Help topics

Getting COVIDSafe on your phone

You need to be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data to download COVIDSafe.

Previously, users with non-Australian Apple App Store or Google Play Store accounts could not download COVIDSafe. The app is now available to these users.

Please refer to Google Play guidelines if the Play Store won’t open, load or download apps.

If you are an iPhone user you can search Apple’s App Store Support.
We encourage all Australians to ensure that they are running the latest version of their operating system on their devices to maximise security and functionality. We recommend you upgrade your operating system before downloading the app.

The minimum requirements for COVIDSafe to work are:
  • Android - Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher
  • iOS - iOS 10 or higher

Other mobile operating systems are currently not supported.

COVIDSafe works on as broad a range of handsets as possible. However, there are limits as to how far back a new app build can go for reasons such as security and Bluetooth® capability. If you have any issues, your mobile manufacturer or provider may be able to provide support.
The COVIDSafe app is only installed on your phone if you have voluntarily downloaded it. If you see 'COVID-19 Exposure Logging' or 'COVID-19 Exposure notifications' in your settings, this does not mean that COVIDSafe was installed automatically on your phone.

Recent updates by Apple and Google to mobile operating systems include new COVID-19 exposure tracking features. These are not integrated with the Australian Government's COVIDSafe app. The app continues to work effectively. You can find more information from the AFP fact check article on false claims on automatic downloads of COVIDSafe.

Setting up COVIDSafe

  1. Download the COVIDSafe app.
  2. Register using a name, mobile phone number, age range and postcode.
  3. Turn on Bluetooth®.
  4. Check that COVIDSafe is active when you are out or are likely to come into contact with others.

You can download a detailed guide on installing and using COVIDSafe.

If you test positive for coronavirus, you can consent for your close contact information to be used by state or territory health officials to contact people who may have been exposed. If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus by someone you’ve been in close contact with, state or territory health officials will be able to contact you quickly so you can get the support you need.
You can now use international roaming or overseas mobile phone numbers to request for a PIN (Personal Identification Number).

If COVIDSafe does not verify your mobile phone number, or you do not receive your PIN within a few minutes after you register:
  • switch off Wi-Fi
  • use your mobile data when entering your phone number

If that does not work:
  • Go back to the previous screen to check if you have answered all questions correctly, including name (no numbers or symbols like '?' or '.'), age range and postcode.
  • Your PIN may have expired. Go back to the app and tap the 'Resend PIN' link.
  • Ensure you are not running a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your phone while you register.
  • If you are using an Android phone, check that the SMS is not being captured and blocked by any security software.

If you have received a PIN and you are not in the process of registering for COVIDSafe, please ignore the message. This is a known issue and the development team is working on it.
SMS messages from the Australian Government reminding you to download COVIDSafe come from your mobile provider. The Australian Government works with telecommunication providers to send these messages out to the Australian public only when it is absolutely necessary. You cannot opt out of these messages.

COVIDSafe only sends SMS messages to:
  • give you your verification PIN during registration
  • if you are consenting to upload information to the national information storage system
  • if you submitted a form to request deletion of your registration information

COVIDSafe will never send you an SMS about usage of the app, for example 'COVIDSafe has detected that you are 20km from your nominated home address'. It will never ask you to call a phone number.
Android/Google requires all apps that request access to Bluetooth® to also obtain location permission. As a result, COVIDSafe on Android asks for location permissions because they are needed for Bluetooth® permissions. COVIDSafe does not store or use location data on Android.

For more information, read the Android developer guide.
If you have checked everything and the app still doesn’t work, you may need to update the operating system on your phone.

Uninstall the app and follow your normal phone procedure to check for updates and install. Once complete, revisit the app store and reinstall the app.

Using COVIDSafe

Android users: COVIDSafe works best when it is running, which means you can use your phone as normal without having to open or check COVIDSafe.

iOS users: Keep COVIDSafe running when you're out and about, especially in meetings and public places.

Your COVIDSafe app screen should show 'COVIDSafe is active'. If it says 'COVIDSafe is not active', you'll need to make changes to some items under 'Check your settings'.

You may have noticed that if the COVIDSafe application has been closed for 24 hours, you will receive a notification. This notification is optional on both Android and iOS devices.

To be effective, you should keep COVIDSafe active as you go about your daily business and come into contact with people.

Keep the app running by switching Bluetooth® on. For Android, you must disable battery optimisation for COVIDSafe.

You can disable COVIDSafe's functionality at any time by turning the app's Bluetooth® permission off or deleting the app.
To change your registration information (phone number, name or postcode), you can uninstall COVIDSafe and download it again. Read more on what happens when you uninstall the app.
Most issues on the app are resolved by updating to the latest version.

You can choose to automatically update COVIDSafe when a new version is available by checking your app store settings:
  • For Android users, open Google Play Store and go to 'Settings', then select 'Auto-update apps'.
  • For iOS users, go to 'Settings', select 'iTunes & App Store', then enable 'App Updates’.

This will mean all apps on your phone will update automatically.
You can use COVIDSafe in languages other than English:
To use a language other than English while using COVIDSafe, you must change the preferred language of your device.

iOS
From the Home screen, scroll to the bottom and select ‘Change language’.

Android
Check with your phone manufacturer or mobile provider on how to change the preferred language from your Android device Settings.

View other COVIDSafe resources for languages other than English.

Battery life and mobile data

Before releasing COVIDSafe, we ran tests on battery consumption. We found that battery use is only slightly greater with the app running, even on devices that are already Bluetooth®-enabled.

We are working with Apple and Google on opportunities to enhance the performance of COVIDSafe.
COVIDSafe will not work if battery optimisation is enabled.

From the app:
  1. Under ‘Check your settings’, select ‘Battery optimisation’.
  2. Disable battery optimisation for COVIDSafe.

You can change battery optimisation settings for specific apps, including COVIDSafe. Please check with your phone manufacturer or provider for information on how to switch off battery optimisation for specific apps.

OPPO phones
To disable battery optimisation on OPPO phones, you must first check the version by selecting ‘About Phone’ from 'Settings'.

For OPPO phones with ColorOS 5.0 and above:
  1. Go to the OPPO home screen.
  2. Long press on the COVIDSafe app until you see the 'App Info' option, tap on it.
  3. Tap on 'Power Saver'.
  4. Tap on 'Allow Background Running'.

For OPPO phones with ColorOS version 3.2 and below:
  1. Go to 'Settings'.
  2. Tap on 'Battery'.
  3. Tap on 'Energy Saver' and look for the COVIDSafe app.
  4. Disable all options.
The app uses less than 1MB of data per day. It does not need to be connected continuously to the internet to work, but it does need to connect occasionally to retrieve new temporary IDs from the server. This helps to protect your privacy and to collect anonymised analytics data.

Bluetooth® settings

You need to ensure Bluetooth® is switched on to make COVIDSafe work.

In COVIDSafe, scroll down until you see Bluetooth® settings under 'Check your settings'. Switch on Bluetooth®.

If your Bluetooth® is on and the app is running you will see ‘COVIDSafe is active’ on your app screen.

COVIDSafe won’t work if Bluetooth® is turned off. You need to make sure you have Bluetooth® on when you leave your home or have other people in your home.
We are aware that the way COVIDSafe operates may disrupt other Bluetooth® devices. We have designed the app to eliminate common disruption issues.

If you experience problems, we recommend that you temporarily close COVIDSafe when:
  • pairing with new Bluetooth® accessories
  • syncing with, and using, impacted Bluetooth® reliant devices

Check the guidelines on:
Medical devices
If you find that COVIDSafe is interfering with your medical device, please stop using the app. Management of your ongoing chronic health condition is more important.

If you have experienced this issue, we encourage you to contact support@covidsafe.gov.au or use the ‘Report an Issue’ functionality within the app. We are actively monitoring feedback channels for these types of compatibility issues so that we can work to resolve them as quickly as possible.

Apple Watch and other wearable technology
The app is not currently compatible with Apple Watch or other smartwatch brands. COVIDSafe currently works with iPhones and iPads running version 10 or above of iOS.

You cannot use COVIDSafe on any other wearable technology.
When Bluetooth® is enabled, other devices around you will be able to see your device name. We recommend you update your Bluetooth® settings and use a device name that does not include your personal details. For example, 'Android device' instead of your own name.

You can change your device's Bluetooth® name from your phone's settings.
COVIDSafe will never request to pair with your mobile device.

If you receive a notification saying 'Bluetooth Pairing Request' from COVIDSafe, select 'Cancel' immediately. This is likely a scam or malicious in nature.

Removing COVIDSafe


You can delete COVIDSafe from your phone at any time.

When the Minister for Health declares the COVID-19 pandemic over, users will be prompted to delete the app from their phone. This will delete all app information on a person’s phone. The information contained on the highly secure information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.
To uninstall COVIDSafe from your device, simply delete the app like you normally would.

When you delete COVIDSafe, all locally stored information in the app will be deleted. You'll no longer be able to share stored information if a state or territory health official contacts you during the process. If you want to use COVIDSafe again, you'll need to reinstall and set up the app again.

If you delete COVIDSafe, state or territory health officials may not be able to effectively trace the virus.
COVIDSafe holds your information in 3 locations:
  • The highly secure storage system (National COVIDSafe Data Store) holds your registration information (name, age range, phone number and postcode) as an encrypted reference code.
  • Your phone holds ‘digital handshake’ information about your close contacts in the last 21 days. This records their encrypted reference code, date, time and how close they were to you.
  • Other users’ phones you've been in close contact with hold your ‘digital handshake’ information. COVIDSafe holds it for 21 days after you came in contact and then automatically deletes it.

Nobody can access any of this information until you or one of your contacts tests positive for COVID-19 and completes voluntary upload of information to the storage system. The contact mapping process happens in the storage system. Then health officials can let close contacts know they have been exposed.

If you delete the app from your phone, your registration information remains in the storage system. This gives health officials the information they need to contact you if one of your close contacts develops COVID-19.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) will automatically delete your registration information from the storage system data store at the end of the pandemic. If you would like to delete it before then, you must submit a registration information deletion request form.

To delete all your COVIDSafe information:
  • Delete the app on your phone. This deletes all the close contact information stored on your phone.
  • Submit a registration information deletion request form. Note: If you do this, health officials will not be able to contact you if one of your close contacts tests positive for COVID-19.

If you received an SMS about deleting your COVIDSafe registration data, this means we are acting on your request when you submitted the form.
If you did not make this request, or have changed your mind, you should respond 'NO' and your registration data will not be deleted.
If you change your device and keep your mobile number, you can download COVIDSafe on your new device and re-register with the same mobile number. The information on your previous device will be deleted after 21 days.

Meeting government standards for accessibility

In a review of COVIDSafe, Vision Australia has determined that the app and website has satisfied Level A and Level AA success criteria of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 specification.

Read the Statement of Accessibility for COVIDSafe app and website.

It is important that as many Australians as possible can download and use COVIDSafe.
Updates to COVIDSafe have improved accessibility in several ways:
  • improved sequencing of the registration process for people who use text to speech technology, which helps them navigate and use the COVIDSafe application
  • added VoiceOver functionality
  • improved recognition of buttons, headings and checkboxes
  • improved contrast between the text and background, making it easier for people to read

When developing the app, we considered the needs of people:
  • with visual impairments or hearing difficulties
  • who are culturally and linguistically diverse

We tested the app to make sure it:
  • meets colour contrast standards
  • has the best text size
  • has alt text for images

We wrote in plain English to make the content simple and easy to understand.

We want to make the app as accessible as possible. We run accessibility audits and independent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) accessibility reviews to identify and resolve any issues with the app. If you have experienced an accessibility issue with the app, please contact support@covidsafe.gov.au or use the ‘Report an Issue’ functionality within the app. We are actively monitoring feedback channels for accessibility issues so we can solve them as quickly as possible.

COVIDSafe source code

You can access the COVIDSafe source code through GitHub. Before you access the source code, please read the terms and conditions.

The Australian Government Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) welcomes people to review the source code and give them feedback about possible issues.

The DTA may not be able to reply to every person who provides feedback. However, they review and act on feedback according to its impact on app security and usability.

In some instances, the DTA may contact you to better understand the issues you raised. The DTA is working with international partners as countries around the world develop tracing technology for coronavirus.

More information on COVIDSafe


Read Background to COVIDSafe for more information, including: