Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England and Wales is set for September 24 launch

Covid-19 Notifications
An example of a contact-tracing app (Image credit: Unsplash)

Those in England and Wales will be able to download a new contact-tracing app on September 24, the Government has announced.

The long-awaited contact-tracing app has been confirmed for both iPhone and Android devices, allowing you to scan QR codes to register your visit at locations like pubs and restaurants.

Businesses across England and Wales are being asked to display QR codes visibly at their venues to ensure that you can easily find one to scan. This new app will work in combination with the NHS Test & Trace service too.

September 24 is the big day

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We need to use every tool at our disposal to control the spread of the virus including cutting-edge technology. The launch of the app later this month across England and Wales is a defining moment and will aid our ability to contain the virus at a critical time."

The Government has yet to confirm the name of the app, or what devices it will be compatible with. Some in Scotland using an alternative app have complained it isn't compatible with all smartphones, so that may be an issue that impacts the England and Wales service too.

Northern Ireland was the first part of the UK to gain access to a contact-tracing app back in August. If you live in Northern Ireland, you can download it on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store now.

Scotland's own contact-tracing app has been available to download since September 10. If you live in Scotland, you can download it on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store now.

The wait for a contact-tracing app across the UK has been long, with the app originally scheduled to debut in May. Trials of the software on the Isle of Wight weren't successful, so the launch was pushed back numerous times.

Some have called into question the usefulness of the app altogether. At the moment, the app won't allow venues to collect the contact details of those who visit meaning it won't prove useful for places to like pubs or restaurants.

Legally, venues are obligated to collect data such as the name of the customer, their contact details as well as the date and time of the visit. 

At this present time, the contact-tracing app that lands on September 24 won't do any of that meaning venues will have to run two systems simultaneously to ensure they're not breaking the law.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.