NHS Covid app not working

On further reflection, I find that I can no longer recommend the /e/ operating system due to this deeply irresponsible action and I would like the fairphone company to reconsider their partnership with a developer who is so reckless and puts its users at physical risk.

I have contact with vulnerable people and I don’t know when the covid app stopped working.


Have you contacted Fairphone ?

I switched away from /e/ to Lineage microG for the same reason. The /e/ team really prioritized the people spreading FUD about exposure notifications “being bad for your privacy” over people’s health and safety, causing lots of preventable problems:

The worst part? It works fine on microG, microG will give you a notification telling you exactly that: that you need to enable exposure notifications if you want it. The /e/ team literally broke exposure notifications just to satisfy misinformed people spreading FUD…

It has never stopped working. It was like the current status from the beginning.

That is wrong. They silently broke it on an update: NHS Covid app not working - #7 by TheLastProject

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I can confirm that it worked on both my phone and my spouse’s phone for months until it didn’t.

I don’t quite understand the issue, I downloaded the Corona Contact Tracing Germany app and it works like a charm, it’s also compatible with other corona apps, and has worked for me in Germany, Denmark, and Norway. A friend of mine in the UK also has it, and he says it works like a charm.

On the webpage, you can see if it works in your country, and its an open-source app.

Are you using /e/ OS and allowed for the API as in ~ wait for it do you have /e/ with microG added for example

“Corona Contact Tracing Germany” is a fork of the official “Corona-Warn-App” with microG Exposure Notifications included as a library. It doesn’t need the system library. So no, it won’t be affected.

I’m new to the community, so I guess my basic question is whether I ought to take issue with the fact that my app is working.

And if not, then my question is whether the German fork is a viable alternative to the NHS app or not.

If it is, then I don’t see why I should take issue with /e/'s decision.

/e/ silently broke every single official contact tracing app for people who explicitly opted in to use contact tracing.

The reason “Corona Contact Tracing Germany” is not affected (as the only app) is because volunteers put a lot of work into that specific app to make it not require the system’s exposure notifications framework.

I personally do take issue with the fact that /e/ silently broke this in a way that caused me and @les_h to unknowingly not get exposure notifications for multiple weeks despite having gone through extra work to activate it on /e/OS. And that /e/OS did not find silently breaking notifications for a pandemic a problem big enough to delay a new release or make clear that this was going to happen on upgrading.


The first thing I tried when I found the NHS app was broken, was uninstall it and then re-install it. I did not get any warnings this would fail. Nothing pointed me at the german app.

Completely inviable work-arounds are not a solution. and suggesting they are is wilfully obtuse.

This isn’t a pokemon app. Britain is a complete basket case with covid right now. People are still dying of this. Maybe the people I’ve unknowing put at risk are somebody you care about. Imagine that their lives matter as much as yours.

It’s not easy to find any of this out. Calling the OS /e/ is cute, but it’s bloody difficult to even find their forums with a search engine because they are literally just the most used letter in the alphabet instead of a word that one can search for. Frankly, even if it was the top search engine result that still wouldn’t be good enough. It would not make up for quietly breaking track and trace apps.

This is literally life and death. I’m very glad for you if you have obscure knowledge of the entire ecosystem of track and trace apps. That shouldn’t be required.

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Just keep in mind that this a community forum of Fairphone user, so we hardly have influence on Fairphone decisions and have zero influence on /e/ decisions. So if you feel Fairphone has to take action (not sure that they have much influence, as /e/ OS is not made for Fairphone) you should contact Fairphone about this.


They had a problem with an earlier update already.
Back then they made it clear in the release notes … but how to point affected users to this? I agree there is a huge problem with communication in such cases.
I think they are missing a possibility to display a big fat red warning about such things in the Updater when needed, it would come in handy occasionally.

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Why not just add a little “Update installed” app that starts on boot and creates a notification with important things to know. It would then just save a value that would let it know on other boots to not show anything. Would be easy to create too.

This doesn’t help when they need the user to better do something before the update, as back then with the update to 0.14.
Well, the issue was fixable after the update back then, but better safe than sorry.

You’re right, showing the release notes or other important info after updating can’t hurt as well.

Reading this topic from /e/'s forum (microG - What you need to know, A conversation with its developer : Marvin Wißfeld - #2 by dalas.revo - /e/ Developers Blog - /e/ community) I get the impression that they haven’t implemented their own version of the MicroG corona framework.

So if they took down support, as opposed to not having implemented it in the first place, then they probably ran into some coding issue.

Couldn’t it just be that they don’t have the capacity to finish that issue at the moment? Also, they are looking for volunteers and people to help work on /e/, and this seems to be an issue where they need to work on a new way of communicating clearly to their users what they’re working on. And also transparency with regards to bottlenecks.

It was /e/'s decision to bring that extra work towards them. microG had exposure notification support for a while. /e/ delayed supporting corona apps for several months while they worked to extract the exposure notifications part out of microG into an “extension” app to cater to some paranoid users who insisted exposure notifications are a privacy hazard (even in an open source application where you have to explicitly turn it on).

After that was done, you had to go through a lot of manual steps to use it, instead of just clicking OK in a dialog box. All corona apps just failed with weird errors with no way as a regular user to know this is what you had to do to make them work.

And then, both in release 0.14 and 0.17 (of which they didn’t even put it in the changelog) they broke all exposure notification apps silently. I only found out when I opened the Dutch app and found out it hadn’t been tracking for weeks.

So, summarizing:

This did go through the trouble of splitting microG and microG’s Exposure Notifications code into its own app.

They never took down support, as you can see, you can still install it. They just silently broke it on a minor OS version upgrade without telling anyone

I am normally totally understanding about having limited capacity, especially in Open Source projects. But I have no patience in this specific situation, because they chose to spend months on reimplementing something that already existed, was open source and worked fine. If they wouldn’t have the capacity to undertake something like that, it is their own irresponsibility to having started it in the first place and they are knowingly playing games with their users’ health by choosing to not revert to regular upstream microG where everything just works.


Thanks for the detailed answer, I now understand the issue a bit better. Seems like I’ll have to do some reading and figure out whether to change my os.

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