These phones are not compatible with government Test and Trace apps

Thursday, 24th September 2020, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th September 2020, 1:42 pm
Those with older devices have been left unable to download the tracing app in their country (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Those with older devices have been left unable to download the tracing app in their country (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Test and Trace apps are an important part of monitoring and slowing the spread of Covid-19 across the UK. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland now all have functioning apps available to download.

However, not all phones are actually compatible with the apps - a fact which caused outrage on social media after users realised their phones could not download the apps.

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Which phones are compatible with NHS Test and Trace in England and Wales?

The NHS Covid-19 Test and Trace app is supported on both Android and Apple (iOS) phones.

On Android, the app is supported on version 6.0, also known as Marshmallow, and higher.

On iPhone, you’ll need to have an iOS of 13.5 or higher.

This is due to the fact that the app needs something called the Exposure Notification framework developed by Apple and Google, which are only available in these versions of the Apple and Android operating systems.

Older models of iPhones, such as the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6/6 Plus, or earlier, that do not support iOS 13.5 will not be compatible with the app.

Similarly, older Android phones that do not support Android 6.0 will also not be compatible.

Windows phones and new models of Huawei smartphones that launched from May 2019 will not be able to use the app. This is because you need to be able to access the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store specifically to download the NHS Test and Trace app.

New models of Huawei smartphones not compatible include:

  • Huawei P40
  • Huawei P40 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 30 Series
  • Huawei Mate Xs
  • Huawei Honor 30

Which phones are compatible with the Protect Scotland app?

The Protect Scotland app has similar requirements for users as well.

The app is available for iPhone and Android users, however it too requires an iOS of 13.5 or later, or on Android, 6.0 or higher.

The app is not available on phones which use a different operating system outside of the iOS or Android system offered by Apple and Google.

What about Stop Covid app in Northern Ireland?

Similar to the Protect Scotland app and the NHS Test and Trace app, the Stop Covid app in Northern Ireland is also available for free on both Android and iPhone.

It requires an operating system of 6.0 or above on Android, and actually supports a slightly older version of iOS compared to the other apps used around the UK.

Instead of iOS 13.5, the Stop Covid app requires iOS 13 or later.

How to check my phone’s operating system

To check what operating system your phone currently has, and whether you need to update it, you will need to undertake the following steps.

For iPhone, open up your settings and then tap on the ‘General’ option. From there, scroll to ‘About’, and you’ll be able to see what software version your phone is running. To update your iPhone, open Settings again, go to ‘General’ and then select ‘Software update’.

If there is an update, you’ll be able to see it. Tap ‘Download and install’ at the bottom of the screen. You might be prompted to free up some space on your device by uninstalling apps in order to download the newest update.

If there are no updates available, you’ll see a message that says, “Your software is up to date.”

For Android, it’s a very similar process. Begin by going into your settings and then finding the option that says ‘About phone’ or ‘About device’. You’ll be able to see your operating system displayed here.

To update your Android phone, open your settings and then go to the option that says ‘System’.

Scroll down to ‘System updates’. Tap ‘Check for updates’ and your phone will check if there are any available updates for your device.

If an update is available, you’ll be presented with the option to install it. Tap this and your phone will then restart.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title Sunderland Echo