The federal government’s COVID Alert exposure notification app will soon be available on the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus.
The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) has confirmed MobileSyrup which is currently testing the app on these iPhone models to make sure everything is working properly and to address any issues that may arise.
“The application will be available on older iPhone models in the coming days. With this new update, COVID Alert is now compatible with 97.5 percent of all Canadian smartphones, ”said a CDS spokesperson. MobileSyrup in an email.
This new change is possible because Apple has released iOS 12.5 for older iPhones with support for exposure notifications, which was previously only available for iPhone 7 and later. Apple has essentially made Bluetooth Low Energy technology available on older iPhones, meaning these devices can now use the framework that COVID Alert is based on.
The CDS says that COVID Alert will be continually reassessed and updated based on public health guidance, user research, testing, and underlying framework updates from Apple and Google.
“We encourage all Canadians to download and use COVID Alert today, as a tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and keep ourselves and others safe,” the spokesperson said.
COVID Alert is currently fully functional in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and Prince Edward Island.
Although COVID Alert can be downloaded across the country, other regions do not provide one-time verification keys with positive tests, which are an integral part of how COVID Alert works.