Feds Explain Why COVID Alert Doesn’t Work on Older iPhone and Android Phones

Covid alert ios

Earlier this morning the federal government reiterated why the COVID Alert iOS and Android app only works on phones released in the past five years.

The federal government’s Canadian Digital Service (CDS), which is administering the COVID Alert app, explained “phones newer than 5 years and running iOS 13.5 or Android Marshmallow are compatible with the #COVID Alert app.”

“These phones support the Apple/Google Framework, which is the engine that COVID Alert relies on,” CDS added, as part of a series of tweets regarding the compatibility of COVID Alert.

“This Framework enables the app to detect proximity between two phones by introducing a low-energy Bluetooth feature,” says CDS, further noting, “Older phones unfortunately don’t have the newer low-energy Bluetooth technology.”

CDS says while not everyone can install COVID Alert, Canadians can still benefit from downloading the app.

“When a user receives a notification of a possible exposure, they also get advice on how to keep others safe. This helps limit community spread and prevents future outbreaks,” says CDS.

CDS concluded, “We remain in contact with Apple and Google to see what is possible to address these compatibility issues and ensure that even more smartphone users can access it.”

For iPhone users to download COVID Alert, their device needs to support iOS 13.5.1. This means an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s/6s Plus or newer is required to download COVID Alert.

For Android phones, your device needs to support Android 6 or higher.

Earlier this month, COVID Alert downloads topped 2 million in Canada. The app currently is only supported in Ontario but more provinces are expected to come on board this fall.

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