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    The Government’s COVID-19 tracking app is called CovidSafe and is launching today!

    Today the Australian Government is launching the smartphone app for Android and iOS to help in the efforts of contact tracing. The app is called CovidSafe and is published by the Australian Department of Health.

    A new Government website – https://covidsafe.gov.au/ has been established and provides the link to download the Android and iOS versions of the app, hat tip to Beau Giles for the heads-up.

    The website also features a Help page to assist in understanding how the app works and those concerned with privacy, should absolutely take a read. It’s important that factual, technically accurate information is shared around this app, particularly when the health of Australians is concerned.

    How does COVIDSafe work?

    As you got about your life, Bluetooth your phone is scanning for possible Bluetooth devices to connect to. This unique Bluetooth ID is registered in the app.

    If someone tests positive to Coronavirus, State and Territory health officials can check if your phone’s unique Bluetooth ID, is listed as a device that that person was close to. If your phone is on the list, you’ll be notified that you were near someone who has contracted Coronavirus (who also had the COVIDSafe app installed).

    What data is collected for COVIDSafe?

    After installing the app, you will be asked for the following:

    • Mobile phone number – so that you can be contacted if needed for contact tracing.
    • Name – so the relevant health officials can confirm they are speaking to the right person when performing contact tracing. This will be easiest if you provide your full name, but you can use a pseudonym or fake name if you prefer​.
    • Age range– so health officials can prioritise cases for contact tracing, if needed​​.
    • Postcode –to make sure health officials from the right State or Territory who work in your area can contact you, and to prioritise cases for contact tracing, e.g. hotspot areas.

    The app uses a rolling 21-day window to allow for the maximum 14-day incubation period, and the time taken to confirm a positive test result. The rolling 21-day window allows the app to continuously note only those user contacts that occur during the Coronavirus incubation window. Contacts that occurred outside of the 21-day window are automatically deleted from the user’s phone.

    This app plays a significant role in Australia’s capacity to return to a more normal lifestyle. By understand when you come into contact with someone with Coronavirus, you can then be tested and quarantine accordingly. While it’ll definitely be disruptive when this occurs, it’s a powerful piece of data that can allow much of society to function again.

    The Government had said the app would be open source, to allow security researchers to review the code, but it doesn’t appear that’s going to take place before the launch of the app today.

    More information at https://www.covidsafe.gov.au and I’ll be downloading it as soon as its available.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwrighthttps://techau.com.au/author/jason/
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

    411 COMMENTS

    1. Good one Jason- glad you mentioned this. I will download it too! There’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theorists on this one!

      • You mean people not willing to trust the government, no conspiracy in that. You know, like trust us we won’t release your metadata.

        • Or trust that the National Firearms Registry wont end up in the hands of thieves, Or that things like Centerlink’s “Robo debt” cant/wont happen. Or that there will “never ever be a GST under a liberal Government” “never ever” Or that kids did in fact go overboard.. or that 6 million people are/were on jobkeeper.. I mean the list goes on and on and on…

          And you wonder why people don’t want to install it.. I mean can that personal info be farmed with bluetooth sniffing I wonder?

        • HAHA comment was removed, but have a look into what happened to the National Firearms Registry. You wont find much but basically this apparently unhackable database (lol) of every gun in the country and how it is stored, and where was stolen within months of its inception.

          Can we trust a Government (no not labor or liberal per se) that promises that there will “Never ever be a GST..” who then goes on to install one as fast as humanly (bureaucratically) possible?

          How about the NSW govt who cant even get community transmission under control pushing to have interstate travel opened up again? They clearly have the best interests of the people of Australia at heart.. lol.

    2. I am trying to download the app. When I put in my details it keeps saying “invalid phone number” when I press Get Pin.

      • You might find that your phones Android version is too old to accept the app. This aspect has not been widely publicised, but I did find a mention of compatibility in fine print in a document when I stated looking for answers. My version is 4.4.2 on a Galaxy Note II. Very frustrating, as I am a strong advocate for the apps use. As with some other apps on Play Store, if your phone is not compatible, such apps will not even come up during a search. The app that you were directed to is probably the WHO app of the same name, which is not a tracing app. I understand that some older versions of IOS are the same.

        • Can confirm the same for 5.1 Android on Galaxy J3 – there will be a significant pool of people in this situation, many in the older age group. Hopefully they can provide a version suitable soon.

        • Yep……My Android Version is too old and am only getting “Your device is not compatible with this version”. Since I’m not going to go out and buy a new phone…….It looks like I’ll have to opt out of this one.

          • Me too. Very disappointing. I would love to download the app but I am not buying a new phone for it. Why didn’t someone think this through? Many of us are not the younger milenials that have to have the latest and greatest technology yesterday, and yet we are probably more at risk than they are and should have a better level of protection. So why do they bring out an app that doesn’t work on our phones?

            Go figure!

            Probably created by a milenial. 🙁

          • I’m getting exactly the same message. (“Your device is not compatible”). I’d like to join in, but there’s no way I’m buying a new phone. Poor planning here by the IT people behind it, who are clearly in their own “we’ve got the latest phones” bubble.

        • Yes, same issue does not come up in Play Store search and if accessed via direct link I am informed that the app is not compatible with my Android 4.4.4 phone. Mirror the frustration of Jeff R – I want to participate!

          • Yes, very frustrating! I have a Huawei Y625 running Android v4.4.2 and an 8″ Samsung “phablet” with the same version OS. I’m in the older age group and I can’t afford a new phone at this time. Also very angry with Commbank for locking us older phone users out of their new version netbank app.

    3. Well the funny thing is that only the Google Play store link works, the Apple App Store link links nowhere. So at the moment it looks like only Android users can use it……

    4. Would live to download but Apple Store says not available to download in WA – any news on when Apple will come to the party over t?

    5. I have downloaded it (Android) and installed this morning. While it is named COVIDSafe it should have the acronym SARSTAT app.

      Search and Record Safe Track and Trace.

      An excellent app that helps us all know the SARStatus in Australia.

      Oh and anyone with a smartphone that doesn’t download and install it is UNAUSTRALIAN.

    6. When I ask for a code to verify my ph number it says my number is invalid My ph number is 0423987101 My husband is getting this also

    7. I’m having the same issue with the phone number entry! Can’t get it to accept my number. Tried several times. Surely this was tested prior to release

    8. I am hugely disappointed. I was keen to play my part in registering my app but I’m having the same problem as not recognising my phone number either with the zero or not in front

    9. Government says it’s so secure that not even you can access your own data. Well it’s so secure that it won’t let me sign up! It keeps telling me my number is invalid.. I expected a glitch or two but not being able to sign up…

      • My wife told me six times that I couldn’t register until after 6pm, but I’m a bloke so I didn’t listen. Well guess what she was right – again!

    10. Getting a invalid phone number message (3) Times when I’m filling in app for a friend. Please help. Number is 042736XXXX & you drop 0 if +61 is the prefix. Tks

    11. Why does my valid mobile number show as ‘invalid’? I entered 61 42*******, then tried 042*******, just in case. No joy. I notice that others have the same problem but may as well highlight.

    12. Hello, I’ve tried entering my mobile number with and without zero in front, and I’m also getting the message “Invalide phone number”.

    13. apparently it’s not officially working until 1800,cause i have tried to sign up and it’s coming up invalided phone number aswell,i was informed to try after 1800 today

    14. “Error verifying phone number – please check your details and try again” – have tried with and without a zero in front of my number.

    15. why was the app even available on Google Play in the first place when mobile numbers cannot be recognised… this will put a lot of people off installing this now!

    16. i know i am a bloke, but i didn’t see anything on the App Store about waiting till after 6pm to register or else the phone number verification step wont work

    17. I’ve tried to set it up but it doesn’t work, it says it failed to verify my phone number. Useless, if you are going to launch something like this , make sure it bloody works first! Very frustrating.

    18. Could be that the two-step verification SMS Service is overloaded with requests right now.
      It might get better as this seems like a generic error, not an issue with everyone’s ‘phone number’ or formatting issue.

    19. Same with me error verifying phone number have checked iPhone and entering exactly right and also every possible variation

      • Try turning off your WiFi then it should work.
        This is what I did when it come up as “invalid phone number” and it worked.

    20. Post on ABC News says that the servers get activated after 6pm this evening. So wait a bit before signing up.
      Also, the Apple iOS App Store **does not find*** “covidsafe” but ***does find*** “COVIDsafe”. The capitals are apparently necessary.

    21. Successfully downloaded and activated Covid safe on my wife’s phone. Unable to do so on my phone as it will not accept my phone number.

    22. So it only notifies you if you came into “close contact” (within 1.5m for 15 minutes) with somebody who has Covid-19 (providing they too have the app). Considering it only takes a few seconds of interaction to pass on the virus, I want to know if a customer I serve has it – which obviously is less than 15 minutes of interaction. Pretty useless if you ask me.

      • Now Im wondering if a government cant even launch an app howin hell are they going to save us from this mess ???Im our of here
        .

      • There is some fine print somewhere that indicates that older versions of Android will not be compatible with the app. My Android version is 4.4.2 on a Galaxy Note II and it does not work. I have not been able to identify the earliest version that is suitable

    23. It would be fair to describe this app as a Beta version, and we are all testers. The source code will be made available so that those who are interested can do a bit fiddling. It would be good if the app could be made backwards compatible, to enable older versions of Android to be compatible. My Android version is 4.4.2 on a Galaxy Note II and it is incompatible with the app. I would think that the Bluetooth version is that the app operates under is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as it does not require manual pairing as with the earlier version. BLE by nature, ensures longer battery life on an Android phone. BLE also does not require a line of sight to operate, so it is feasible that if you are in one aisle as Woolies and another person is in the next aisle, both phones will be able to see each other through the cans of crushed tomatoes and baked beans.

    24. I have downloaded the app perfectly on my iPhone but my husband has a Samsung and google play says it is unavailable here ??

    25. I CANT even download this app on my phone. I dont have google play & I cant even connect to the network using google. My phone is a pre-paid phone so maybe this is the issue… I dont even know if the app is free which is important to me because of the high cost of pre-paid phones… Therefore Im out of the loop I suppose.

    26. Invalid Phone Number error msg – So I have now been trying hourly for 12hrs (9pm -9am) which is well after 6pm. My phone is an S8+ so not too old. I’ve had the same working number for about 20yrs so definitely valid. So what now? Maybe i’m too old to matter….

    27. I have three phones, Amaysim, Aldi and Aldi. All three do not get the PIN that tha App requires even after multiple trie. App fault. So cannot use Apps. Many others must have same issue.

    28. All you smart people having trouble putting your phone number in… +61 is our the country code so you DON’T put in the leading zero.

    29. I cannot seem to install the app on my Galaxy J1 mini. According to the specs, this Android device is said to be compatible, but when I try to install it from Google play, I get a message saying “No eligible devices were found”. I’ve tried switched the phone off and on, but no difference.
      So, the question has to be asked … despite the specs saying so, is my phone really able to run the COVIDSAFE app?

    30. Hi Jason, my husband has an iPhone 4 operating system 9.3…
      Covidsafe requires iso 10 to download. I guess he can’t register unless he forks out $200 from his meagre pension to buy a more up to date phone. Any suggestions? Thanks lynne

    31. I have a Samsung Galaxy J3/6 and I cannot download the app. I get a message telling me the app is incompatible with my device. Does anyone else have this problem and does anyone have a solution?

    32. I can’t seem to download this app on my samsung galaxy III smartphone. It doesn’t even appear in the play store. Anyone know why that would be?

    33. I only have a “Pay as you use plan” on Vodaphone which will not allow for me to download apps. I have tried every which way without success. Sat beside my wife who is on a Telstra plan and it downloaded immediately. So it appears that unless I pay a fortune for a plan with the server I cannot get notified if I come in contact with a carrier of the virus.

    34. When I try to install the app I receive message saying this device is incompatible with the app. I have 5.1 android.
      Surely the gurus can fix this issue!!!!!!

    35. I cannot download the COVIDSafe app. It says my device is not compatible with this version. So what a brilliant idea, not!! Not everyone has latest devuces. Frustrating.

    36. I am trying to enter my phone number to get the verification pin and it keeps telling me it is an invalid number I have tried it with and without the initial 0 at the front.

    37. designed by an idiot!!~! It will not recognise correct phone numbers. The offered keyboard has no space symbol…impossible to register as it says incorerect number..yet the number has been with me for 20 years.

    38. Having the same problem as everybody else …. after trying variations to my phone number the app cannot identify my mobile

    39. I need to uninstall this app as it isn’t right, it told me I was positive to COVID 19 & when I spoke to someone about they told me it’s incorrect! Now I cannot get it off my phone & when I try calling my GP’s surgery it tells me I need to be triaged for the COVID19 I just want this app off my phone & it won’t let me uninstall it!!!

    40. Im trying to install the app but google play doesn’t display the app in search. I can find the app through the government site, but it says this item is not available in your country. well..it should be since its for Australia. Ive checked my profile addresss on google and its set to Australia, and I’m using a Huawei with Android 10. Any ideas??

    41. Yes, I had the same problem. It was telling me invalid phone number. Then turned off the wifi on the phone as suggested below. Then tried again and it worked.

    42. I don’t know why I never get the 6 digit pin on my iPhone, it keeps saying that ERROR, can’t verify your mobile number

    43. App has been up for over 24 hours and still refuses my phone number. Switched on and off. Deleted and reloaded app etc, but no joy. There does not appear to be any help available from the gov app page.
      Any fixes out there?

    44. I have waited until after 6pm after installing the app earlier in the day. The app still returns an invalid phone number response when I try to register, as it did earlier in the day. The resnonse is definitley a glitch in the software. The number is valid. It there is some other problem, the invalid number response is till incorrect, no matter what someting obscure in poorly presented instructions say.

      Given the importance of this software’s function, this should be fixed ASAP. It should not be difficult to do so.

    45. Hi, I keep getting invalid number. I have tried multiple times, turned off wifi and back on, still the same. I restarted my phone, it now tells me it is active but I need to upload my data. It wants the PIn which because my number is apparently invalid I can’t do it. What is wrong? any idea

      • I just looked on the govt app site in help. It stated in there that downloading the app from the play store will not work because it is set to overseas

    46. It will not let me verify my phone number
      I have checked all my information is correct but still will not let me verify

    47. Trying to load my number and marked invalid… tried reinstalling and no luck so l guess l won t be doing it ..and my phone in a Samsung s10 so latest software????