Despite the many problems flagged up about the government’s COVID-19 app, figures passed to Guido show uptake among those living on the Isle of Wight has been impressive, with 29,000 Islanders already downloading the app in the three days since it became available. Despite the large uptake, the app – which provides a number to call to request a test if it deems the user needs one – has so far referred only 28 requested tests.
The speedy uptake comes amid continued farce over questions around the app’s functionality. Last night The Sun told readers “Apple have loosened restrictions on its software” so the government’s app will be able to constantly run in the background of users’ phones. The story immediately raised suspicions given the very out-of-character move for famously privacy-driven Apple. Soon after, Apple told journalist James O’Malley The Sun’s story “is wrong and being corrected. There is no special API, no arrangement or special treatment.”.
One last update. Apple says that the NHS “100%” has to follow the same rules as every other app - and notes that the app has already been approved as is in the App Store.— James O'Malley (@Psythor) May 6, 2020
So either NHSX has done something pretty extraordinary (maybe!) OR the app contains a fairly massive flaw.
There’s clearly keenness from Islanders to download the app, though potential battery drain and being forced to keep re-opening the app to keep it running is still a problem…