How to Install the NHS COVID-19 Isle of Wight Residents Only (Early Access) Android Mobile App and FAQ

This blog post tells you how to install the NHS COVID-19 Isle of Wight Residents Only (Early Access) android mobile app and there is also a FAQ.

May 11th 2020 update: I’ve experienced issues with bluetooth turning off and I ended up turning off battery optimisation for both the Covid-19 app and bluetooth. I’ve written details about this just under the installation instructions and in the FAQ.

NHS COVID-19 Early Access App

Please note: I’m not involved with NHSX or the development of the UK Covid-19 mobile app. This is just a personal blog written by a person living on the Isle of Wight. Some of the information in this blog post could be wrong and I’m just trying to help others. I hope all reading this stay safe and well, but if you do catch coronavirus, I wish you a speedy recovery.

I’ve quickly put this blog post together to help others. It’s likely, especially if I run into a problem that I will update this blog post as I continue to use the early access application.

Introduction
I live on the Isle of Wight and today (7th May 2020) the NHSX launched a Covid-19 early access mobile application for Isle of Wight residents. This blog post is useful for anybody who is struggling to install the app or are curious about the application before installing.

mobile network internet gps and bluetooth options

I don’t particularly want Bluetooth, GPS or even an internet connection active on my phone due to battery usage and cost, but I want to use the application and to participate, so I’m willing to accept those 24/7 requirements at the moment.

Warning: I’m not vouching for this application and I’m presuming it can work via a WiFi connection without requiring a ‘mobile network internet’ (not WiFi) connection, but I could be wrong! For those going outside, obviously the mobile network internet connection is required. Personally I’m using a non-WiFi internet connection even when indoors.

How to install the NHS COVID-19 Android mobile app:

  1. Turn on a mobile network or WiFi connection (use mobile if possible).
  2. If you use Android visit here to download the application.
  3. Open the application and select ‘Continue’.
  4. Type in your postcode and again select ‘Continue’.
  5. Agree to ‘Enable permissions’ to keep Bluetooth active.
  6. If your Bluetooth isn’t already turned on, allow the activation.
  7. Allow the application to access the device’s location.
  8. If your GPS isn’t already on, select ‘Go to your Settings’ and turn GPS on.
  9. Check that Bluetooth, GPS and an internet connection are active.
  10. Make sure that the application is reporting it is working properly via the main screen.

Please make sure that you monitor your mobile phone’s battery usage and that you have enough battery power to cover any outdoor activity and beyond.

11th May 2020: Every so often I see a bluetooth is off notification from the Covid-19 app, but then often when I look, Bluetooth appears on, but there are occasions when Bluetooth has switched off. I think I’ve solved most of these issues by turning off battery optimisation for the Covid-19 app and bluetooth, which I’ve written about in the FAQ. There has been the odd occasion when I can’t turn bluetooth back on and when I tried to reboot my phone, it crashed and I had to remove and reinsert the battery, which I’m not happy about. I do not like the Covid-19 app.

If you need to report to the service, you select ‘I feel unwell’ via the main screen under the ‘How are you feeling today?’ There is also a link for people that need urgent medical advice about coronavirus symptoms.How are you feeling today?

FAQ

Q. What Android version is required to use the NHS COVID-19 mobile app?
A. I believe Android 8 and above is required. I tried to install on an Android 6 mobile phone and it didn’t work.

Q. Does the application work indoors?
A. I am indoors and the app is displaying the message ‘The app is working properly’.

Q. Does the Covid-19 app tell me if my bluetooth has turned off?
A. Yes, I’ve received notifications that mine was turned off and twice it was, but other times it wasn’t. I’m using an early access version of the application, so I expect issues. I am wondering if I need to make changes to how Bluetooth operates on my phone and will update this blog post if I do.

Q. How do I know if the NHS Covid-19 application is working?
A. If the application is running as intended, the message ‘The app is working properly’ is displayed at the top of the application.The app is working properly

Q. What phone have you installed it on?
A. I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S5 G900T running Android 9 via the custom rom LineageOS.

Q. How do I turn off battery optimisation for the application and bluetooth?
A. I am unsure about if and how you can turn off optimisation for various flavours of Android, but below is how I turned it off for bluetooth and the covid-19 app on LineageOS with Android 9 Pie:

  1. Open ‘Settings’ and then ‘Apps & notifications’.
  2. Select ‘See all XX apps’ (with XX being the number of apps you have installed).
  3. Select the three dots at the top right, then select ‘Show system’.
  4. Scroll down and choose ‘Bluetooth’ and then ‘Advanced’.
  5. Select ‘Battery’ and then ‘Battery optimisation’.
  6. Now select ‘Bluetooth;’ then ‘Don’t optimise’ and ‘Done’.
  7. Other than step three, repeat the rest of the steps above for the Covid-19 app.

Do you have any feedback?
If you live on the Isle of Wight, I welcome feedback about the application in the comments section below.

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