iPhone 12 Upgrades Interfering With COVID-19 Contact-Tracing App Notifications, How to Fix

Some iPhone 12 and ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro users in the UK have reported that their new devices are recieving an error message in the "NHS COVID-19" contact-tracing app, rendering it unusable (via BBC News).

'Unfortunately, You Can't Run This App'

115056693 error

Similar errors and issues have been reported in other regions contact tracing apps that also use Apple's Exposure Notification API. The error appears to occur when apps are transferred from an older ‌iPhone‌ using an iCloud Backup data transfer. To rectify the issue, UK users are being encouraged to do the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Notifications.
  3. Tap on Exposure Notifications.
  4. Turn on the Allow Notifications option.

Users in other countries may simply have to re-launch their contact tracing app to re-enable the permission, or follow the same procedure above.

The issue seems to be caused by iOS not asking users to enable the Allow Notifications permission when transferring to a new device, and it is not clear that this needs to be done. Consequently, the contact-tracing app cannot enable the Bluetooth-based technology it requires to function correctly.

While simply deleting and reinstalling the app seems to resolve the issue, this is not recommended. A fresh install prompts the exposure notification to appear again, however, this method wipes all information previously gathered by the app, including all venues that users had checked in to, so it is not advisable unless the initial fix does not work.

To verify your history of exposure notification locations, go to Settings -> Exposure Notifications -> Exposure Logging Status -> Exposure Checks.

Matters have been confused further by the fact that the ‌iPhone‌ 12 and ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro have not yet been included in the NHS's list of compatible devices.

The ‌iPhone‌ 12 and ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro should in fact be capable of running England and Wales' contact-tracing software, which uses the Apple and Google Exposure Notification API. Around 18 million Brits have installed the NHS COVID-19 app so far.

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.

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Top Rated Comments

Akrapovic Avatar
49 months ago
Glad to see that v2 of the NHS England & Wales app is going well.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
49 months ago
I am happily running the Belgian app on my iPhone 11 pro, but it does take a considerable hit on battery life.
Whatever it takes to get rid of this virus while protecting myself and each other.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
User 6502 Avatar
49 months ago
On newer iPhones seem to have a much smaller impact, maybe newer Bluetooth chips are more energy efficient. For example in my case it’s 2%, so quite negligible.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DeanL Avatar
49 months ago
The issue is not due to the apps.
It’s due to the fact that Exposure Notifications settings in iOS need to be re-enabled manually when restoring the data of a previous iPhone to a new one.
Huge oversight from Apple, especially because users are not notified.
I found out randomly on Friday that the exposure notifications were turned off while playing with the settings.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GadgetBen Avatar
49 months ago
This is sheer stupidity from a developer point of view. You couldn't have a more poorly designed and badly descriptive error message for this type of situation.

Error messages are so easy to program. It's text which takes minutes to code. This is such a cheap default message that probably deals with multiple errors.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DeanL Avatar
49 months ago

What do you expect from government run software development? Lol people are hilarious to even trust this stuff
The problem is Apple, though. The settings are not backed up properly. Exposure Notification apps are supposed to be "set and forgotten". When I restore my phone backup, I don't have to reopen all 150 apps to re-accept permissions that were already granted on my previous phone.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)