Help topics

On this page

Read information on the latest update featuring major improvements to COVIDSafe using Herald Bluetooth Protocol.

Download the Herald version:

Set your device to auto-update your version of COVIDSafe.

Make sure COVIDSafe is active

For COVIDSafe to work, you must:

  1. Download and install the latest version of the app. Check if you have the latest version installed on Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Complete registration using your chosen name, age range, postcode and mobile number.
  3. Set up the right permissions and settings for COVIDSafe.
  4. Confirm that COVIDSafe is active with correct settings
    • Open the app.
    • Check if the home screen shows ‘COVIDSafe is active’.

Open the app before you leave home. This keeps the app active when you’re in a place with many other people. For instance, you may be at a crowded beach or a sports stadium.

Mobile phones try to make your battery last longer. This means your phone may close some apps if you haven't used them in a while, including COVIDSafe. This happens even if COVIDSafe is not using a lot of battery.

The performance of COVIDSafe is affected when:

  • you may have inadvertently closed the app
  • too many apps are open
  • you have not interacted with your phone for a long time
  • phone functioning memory is low (requires phone restart).

Try these tips to improve the performance of COVIDSafe on your phone:

  • To keep COVIDSafe active, open the app when you go out, to check that COVIDSafe is active.
  • Open Background App Refresh for iOS and turn off other apps you are not using regularly.
  • Restart your phone and open the app again.
  • Update your app to the latest version through the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

If COVIDSafe is not active

If the app home screen shows ‘COVIDSafe is not active’, you will see instructions in the app on how to set up the right permissions and settings to make it active again.

You must turn your Bluetooth ON for COVIDSafe to work.

Enable Location services

COVIDSafe works best when location services are enabled. This is a Google requirement for Android devices that use Bluetooth. Enabling location on iOS devices ensures that Bluetooth will work effectively for the app. COVIDSafe does NOT store or use location data.

For Android, you must turn OFF or disable battery optimisation.

If you or a close contact tests positive

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.

COVIDSafe needs to connect to the server from time to time to ensure it can identify issues with the app.

The app 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 data that can trigger notifications to assist you with fixing issues with your app.

Connecting to the internet ensures you receive notifications on:

  • how to fix issues with your settings
  • when a new version update is available.

When COVIDSafe is not active, you will receive a notification on how to make it active again.

The notifications make sure your app is working effectively and help you address technical issues, quickly and easily. The notification will vary depending on the issue you need to fix.

The notifications will guide you through a simple troubleshooting process to resolve technical issues. You will also receive a reminder to update the app when a new version is available.

Read the privacy policy for information on diagnostic information collected by the app.

Notifications for iOS

'COVIDSafe update available

Update your app to access the latest improvements.'

  • If a new version update for COVIDSafe is available
  • If you are not running the latest version of COVIDSafe.

'Improve the performance of COVIDSafe

Open the app and check your internet connection or mobile data.'

  • If your device is not connected to the internet
  • If the app has crashed or is closed.

'COVIDSafe is not active

Open the app to check your settings.'

  • If your Bluetooth is not on.

Notifications for Android

'COVIDSafe update available

Update your app to access the latest improvements.'

  • If a new version update for COVIDSafe is available
  • If you are not running the latest version of COVIDSafe.

'Improve the performance of COVIDSafe

Open the app and check your internet connection or mobile data.'

  • If your device is not connected to the internet
  • If the app has crashed or is closed.

'COVIDSafe is not active

Turn on Bluetooth for COVIDSafe to work.'

  • If your Bluetooth is not on.

'COVIDSafe is not active

Allow Location permissions for Bluetooth to work.'

  • If Location permissions are not enabled for Android.

'COVIDSafe is not active

Disable Battery optimisation for COVIDSafe to work.'

  • If Battery optimisation is enabled on your Android device.

'COVIDSafe is not active

Open the app and check your settings.'

  • If there are multiple issues with permissions.

'COVIDSafe is active

Keep COVIDSafe active when you leave home or are in public places.'

  • COVIDSafe is working correctly.

Most issues on the app are resolved by updating to the latest version:

To check your current app version:

  1. Open the app Home screen.
  2. Scroll to the bottom.
  3. It should show:
    • 'Version 2.XX' for iOS
    • 'Version number: 2.XX' for Android.

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'.

Once you change your app store settings, all apps on your phone will update automatically. This will ensure you always have the latest version of the app.

Common issues

COVIDSafe won’t work if Bluetooth is turned off. You need to make sure you have Bluetooth on when you leave your home or are interacting with people in your home or elsewhere.

We are aware that the way COVIDSafe operates may interfere with 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:

If you continue to experience problems with Bluetooth, contact our support team at

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.

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 version10 or above of iOS.

You cannot use COVIDSafe on any other wearable technology.

Bluetooth device name

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.

We ran tests on battery consumption. We found that battery use is only slightly greater with the app running. The Herald version of COVIDSafe consumes between 1% to 2% per hour on average, depending on the age of the phone, the number of app users who are close to you, and your phone’s battery capacity.

Other factors than can affect battery consumption include:

  • temperature and size of battery
  • screen brightness and how long the display is open
  • connections to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location services
  • apps you have open at the same time
  • apps you have running while in background (phone locked and screen display off)
  • the type of apps you use
  • if you use the vibration feature.

The Herald update introduces increased effectiveness of capturing close contacts between users. This update means COVIDSafe is actively recording Bluetooth interactions called ‘handshakes’ more often, which can lead to increased battery use in some cases.

To help you manage your battery use better, we recommend to:

  • prepare to charge your battery more often if you’re expecting to be around people throughout the week
  • use adaptive brightness from the settings on your device
  • close or delete unused apps
  • use your phone’s device optimisation features
  • restart your phone to clear the cache
  • review battery usage of apps every now and then.

For Android devices, restrict battery use in background for apps you don’t use regularly. Contact your device manufacturer or mobile provider for instructions. Read more on Google’s advice on battery use.

For iOS, open Background App Refresh and turn off other apps you are not using regularly:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select ‘General’.
  3. Select ‘Background App Refresh’.

COVIDSafe will not work if battery optimisation is enabled. In some devices this is called 'Battery Saver' or 'Low Power Mode'.

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.

If you still have issues after following the instructions, you may need to contact your device manufacturer or mobile provider for advice.

Setting up the app

Download the latest version:

The minimum requirements for COVIDSafe to work are:

  • Android – Android 5.1 (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 old a phone can be for reasons such as security and Bluetooth® capability. If you have any issues, your mobile manufacturer or provider may be able to provide support.

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

The app is available to both Australian and international Apple App Store or Google Play Store accounts. International visitors to Australia can download COVIDSafe while overseas, and register using an international phone number when they arrive in Australia.

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, functionality and app performance.

Register using your chosen name (or pseudonym), mobile phone number, age range and postcode.

You can use international roaming or overseas mobile phone numbers to request and verify your PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Note: Registration will only work when you are located in Australia.

If you have moved to a different state or territory, you can change your registered postcode. This ensures health officials in your state or territory can contact you and properly manage your case if you test positive.

To change your postcode:

  1. From the app, go to Settings.
  2. Select 'Change your postcode'.
  3. Enter your new postcode then select 'Continue'.

To change your other registration information (phone number or name), you can uninstall COVIDSafe, download it, and then register again. Read more on what happens when you uninstall the app.

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’re not in the process of registering for COVIDSafe, please ignore the message. This may be a case of another user entering their phone number wrong and inadvertently sending the verification PIN to your device.

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

Please register again

If there’s an issue with your registration details, the system updates the app with an automatic fix. For some cases, you may see a message on the home screen asking you to register again.

From the home screen:

  1. Tap on 'Please register again'.
  2. Complete the registration process.
  3. Verify your mobile number.
  4. Tap 'Submit'.

Your previously recorded Bluetooth handshakes are retained after you complete this registration.

For COVIDSafe to work:

If you did not set the right permissions and settings, your app home screen will show ‘COVIDSafe is not active’. Notifications help you to identify and troubleshoot issues with your app, and advise you on how to fix them.

Read the guidelines on how to check if COVIDSafe is working correctly.

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.

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

View other COVIDSafe resources for languages other than English.

If you are outside Australia you can install the COVIDSafe app on your device, but you will not be able to complete the registration process within the app until you arrive in Australia.

If you visit Australia, and are using roaming data on a non-Australian SIM card, this may prevent you from being able to register. We suggest connecting to a local Wi-Fi service in Australia when registering the app. Once the app is registered, it will work effectively on an Australian or non-Australian SIM card.

Note that any contact information recorded on your phone is automatically deleted after 21 days.

Removing COVIDSafe

You can delete COVIDSafe from your phone at any time. This will delete all app information on your phone.

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 Department of Health 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 formNote: 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.

Improved COVIDSafe with Herald Protocol

COVIDSafe has been updated to better detect your close contacts, especially on iOS devices when your app is in the background. It now uses new Bluetooth technology called the Herald Protocol.

The Herald update is available to:

  • new users who download and register to use the app
  • users who update the app from their previous version.

With Herald, COVIDSafe remains compatible with the same minimum mobile OS and phone requirements. Results from testing shows minimal battery consumption when using the app.

This update ensures that COVIDSafe is effective at capturing close contacts with other app users who are near you. When you download or use the Herald version of COVIDSafe, the app will appear the same to you.

With Herald, we will not collect any new information from you, or use your information in a different way than we do with COVIDSafe now. You can find out more about how we handle your information in the COVIDSafe privacy policy.

Herald provides reliable Bluetooth communication across a wide range of devices. It does this in three ways:

  • If you have an iOS device with COVIDSafe in the background, Herald can use a nearby Android device to act as a messenger and help find other iOS devices with COVIDSafe in the background. This means all users can record all close contacts in the same area.
  • Herald improves the app’s ability to capture digital handshakes by continuously exchanging the information about the distance between contacts while users are near each other. This keeps COVIDSafe active on iOS devices for longer.
  • Location services become active when you use your phone or are looking at your screen. When your iPhone starts Location Services, and lets COVIDSafe know that it has done this, it wakes COVIDSafe up so that it can capture close contacts. COVIDSafe does NOT capture or record your location.

You will need to give COVIDSafe permission to access Location Services on your device. This will ensure that COVIDSafe is effective at capturing close contacts who have the app and are near you. Again, your location will not be tracked or recorded.

If you are an existing Android user, you have already provided COVIDSafe with access to Location Services, because it is Google’s technical requirement for apps that use Bluetooth.

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, when you update or install COVIDSafe, it will ask you to let COVIDSafe access Location Services.

Read more about the Herald Protocol project.

The app requests access to Location Services only because of technical requirements. This is to ensure COVIDSafe can use Bluetooth properly and maximise the close contacts your app can record.

Please note that:

  • COVIDSafe does NOT store or use any location or GPS data.
  • Your location will NOT be tracked or recorded.

In the Herald update of COVIDSafe, Location Services are used to wake up iPhone devices when they are in background mode. This improves the performance of the app in detecting close contacts between users.

For iOS COVIDSafe users, the app will request access to Location Services. Your iOS device needs to provide Location permission to COVIDSafe for Herald to work as effectively as possible.

For iOS 14.X and above, you may receive a pop-up notification saying:

'COVIDSafe has used your location X times in the background over the past X days. Do you want to continue to allow background location use?'

To ensure COVIDSafe works correctly, select 'Always Allow'. Location Services is used to optimise COVIDSafe performance.

Existing Android app users have already provided COVIDSafe with access to Location Services. This is a technical requirement from Google for apps that use Bluetooth.

Read more on why Google requires Location permission for Android apps to access Bluetooth.

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 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.

More information on COVIDSafe

Read Background to COVIDSafe for more information, including: