Canada’s COVID Alert has been updated for older iOS devices as previously promised, now available for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 12.5. The app was updated on Monday.
Last month, the federal government announced COVID Alert would soon be updated to support older iPhones, after Apple’s release of iOS 12.5, to support the latter’s Exposure Notification framework.
“iOS 12.5 lets you opt-in to the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system for your iPhone. System availability depends on support from your local public health authority,” explained Apple’s iOS 12.5 release notes, on December 14, 2020.
The iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus missed the cutoff to update to iOS 13, so these older devices did not meet the requirements to support COVID Alert at launch.
Canada’s COVID Alert app is based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification framework, which leverages Bluetooth on devices for anonymous “handshakes” in the background. The app does not use GPS info or collect any user data. It has been vetted as safe by Canada’s privacy commissioner and provincial counterparts.
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can anonymously alert others that may have been in contact using COVID Alert, by obtaining a one-time-use key from their provincial health authority.
Provinces currently supporting COVID Alert:
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Northwest Territories
Still waiting for:
- Alberta (SHAME!)
- British Columbia (SHAME!)
As of January 3, COVID Alert has been downloaded 5.9 million times, with 13,179 people voluntarily entering in one-time keys, according to the federal government.
Thanks Anthony K.