How to download and use the NHS COVID-19 App and protect the ones you love

24 September 2020, 06:00 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 10:27

NHS app
NHS app. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Here is everything you need to know about how to find and use the new NHS COVID-19 App and stop further speading of the virus.

Where and when can I download the NHS COVID-19 App?

The app is free to download, and is available in England and Wales from Thursday, September 24.

It is available to download for iOs devices through the app store, and for Android devices through the Google Play Store.

What does the NHS COVID-19 App do?

The app lets you know anonymously if you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, so you can take the right action to protect the ones you love, and stop further spread of the virus.

It shows you the risk level in your local area – based on the postcode district you enter when you download it.

It gives you advice on what action to take, so you can know how best to protect the ones you love.

How does it work?

There is a built-in QR code scanner to check in at venues, including restaurants and hotels. We all have to leave our contact details (name and phone number) at venues, particularly hospitality, so we can be contacted if there is an outbreak linked to that venue.

You’ll start seeing official NHS QR code posters in local businesses, and the app is the quickest and easiest way to now check-in, without having to fill out forms or pass on your details.

If you have symptoms, you can check these with the app to see if they might suggest you have coronavirus, based on the latest government guidance.

The app will then guide you to booking a test online. If you receive a positive result, you can tell the app, and it will send an anonymous notification to any app user who you’ve come into recent close contact with.

TestandTrace app
Picture: NHS

Is it safe to use?

The app protects your privacy as it uses Apple and Google’s proven Bluetooth technology, designed so that nobody will know who or where you are.

Any data shared with the app is only held on your phone, so if you decide to delete the app (which you can do at any time), all the data is deleted as well.

The app cannot track your location – it doesn’t use GPS - check or monitor if you are self-isolating, or see personal information on your phone such as messages or contacts.

Help others or ask others to download the app if they need it. Encourage your friends and family to download the app and help them if they’re not used to downloading or using apps on their phone.

How old do you need to be to use the app?

You need to be aged 16 or over to download the app.