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 to MobileSyrup that it is currently testing the app on these iPhone models to ensure that everything is working properly and to address any issues that may arise.
“The app will be available on older model iPhones in the coming days. With this new update, COVID Alert is now compatible on 97.5 percent of all Canadian smartphones,” a spokesperson from the CDS told MobileSyrup in an email.
This new change is possible because Apple has rolled out iOS 12.5 for older iPhones with support for exposure notifications, which has previously only been available for the iPhone 7 and up. Apple has essentially made the low-energy Bluetooth technology available on older iPhones, which means that these devices can now use the framework that COVID Alert relies on.
The CDS says that COVID Alert will be continuously re-assessed and updated based on public health guidance, user research, testing and updates to the underlying framework by Apple and Google.
“We encourage all Canadians to download and use COVID Alert today, as one tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and keep ourselves and each other 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 don’t provide one-time verification keys with positive tests, which are integral to how COVID Alert operates.