS contact-tracing app, intended for all regions of the UK, was trialed on the Isle of Wight in May. The app used a centralized tracing solution rather than the Apple and Google API, and was later scrapped entirely.

The new contact-tracing app for England and Wales will use the Apple and Google API for detecting other nearby smartphones. Scotland has already launched its contract-tracing app using the Apple and Google API.

The API is built into iOS 13.5 and later, and allows iPhones and Android smartphones to interface with one another for contact-tracing purposes. If and when you happen to be nearby someone who later tests positive for COVID-19, you can receive a notification and take the appropriate steps to self isolate and seek medical help if necessary.

Apple recently rolled out a new Express Exposure Notifications System that does not require an app to be downloaded for the feature to be turned on. After updating to iOS 13.7, a new ‌Exposure Notification‌ section appears in the Settings app where there's a toggle to "Turn on Exposure Notifications."

Activating Exposure Notifications lets you know if the feature is available in your country, state, or region through a contact tracing app. In areas that are participating in the Exposure Notifications Express program, users can turn on Exposure Notifications without the need to download an app.

Apple and Google have stressed the privacy of their Bluetooth-based solution, which must be enabled in the Settings app under Privacy > Health > COVID-19 Exposure Logging to function. Read our Exposure Notification guide for more details.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

GadgetBen Avatar
22 months ago
I'm pleased we got there, but the whole journey has been a farce.

It's sadly an example of how some powerful individuals in government are so out of touch with technology. In some ways this is so much more reliable than human contact tracing.

I hope people will use it, I've seen some of the early reviews for the localised rollout and you've just got loads of 'Karen's' giving one star reviews saying how it's not working on their iPhone 5 ?‍♂️
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saturnine Avatar
22 months ago
I don’t want to get into an argument about the pros and cons of devolution and the independence of the nation states of the UK but it really is ridiculous that multiple apps are being developed and released to do exactly the same job.

Why there isn’t a single UK-wide app is beyond me. Basically the NHS systems in each of the nations have each paid for outsourced development and I fail to see the value in doing it that way.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Expos of 1969 Avatar
22 months ago
Matt Hancock......good lord. Not qualified to organise the first aid kits at a daycare facility, let alone be Health Secretary.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stiss Avatar
22 months ago
We should have had this months ago. But the Government was stupid and stubborn.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SaxPlayer Avatar
22 months ago
They finally gave in and realised they'd have to go with everyone else and use the Apple/Google system. It makes sense to do it. Only time will tell how good Bluetooth really is at this, however I'd trust Apple and Google to get the software right much more than I would NHSx.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
threesixty360 Avatar
22 months ago
I can just imagine some ego driven dev said in a meeting that they could make blue tooth more accurate than Apple / google could...

And then some PM ran with it without challenging the dev because their are tons of PM’s that know zero about code.. and then that became a thing which the director ran with cos he trusts his team or whatever...

and ego drove the ship until it hit the rocks in an actual demo...

and I bet no one had actually seen the dev’s actual evidence that what he said could be done could actually be done. Yet they all went telling everyone they could. And more importantly no one has stopped to think how both Apple and google with their huge engineering squads couldn’t do reliably what your guys say they can do.

ego driven programmers combined with sharp deadlines and management that don’t know enough to challenge is the death of many a project.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General iOS 15

Apple Seeds Fourth Betas of iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Thursday December 2, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today seeded the fourth betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 15.2 updates to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the third betas and a month after the launch of iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1. iOS and iPadOS 15.2 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or an iPad. iOS and iPadOS 15.2 add ...
gmail calls

Google Rolls Out Voice and Video Call Features to Gmail App

Tuesday December 7, 2021 4:20 am PST by
Google has added the ability to join one-on-one Google Chat voice and video calls from within the Gmail app, the company has announced. Before now, it was possible to make calls from within the Gmail app on iOS and Android, but users had to send an invite to a Google Meet video conferencing call, which was more convoluted and limiting. In future, however, users will be able to tap new...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Now Hides Your 'Last Seen' Status From Strangers

Tuesday December 14, 2021 1:00 am PST by
WhatsApp has made a privacy change to prevent people on the messaging platform from viewing the "Last Seen" status of users whom they have never chatted with, according to the latest report from independent feature specialist WABetaInfo. As regular WhatsApp users will know, the "Last Seen" status of a contact sits atop the conversation thread, informing you when that contact last opened the...
Exposure Notifications W People and Text

Apple Blocks Update to UK NHS Contact Tracing App for Breaking Location Data Collection Rules

Monday April 12, 2021 4:32 am PDT by
Apple and Google have blocked an update to England and Wales' contact tracing app that included a feature that would have collected user location data, breaking the companies' terms and conditions for contact tracing apps, the BBC reports. Last year, Apple and Google partnered up to announce a COVID-19 contact tracing API that allows apps to track whether someone has been in contact with an...
whatsapp notification

WhatsApp Starts Rolling Out Profile Pictures in iOS Message Notifications

Thursday January 6, 2022 1:53 am PST by
WhatsApp is testing a helpful new feature on iOS that displays profile pictures in system notifications when users receive new messages from chats and groups. Image credit: WABetaInfo First spotted by app specialist WABetaInfo, the first new feature for the platform in 2022 uses APIs in iOS 15 to add the WhatsApp profile images to notifications in top-screen banners and in the Notification...
google one app

Google One Disappears From App Store a Day After VPN Launch [Update: Google One is Back in the App Store]

Wednesday February 2, 2022 12:01 pm PST by
The Google One app for iPhone and iPad appears to have mysteriously disappeared from the App Store this morning, and it is no longer available for download. As noted on Reddit, attempting to download the Google One app in the United States and Canada pops up an error message that says "App Not Available." It is not clear why the app has been removed from the App Store at this time, and...
General iOS 15

Apple Seeds Second Release Candidate Version of iOS 15.2 for iPhone 13 Models to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Friday December 10, 2021 10:12 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second RC version of an upcoming iOS 15.2 update to developers and public beta testers, less than a week after seeding the first RC and six weeks after the launch of iOS 15.1. iOS 15.2 beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or an iPad. Public beta testers can also download the...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Apple Expanding 'App Store Foundations' Program to Additional Countries

Thursday January 13, 2022 7:06 am PST by
Apple this week announced that it will be expanding its App Store Foundations program to an additional 29 countries in Europe. Launched in 2018 in countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, the program offers selected developers tailor-made support for app development, marketing, and monetization in collaboration with Apple employees. In individual and group sessions,...

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...