Some smartphone users have experienced issues downloading the Government’s new coronavirus contact tracing app.
NZ Covid Tracer was officially launched on Wednesday, but was submitted to Google and Apple’s app stores for processing on Tuesday, and it was live on both that evening.
However, early on Wednesday, error messages appeared on Google Play’s website and a search on the store’s app did not provide any results for NZ Covid Tracer – instead displaying two apps for the World Health Organisation.
Some people with older iPhones have also experienced problems.
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Kineta Booker, from Kaiapoi, told Stuff she was using her “backup iPhone” as her newer model was being repaired and was unable to download the app.
“Everyone should still have access to the app, no matter what smartphone they have.”
“I think the idea of the app is great, and I’ll be downloading it as soon as they fix this little glitch,” the marriage celebrant said.
Wellington man Thomas Morgan tried to download the app, but was told his “very common inexpensive Huawei phone” was incompatible.
“Getting a technical response on why it’s not working would be great.”
Mobile users took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to ask if others were experiencing the same problem.
The Ministry of Health said it was normal for any new app to have some bugs or issues when first released, but said it was “quickly made aware” some Kiwis were having trouble locating it in the Google Play store.
“Since then, we have been working with Google to ensure the app can be found more easily.”
Anyone having trouble locating the Android version of the app can access it via a link on the ministry’s website.
People can send app feedback to a dedicated email address and the ministry said it was reviewing all feedback to inform bug fixes.
“The first fixes will be deployed early this afternoon, and we will continue to monitor feedback and address issues as they arise.”
On its website, it said Android devices need to have Android 7.0 or later, while Apple devices need iOS 12 or later.
While the app was compatible with most mobile operating systems and devices, future updates will include support for older devices and systems.
“If you don’t have a compatible mobile device, it’s a good idea to keep a manual record of the people you’ve seen and the places you’ve been in case it is needed for contact tracing.”
People could also register their current contact information through the web app.
NZ Covid Tracer allows users to scan QR codes at businesses, public buildings and other organisations to keep track of where they have been, in case the information is needed for coronavirus contact tracing.
Users can also log contact information so the National Close Contact Service can get in touch, the app’s description states.
Information will be stored for 31 days and then automatically deleted, and will only be used for public health purposes, not enforcement.
When announcing the app on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as a digital diary, to help aid our manual contact tracing efforts.
Businesses must keep contact tracing records to open at alert level 2, which led to a flurry of apps being launched, or shoppers having to fill out physical forms.
The prime minister said the new app would ensure national consistency.
The app is an interim solution, and other technological contact tracing solutions are being developed, similar to what has been used overseas.
Singapore has been using a bluetooth app called TraceTogether, which logs contacts who come within two metres of each other, and Australia is using a similar app called Covidsafe.