Want to go to the pub? Download the bloody CovidSafe app now!

This afternoon Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy’s repeated calls to download the CovidSafe app.

Having a significant proportion of the population use the app is critical to easing some of the restrictions currently in place around the country.

This message cannot be clearer.

While the Government were happy with the initial 24 hour period where more than 1 million Australians downloaded the app, there’s now a big push on to get many, many more.

The exact number required isn’t being specified, but we understand they want to see around 40% of Australians download and use the app. With Australia’s population sitting at around 25 million, that places the target at around 10 million, while the current downloads sit at 3.5 million.

While many teenagers have phones and could definitely be part of this, even if we just focus on 40% of adults, we’re still talking about 7 million downloads.

The number of downloads is important to give the health officials confidence we have an accurate and diverse enough set of data to base our decisions on. The Government will make a decision late next week, so we have about 7 days to help get this install number close to the 10 million target.

I strongly encourage you to install the app and let it run in the background. If you haven’t talked about it with your friends and family, then do it now and encourage them to install it so all of our lives can return to some form of normality as soon as possible.

It’s worthwhile remembering that there’s a huge personal motivator, even if you don’t care about the greater good. You’ll want to know if you’ve been exposed to Coronavirus as soon as possible to get tested and avoid spreading it to your loved ones.

Winding back the restrictions has to be done slowly and carefully and importantly with data to back it up. The last thing any of us want is to scale back restrictions, see a major outbreak and have to re-implement them.

COVIDSafe privacy

As you go about your life, the Bluetooth in your phone is scanning for possible Bluetooth devices to connect to. The app registers Bluetooth IDs from phones near you.

If someone tests positive to Coronavirus, State and Territory health officials will ask them to submit their data from the app. If your Bluetooth ID is listed as being in proximity to this person for 15 or more minutes, you will be contacted (usually via sms or phone). This helps automate the process of contact tracing.

During sign up, you are asked to provide your full name, mobile number, an age range and postcode, which is only used in the event health officials need to contact you. The app does not track your location.

iPhone users

  1. Open the App Store and search for ‘CovidSafe’.
  2. Tap Install to Install the app.
  3. Launch the app and it will ask you to confirm permissions (Bluetooth needs to be enabled).
  4. The app will guide you through the signup process.
  5. Once finished, press home to switch out of the app, but don’t force close the app from the app switcher, or it won’t be able to work.

Note: While the app is free, you will be prompted for your App Store credentials. If you have forgotten your password, please visit this link to reset it.

Android users

  1. Open the Play Store and search for ‘CovidSafe’
  2. Tap Install to Install the app.
  3. Launch the app and it will ask you to confirm permissions (Bluetooth needs to be enabled).
  4. The app will guide you through the signup process.
  5. The app will continue to run in the background and a permanent notification confirms the app is still running.

Note: The Play Store may ask you for credentials to Install the app. If so, you will need to enter your Google Account details. If you don’t know your password, please visit this link to reset it.


Some users online have reported issues getting the PIN during sign up. Turning off WiFi before requesting a PIN may help resolve this in some cases.

The app is only published in Australia, so if your store account will need to be set to Australia. If you don’t see it when searching, this is likely the issue. Apple and Android both have guides on how to change this, however most users should be fine.

More information

The CovidSafe website has a great page on how the app works and I’d recommend you take a look at the Help Topics page.

Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://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


  1. Heil Hitler! The trend was already down before the lockdown destroyed our economy and killed many more Australians in the future than the virus ever would. So called public health “experts” vastly overestimating something they knew nothing to be on the safe side, public service arse covering at its best. I don’t see any of them taking a cut on their public funded salaries….

    • Perhaps with that sort of an attitude you should move to Michigan, USA, or better still, New York so you may get to experience the virus personally. I know people working in hospitals in both the USA and UK. Unsurprisingly they don’t share your opinions. It’s absolutely brutal at the front line.

  2. Howdy Jason,

    I can understand that some folk will not want to download an app that will allow their contacts to be traced, even by a doctor who is trying to keep an epidemic under control. That is what lockdowns are for. We have either lockdowns or contact tracing … or else we go the way of the USA, and allow people to keep working while other people die beside us. The fittest or the richest survive. True Darwinism at its most brutal.

    Not family friendly, but very good at selecting for either good genes or good bank balances.

    Personally, I’m hoping we can mellow such a brutal world view, to one where we might actually care for each other enough to download a contact tracing app, and keep it working until the COVID has a vaccine.

    Regards, Tony

  3. I will download the app the moment the government releases its source code so I can check what else is baked in to it. It currently logs every BT ID in the vicinity and it demands ‘precise location’ permission. What for?
    No thanks. Morrison is well known lying dude with his condenscending and arrogant behaviour will not fool but teh sheeple who always swallow the propaganda served by these lying bastards. They never change their dirty tactics.
    Give’m an inch…

  4. Very well said Jason.
    There are so many people reading more into the privacy implications from the App than they should be- yet these very same people in most cases continue to use Google devices, Google maps, Amazon devices, smart phones loaded with apps of all sorts of questionable sources and innumerable other smart devices which steal far more personal data than Covidsafe could ever dream of achieving.
    Yet unlike just about everything else, Covidsafe has government guarantees, is for the good of us all, and an end date planned when we can all delete the app and all collected data will be wiped.
    I knew this thing would bring the conspiracy theorist nut cases out in droves!

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