Apple and Google block official UK COVID-19 app update

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Apple and Google block official UK COVID-19 app update

An iPhone and Android app called NHS COVID-19 is the official iPhone and Android coronavirus contact tracing software for the vast majority of the population of Great Britain.

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(England and Wales have standardised on NHS COVID-19, but Scotland has gone down a different path with an app of its own.)

Today also marks the first day of slightly more liberal lockdown rules in England, with non-essential shops allowed to open for the first time this year, and outdoor alcohol and food service permitted at pubs and eateries.

Indeed, much of England is so excited about this newfound demi-freedom that some hairdressers and barbers took bookings from one minute past midnight this morning, just to give regular customers the chance of being first in.

Apparently, the government was keen to have an updated version of the NHS COVID-19 app ready in time, with added (though optional) location tracking features that would allow users to share their location logs with the health service.

We’re guessing that the government thought that a voluntary feed of location data might help with planning for reducing the risk of a new wave of coronavirus infections as the current British lockdown eases.

According to the BBC, however, this new version was blocked by both Apple and Google, and won’t be available either in the App Store or through Google Play.

(To be clear, the old version remains online for download and will keep working fine if you have it installed – the app itself hasn’t been banned or thrown out.)

NHS COVIS-19 app as shown on App Store [2021-04-12].