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HSE says fix to stop Covid Tracker app draining batteries has been rolled out to 70% of Irish Android phones

The HSE said that 45,000 people reinstalled the app in the last few days.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE HSE HAS said that an update has been rolled out to 70% of Android phones, which is expected to fix a problem that lead to the government’s Covid Tracker app draining and overheating Android phones’ batteries.

Thousands of Android users have uninstalled the app over the past few days as a result, but the HSE said today that 45,000 people have reinstalled the app in the last few days, and are urging others to do the same.

Over the weekend, the HSE were notified by some people with Android phones that their batteries were running down quicker than usual, and overheating in some cases.

Android is an operating system used on non-Apple smartphones, eg, Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus phones. iOS is the operating system used on iPhones.

The HSE worked with Google and the Irish developers of the Covid-19 Tracker app Nearform over the weekend to fix the problem.

By Sunday, the issue was found to be related to the Exposure Notification System getting stuck in a loop when processing the Random IDs, and an update to Google Play services was needed to resolve this issue.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie on Sunday, the HSE said that Google would release an update to Play services in the following 24 hours, which has since seemed to fix the issue.

In an updated statement released today, the HSE said that Google informed the HSE yesterday that approximately 70% of Irish Android phones have been updated and the remaining phones should be updated over the next few days.

The HSE added that 131,000 people have uninstalled the app, “but we have already seen over 45,000 people with Android phones install the app over the last few days”.

This compares with the figure given on Sunday of 86,000 people uninstalling and not re-installed the app, out of a total of 780,000 Android phones with the Covid Tracker app.

We would encourage anyone who uninstalled the app at the weekend to download it again this week.
Uninstalling the app does not delete any close contacts that were recorded on the phone in the last 14 days.

“We apologise to anyone that experienced any problems over the weekend.”

The HSE said that additional measures have been implemented to improve the resilience of the Exposure Notifications System so that this issue will not happen again.

A total of 1.45 million people have downloaded the Covid Tracker app since its launch last month, with over 100 people contacted as close contacts through the app.

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