NHS COVID-19 app: download and set up guide

Downloading the app

The app will be updated occasionally with new functionality and improvements. The latest version includes up-to-date features and advice so it’s important to keep it updated.

Select the type of phone you have to get started.

If you’re not sure what kind of phone you have, an iPhone will have an app on it called the App Store. On Android phones, this is called Play Store. You can also check the type of phone you have by going to Settings> General> About> Model name. If you have an iPhone it will confirm this in the Model name.

Your phone will show an ‘Android version’ in Settings> About phone, if it is an Android phone.

For your NHS COVID pass, use the separate NHS App.

The app is designed to be used by one person per phone. You should download and use the app on your own smartphone, if you have one.

If you have more than one phone, install the app on the phone you use most often and carry this with you at all times. If the phone you use most often is a work phone and you’re having trouble downloading the app, please check with your employer.

Android download and set up guide

Step 1: Find and install the NHS COVID-19 app on the Google Play Store

Follow these steps to find the app on your Android phone:

  1. Find the Google Play Store app and tap on it to open it.
  2. Tap on the ‘Search for apps and games’ search box.
  3. Type in ‘NHS COVID-19’ to search for the app. You’ll see a list of results. Select the app with the name ‘NHS COVID-19 app’.
  4. Tap on ‘Install’ to start downloading.

Step 2: Switch on Bluetooth in your phone’s settings

Once the app has downloaded, you’ll need to switch on Bluetooth so that contact tracing can work.

  1. Go to your phone’s home screen. Find ‘Settings’ and tap on it to open.
  2. Scroll down in ‘Settings’ until you find ‘Connected devices’ or ‘Connections’ and tap on it to open.
  3. Find ‘Bluetooth’ and tap on it. You may need to open ‘Connected preferences’ to find Bluetooth, depending on your phone model.
  4. Tap the slider button next to Bluetooth to switch it on. It should change color once Bluetooth is on.
  5. Your phone may ask you to select a nearby Bluetooth device. This is not needed for contact tracing to work so you can close this screen if it appears.

Step 3: Using the app

  1. Return back to your phone’s home screen where you can see all of your apps. Find the NHS COVID-19 app and tap on it to open.
  2. Your NHS COVID-19 app is now up and running.
  3. You can use your phone as normal. However, make sure you keep the app running in the background and your Bluetooth turned on so that contact tracing works.

iPhone download and set up guide

Step 1: Find and install the NHS COVID-19 app on the App Store

Follow these steps to find the app on your iPhone:

  1. Find the App Store app and tap on it to open it.
  2. Tap on ‘Search’ at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Type in ‘NHS COVID-19 app’ in the search bar. You’ll see a list of results. On your screen you can now see the NHS COVID-19 app.
  4. Tap on the ‘Get’ button.
  5. You might be asked to type in your Apple ID details to confirm your identity. You can also use fingerprint or face verification, if you’ve already set these up.

Step 3: Switch on Bluetooth in your iPhone’s settings

Once the app has downloaded, you’ll need to switch on Bluetooth so that contact tracing can work.

  1. Go to your iPhone’s home screen. Find ‘Settings’ and tap on it to open.
  2. Scroll down in Settings until you find Bluetooth. Tap on it to open.
  3. Tap the slider button next to Bluetooth to switch it on. It should turn green once Bluetooth is on.

Step 4: Using the app

  1. Return back to your phone’s home screen where you can see all of your apps. Find the ‘NHS COVID-19 app’ and tap on it to open.
  2. Your NHS COVID-19 app is now up and running.
  3. You can use your phone as normal, however, make sure you keep the app running in the background and your Bluetooth turned on.

Inputting your postcode

The app will ask you for the first part of your postcode. For example, ‘PE12’. It will not provide the precise location where you live. If your postcode district covers more than one local authority area, the app will ask you which local authority you live in. This is so the app can give you the most accurate information for your area.

Changing the language

The app is available in English, Welsh, Arabic (Modern Standard), Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi (Gurmukhi script), Romanian, Somali, Turkish and Urdu.

To change the language of the app, select Settings from the home screen of the NHS COVID-19 app. You may need to have the latest version of the app downloaded.

Under Settings, select Language. The app will display the following.

System language

This is the language setting of your phone.

Languages

Here, you can select which language you want the NHS COVID-19 app to use. It can be different from your system language. Once you have selected the language you want, you will need to confirm your choice. Your app will now be in the language you have selected.

Changing the accessibility settings

The NHS COVID-19 app is a native app built for Apple iOS and Android devices. This means you can use the built-in accessibility settings on your phone to tailor the accessibility requirements as needed.

Go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Accessibility’ to make changes. Please note that changes will be applied to your phone and not just the app.

It’s possible to turn off the moving circles animation on the home screen of the NHS COVID-19 app through the app settings.If you have an iPhone, go to ‘Settings’ then’ Motion (Animations) ‘and select’ on ‘or’ off ‘as preferred. On iPhones, the animation may be automatically set to ‘off’ due to a setting in your phone called ‘Reduce Motion’. To change ‘Reduce Motion’, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Accessibility’. Selection ‘Motion’, then turn ‘Reduce Motion’ on or off. If you have an Android phone, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Animations’ and select ‘on’ or ‘off’ as preferred.

Changing your postcode

You can change your postcode in the app by going to the home screen and navigating to ‘Settings’. From there, click ‘Area data’ then ‘Edit’. If your postcode district covers more than one local authority area, the app will ask you which local authority you live in. Visit GOV.UK to find out which local authority you’re in.

You should only edit your postcode district if you have moved house and your home postcode district has changed as a result.

You should pause contact tracing when you:

  • are working behind a fixed screen and are fully protected from other people
  • store your phone in a locker or communal area, for example while working or taking part in a leisure activity like swimming
  • are a worker in health and social care and are wearing medical-grade PPEsuch as a surgical mask
  • are a healthcare worker working in a healthcare building such as a hospital or GP surgery

You can set a reminder to turn contact tracing back on after 4 hours, 8 hours or 12 hours.

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