'NHS COVID-19' Contact Tracing App With Exposure Notification API Launches in England and Wales

NHS COVID-19, a contact tracing app created by the UK government, is rolling out to residents of England and Wales as of today, with the app available from the iOS App Store.

exposure notification cartoon
The app's debut comes a week and a half after the UK government said that it would launch on September 24, and a month and a half after the app became available to NHS Volunteer Responders, Isle of Wight residents, and Newham residents, all of whom have been testing the app.

Like other apps that take advantage of the Exposure Notification API from Apple and Google, NHS COVID-19 is designed to track who people come into contact with each other using Bluetooth, providing a notification if one of those people later comes down with the coronavirus.

Along with using a Bluetooth-based solution, NHS COVID-19 will let users scan QR codes to register visits to locations like stores and restaurants to aid in contact tracing, with UK businesses being encouraged to display QR posters for visitors to scan.

NHS COVID-19 will be available on iPhones running iOS 13.5 or later as well as compatible Android smartphones, which are able to interface with each other. Downloading the app will provide instructions on making sure notifications are enabled and the feature is functional.

The NHS did not initially plan to use Apple and Google's ‌‌Exposure Notification‌‌ API and was instead pursuing a different solution, but after the announcement of the API the NHS changed course and decided to work on an app using the Apple/Google API after all.

‌Exposure Notification‌ apps have already launched in Scotland and Ireland, as well as in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and other countries. In the United States, Virginia, North Dakota, Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, Alabama, Wyoming, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have launched apps that use Apple's ‌Exposure Notification‌ API.

More information on Apple and Google's ‌Exposure Notification‌ API, such as how it works and where it's available, can be found in our guide.

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

jonnyb Avatar
9 weeks ago
Kent will have its own app, available January 1st 2021.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rctneil Avatar
9 weeks ago
It's definitely waaaay late but I am very very glad it's here now and actually using the Apple / Google API as it should be. I've been testing it for the past few weeks and it's nicely built and works fine. Persuade everyone you can to download and set it up and then as long as their phones are on and Bluetooth is enabled then it may make a difference.

It's not perfect, but none of our weapons against COVID-19 are perfect. IT's another tool in our belt against it so I'm all for it.

Go download it!!!!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattster16 Avatar
9 weeks ago
Meanwhile in the US we haven't come to a consensus on whether Covid is real or not!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Psychicbob Avatar
9 weeks ago
It’s called HAL 9000 on the App Store
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gstevie Avatar
9 weeks ago


Up and running, though it should have been released months ago.

Yeah, wee Dom and his pals wouldn’t have gotten a nice pay packet from that happening though - would they?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LiE_ Avatar
9 weeks ago
Installed and setup. My wife has printed out a QR code to display at her business tomorrow too.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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