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iPhone 12 Upgrades Interfering With COVID-19 Contact-Tracing App Notifications, How to Fix

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Apr 12, 2001
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Some iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro users in the UK have reported that their new devices are recieving an error message in the "NHS COVID-19" contact-tracing app, rendering it unusable (via BBC News).

'Unfortunately, You Can't Run This App'



Similar errors and issues have been reported in other regions contact tracing apps that also use Apple's Exposure Notification API. The error appears to occur when apps are transferred from an older iPhone using an iCloud Backup data transfer. To rectify the issue, UK users are being encouraged to do the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Notifications.
  3. Tap on Exposure Notifications.
  4. Turn on the Allow Notifications option.

Users in other countries may simply have to re-launch their contact tracing app to re-enable the permission, or follow the same procedure above.

The issue seems to be caused by iOS not asking users to enable the Allow Notifications permission when transferring to a new device, and it is not clear that this needs to be done. Consequently, the contact-tracing app cannot enable the Bluetooth-based technology it requires to function correctly.

While simply deleting and reinstalling the app seems to resolve the issue, this is not recommended. A fresh install prompts the exposure notification to appear again, however, this method wipes all information previously gathered by the app, including all venues that users had checked in to, so it is not advisable unless the initial fix does not work.

To verify your history of exposure notification locations, go to Settings -> Exposure Notifications -> Exposure Logging Status -> Exposure Checks.

Matters have been confused further by the fact that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro have not yet been included in the NHS's list of compatible devices.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro should in fact be capable of running England and Wales' contact-tracing software, which uses the Apple and Google Exposure Notification API. Around 18 million Brits have installed the NHS COVID-19 app so far.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: iPhone 12 Upgrades Interfering With COVID-19 Contact-Tracing App Notifications, How to Fix
 
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polyphenol

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2020
393
470
Wales
Looking forward to my 12 Pro - on my 6s Exposure Notifications is often between 12 and 55% of battery usage. Add to that another 1 to 5% for the NHS COVID-19 app itself.

The app is also telling me that the risk level is HIGH. Despite just four new cases in my county today (only one yesterday). I guess this is simply because the whole of the country is in a 17 day lockdown. Not any change to actual risk. (With the lockdown in force, risk has almost certainly gone down.)

And the mechanism for scanning QR codes seems to have very limited utility. If I went to a cafe, I'd have to give them my name and phone number even if I scan the QR code.
 
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eastwoodandy

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2016
120
65
Nottingham, England
Doesn’t just happen when transferring from older phones and not only from iCloud backups.

I recently restored my phone from its backup to try and resolve the map issue with Watch workouts. Same problem with the contract tracing app warning. This was from a local backup, not iCloud, and to the same phone as the original backup.
 
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DeanLubaki

Contributor
May 29, 2014
1,066
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Toronto
The issue is not due to the apps.
It’s due to the fact that Exposure Notifications settings in iOS need to be re-enabled manually when restoring the data of a previous iPhone to a new one.
Huge oversight from Apple, especially because users are not notified.
I found out randomly on Friday that the exposure notifications were turned off while playing with the settings.
 
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Onelifenofear

macrumors 6502
Feb 20, 2019
301
581
London
On newer iPhones seem to have a much smaller impact, maybe newer Bluetooth chips are more energy efficient. For example in my case it’s 2%, so quite negligible.

Or that the Conservatives gave the millions in contract money to their friends and family to run it (rather than Actual competent coders. It’s a shambles.
 
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GadgetBen

macrumors 68000
Jul 8, 2015
1,588
2,975
London
This is sheer stupidity from a developer point of view. You couldn't have a more poorly designed and badly descriptive error message for this type of situation.

Error messages are so easy to program. It's text which takes minutes to code. This is such a cheap default message that probably deals with multiple errors.
 
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hot-gril

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2020
904
801
Northern California, USA
This is sheer stupidity from a developer point of view. You couldn't have a more poorly designed and badly descriptive error message for this type of situation.

Error messages are so easy to program. It's text which takes minutes to code. This is such a cheap default message that probably deals with multiple errors.
I'll bet someone got lazy and put a big `catch` somewhere high up. Maybe jailbreak detectors are also in use.

P.S. Originally somehow this message quoted the wrong post.
 
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DeanLubaki

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May 29, 2014
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While simply deleting and reinstalling the app seems to resolve the issue, this is not recommended. A fresh install prompts the exposure notification to appear again, however, this method wipes all information previously gathered by the app, including all venues that users had checked in to, so it is not advisableunless the initial fix does not work.

mmm I don’t think this is accurate. The exposure log is not backed up, so if restoring from a backup (which is the cause of th issue), then there will be already no data.
 
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DeanLubaki

Contributor
May 29, 2014
1,066
989
Toronto
What do you expect from government run software development? Lol people are hilarious to even trust this stuff

The problem is Apple, though. The settings are not backed up properly. Exposure Notification apps are supposed to be "set and forgotten". When I restore my phone backup, I don't have to reopen all 150 apps to re-accept permissions that were already granted on my previous phone.
 
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hagar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
881
1,786
What do you expect from government run software development? Lol people are hilarious to even trust this stuff
You do realise your comment is complete nonsense?

1) It’s Apple and Google who jointly took the initiative to realise the API, not any government.
2) they open sourced the code so you can verify it in case you don’t trust it.
3) most governments that implemented country specific apps on top of said API also open sourced their code, including the NHS.
 
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MikeZTM

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2019
318
135
New Jersey, USA
This is iOS recovery's old issue since it started.
The new device have a new push token (address of the device) while it can never ask each app to refresh the token they have on their servers.

I think they should just reset the permission for all apps so they can have a chance to grab new token and send it to its server.
 
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eastwoodandy

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2016
120
65
Nottingham, England
This is iOS recovery's old issue since it started.
The new device have a new push token (address of the device) while it can never ask each app to refresh the token they have on their servers.

I think they should just reset the permission for all apps so they can have a chance to grab new token and send it to its server.
Well it happened for me restoring a local iOS backup onto the exact same phone, not a new or different phone.
 
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firestarter

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2002
5,504
133
Green and pleasant land
Is this a Apple issue or NHS App as it uses Apples API?

Both.

Apple's issue, since you'd enabled the use of the API on your old phone, but Apple defaults the notifications to 'off' on your new phone when you restore.

NHS App's issue, since the error message isn't very helpful, so it's difficult to work out what's up.
 
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