StopCOVID NI app doesn't work on older iPhones

  • The StopCOVID NI coronavirus contact tracing app doesn't work on iPhone 6 or older models, its developer has revealed.

    Northern Ireland has become the first region of the UK to get a coronavirus contact-tracing app up and running as the StopCOVID NI app released on Android last week and its official full rollout happens this Friday. It's now been revealed that the app won't work on the iPhone 6 (which was released in 2015) or older models. Android devices appear unaffected by the problem.

    The problem isn't with the app but with the hardware limitations on old devices, according to the app's creators. Apple has come under fire in recent years for the poor longevity of its iPhone hardware and has recently started paying settlements on a class action lawsuit about its updates to old devices that decrease their performance to compensate for the battery degrading over time.

    "It's got to be newer than an iPhone 6 and it needs an up-to-date operating system running on the phone and then all of the bits will work together," explained Department of Health's Chief Digital Information Officer Dan West. The app also won't work on newer Huawei phones such as the P40, which no longer run Google's Android operating system and so can't use the Google coronavirus API.

    The UK's custom-built coronavirus tracing app was abandoned after it only managed to recognise 4% of nearby iPhones via bluetooth. The NI app on iPhone uses Apple's coronavirus API that is supposed to be able to accurately identify nearby devices using bluetooth, but hardware limitations mean that it may not work with older devices. This could pose a problem for some users as the iPhone 6 and 6S were still popular devices last year according to 2019 usage statistics.

    Source: BBC News

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