NHS Covid-19 app developers working on fix for Android ‘loading’ bug

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

The developers of the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app have confirmed they are working with Google to fix a notification bug in the Android version.

Google said the issue appears to be delaying the app’s ability to carry out regular exposure checks – a key part of contact tracing.

A number of app users on Google’s Android operating system have reported receiving a notification which says the app is loading, but no change takes place within the app and the notification does not disappear.

The app, which is for residents of England and Wales, uses Bluetooth on smartphones to keep an anonymous log of other app users that an individual comes into contact with, informing them if they have been near someone who tests positive for the virus and what to do next.

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In a post to Twitter, the official account for the app confirmed the developers are “urgently” working with Google to investigate the issue.

“We are aware of an issue affecting Android users of the #NHSCOVID19app who are receiving a loading screen notification,” the message said.

“We are working with Google to urgently investigate and resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

In a statement, Google confirmed the issue is affecting Android contact tracing apps around the world.

“We are aware of an issue affecting Android apps developed using the Android Exposure Notifications System. Our engineers are investigating the issue,” a spokesman for the company said.

The tech giant added that there are no signs that the apps are otherwise behaving unexpectedly.

Since launching in September, the NHS Covid-19 app has suffered from several bugs, including a “ghost notification” issue where users were sent alerts saying the app had detected a “possible Covid-19 exposure” but would then give no further instructions or details.

Another glitch saw users who had their phone set to a language other than the 12 initially supported by the app be presented by a blank screen when opening the app.

Both issues were fixed last year.

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