The Covid-19 app is finally here!

By | September 28, 2020

After months of waiting and testing and tweaking, the official Covid-19 app for England and Wales was finally released last week.  It might have taken a while, but it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job of it in the end.

So I’ve got a couple of things to say about the app:

Thing 1: If you’re going out at the moment, and you have a smartphone, please do put the app on your phone

The thing with this contact tracing app is that it will only actually do any good if a decent chunk of the population use it.  So I really do recommend putting it on your phone if you can:

  1. You can use the app on any Android phone running Android 6.0 or newer, or an iPhone running iOS 13 or 14 (that’s anything from the iPhone 7 onwards).  If your phone’s older than that, you won’t be able to run the app, unfortunately.
  2. It’s free to download from the Play Store on an Android or the App Store on an iPhone.  It’s called “NHS COVID-19”.
  3. Once you’ve installed it, it does need to connect to the internet sometimes, but all the major phone companies have agreed to make this free – it won’t use up your mobile data allowance.
  4. The app won’t ask you for any personal details – all you need to type in is the first part of your postcode.

Thing 2: The app lets you quickly “check in” to cafes, pubs and restaurants – hurray!

As well as the automatic contact tracing that the app does, you can use it to quickly register a visit to somewhere.  So rather than having to give the venue your details, you can just check in by scanning an official NHS QR code.  There are a few differences between this and the process I told you about last week, though:

  1. If you scan a QR code to enter your contact details (like I told you about last week), only one person in your party needs to do it.  They type their details into a website and say how many people were with them.  Checking in with the app has to be done by each person in the party.
  2. To check in that way, you need to open your Covid-19 app and tap “Venue check-in”, rather than scanning the QR code with your phone’s camera.
  3. Checking in with the app is really quick though.  You don’t have to put in any personal details – you literally just scan the QR code and job’s a good’n.  Then if you need to be contacted, you’ll get an alert on the app rather than a phone call.

I used the venue check in last week when I stopped for a coffee and it works really well.  It’s actually a surprisingly well-designed app – wonders never cease!  You don’t have to do it that way though, if you either don’t want to or are struggling to get it to work.  You can still just give the venue your contact details if you prefer.

But moving on, I’ve also got a few quick things to say about the internet security course while I’m here:

A rather unusual guarantee

The course has a rather unusual guarantee:  “If at any time in the 12 months after you join the course you decide you’re not happy with it, contact us (phone or email is best but anything short of a carrier pigeon will do) and we’ll refund you in full.”

That way you get to join without worrying “But what if it’s no good for me?” because if it turns out that it doesn’t suit you, just let us know.    

Your free bonus ebook – Internet Security Myth Buster

You know how there are some “urban myths” that do the rounds that just aren’t true?  Well, internet security is no different – and some of the myths are no more sensible than faked Moon landings and lizards running the government.  

Some of the myths aren’t particularly dangerous – they just make you worry for no reason.  Others could actually cause you problems.   Either way, it’s better if you know what the truth of the matter is!  So we’ve put together a little ebook to go with the Avoid fraud, scams and internet nasties course that separates all rumours from reality.

And it’s yours to keep even if you decide the course isn’t for you after all – all you need to do is download the book to your computer, then you can read it on screen or print it out (whichever you prefer).

Read the full information and see how to join here.  Remember that the course closes for new enrolments at the end of this week – so why not have a look now if you think you might find it helpful.

PS It’s always good to hear from people who are actually using our books and courses – to see how they’re getting on with them.  So if you’ve already joined the course, feel free to let us know what you think (the simplest way is to click on this link and leave us a comment).  If you haven’t joined, maybe it’s worth a look?

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