COVIDSafe was developed by the Australian Government to help keep the community safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). Together, let’s help stop the spread and keep ourselves and each other healthy.
COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth® technology on your mobile phone to look for other devices with COVIDSafe installed. Your device will take note of contact you’ve had with other users by securely logging their reference code. If you or someone you’ve been in contact with is diagnosed with coronavirus, the close contact information securely stored in your phone can be uploaded and used—with your consent—by state or territory health officials to quickly trace people who’ve been exposed to the virus.
The app will help keep you, your family and your community safe from further spread of coronavirus through early notification of possible exposure.
COVIDSafe is one of the tools we'll use to help protect the health of the community by quickly alerting people who may be at risk of having contact with the virus.
Use of COVIDSafe will allow us to lift restrictions earlier than would otherwise be possible.
COVIDSafe will allow state or territory health officials to tell you if you have come into close contact with someone who is diagnosed with coronavirus.
If you are diagnosed with coronavirus, the app will assist state or territory health officials to notify people you’ve been in close contact with so they can self-isolate and get tested. This will speed up current manual processes and make it quicker to stop the spread of the virus, particularly if restrictions are eased.
The app operates on a person’s phone as they go about their day. It securely logs the encrypted reference codes of devices of other people who are using the app who have been in close proximity to you.
The close contact information can only be accessed by state or territory health officials if there has been a positive case to help alert those who may need to be tested.
Users can voluntarily download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The user registers to use the app by entering a name, age range, mobile number and postcode and will receive a confirmation SMS text message to complete the installation of the app. On the basis of this information, an encrypted reference code is generated for the app on that phone.
COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth® to look for other devices that have the app installed. It takes a note of a contact when it occurs, by securely logging the other user’s encrypted reference code. The date, time and proximity of the contact are generated on the user’s phone, and the phone model is also noted. This information is then securely encrypted and stored on the phone. Your location is not recorded.
This information is securely encrypted and stored on the phone.
The app uses a rolling 21-day window to allow for the maximum 14-day incubation period of the coronavirus, and the time taken to confirm a positive test result. The rolling 21-day window allows the app to continuously note only those user contacts that occur during the coronavirus incubation window. Contacts that occurred outside of the 21-day window are automatically deleted from the user’s phone.
The encrypted close contact information on your phone is not accessible by anyone, including you. If you are diagnosed with the virus, you will be asked to consent to upload your close contact information to a highly secure information storage system. The uploaded information enables state or territory health officials to contact the user and close contacts to provide advice on actions they should take to manage their health.
This cycle continues if a user of the app who was a close contact subsequently tests positive.
COVIDSafe can be downloaded and used by anyone who has an Australian mobile number and a Bluetooth®-equipped Android or iOS smartphone. You need to be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data to download the app, but Wi-Fi is not needed for the app to work.
Check the minimum requirements for COVIDSafe to work.
Information collected by COVIDSafe that is uploaded to the highly secure information storage system will only be accessed by state or territory health officials once a user has a positive diagnosis. This positive diagnosis must be verified by state or territory health officials.
The approximate distance and duration for a close contact is 1.5 metres for 15 minutes or more.
When two or more app users come into close proximity their phones exchange Bluetooth® signals and make a series of ‘digital handshakes’.
The app notes the encrypted information held on your phone (reference code, date, time and proximity of two users) through the strength of the Bluetooth® signals. This allows the approximate distance between the users and the duration the contact occurred to be determined once the information is uploaded to the highly secure information storage system.
The proximity for a close contact is approximately 1.5 metres, for a period of 15 minutes or more.
To be effective, COVIDSafe should be active on your phone whenever you are coming into contact with people.
COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth® received signal strength indicator (RSSI) values to measure the signal strength between devices. Calibrated RSSI values are used to estimate the approximate distance between users during an encounter.
COVIDSafe estimates the approximate duration of an encounter between two users to determine whether a user has had probable exposure to coronavirus.
No. This will operate in the same way as existing contact processes run by state or territory health officials.
A phone call will be made to users who have had close contact with another user once that user is diagnosed with coronavirus. This phone call will be made by a state or territory health official.
Close contact information is only available to state or territory health officials once a user is confirmed as coronavirus positive, and the user consents to securely upload the information stored on their phone.
These calls will only be made for close contacts that have occurred within the 21 days before the information is uploaded. This early notification allows users to quickly self-isolate and seek medical attention.
The average incubation period for someone who contracts the coronavirus is typically 5 to 6 days. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently estimates that the incubation period can be up to 14 days.
The app uses a rolling 21-day window to allow for the maximum 14-day incubation period, and the time taken to confirm a positive test result.
The rolling 21-day window allows the app to continuously monitor only those user contacts that occur during the coronavirus incubation window.
Contacts that occurred outside of the 21-day window are automatically deleted from the user’s phone.
If a person tests positive to coronavirus and they are a COVIDSafe user, and your device noted that you were in close proximity to them recently, you may be contacted on the mobile number you registered with COVIDSafe, alerting you to the potential exposure.
If you believe you have come into contact with a person who has tested positive but you haven't been contacted, the recommendation is to self-isolate, monitor your own health, and take care.
Find out if you need to get tested by using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom checker.
Follow the guidelines on self-isolation.
If you test positive for coronavirus, a state or territory health official in your state or territory will contact you. You will be asked to voluntarily upload your close contact information to the secure server. This will help state or territory officials identify people who may have had close contact with you. Doing so is a crucial part of alerting others who may be at risk and could save lives.
Receiving early notification that you may have been exposed to coronavirus means you can be tested or go into self-isolation so your health and the health of others is protected.
Without the assistance of technology, finding people who may have been exposed to the virus relies on people being able to recall who they have been around and knowing the details of every individual they have been in close contact with. In many cases, you won't know the names and contact details of everyone you've been in close contact with (for example, on public transport).
The app uses technology to make this process faster and more accurate. It was developed to ensure your information and privacy is strictly protected.
No. Its use is entirely voluntary, but using it will help save lives.
You can delete the app from your phone at any time. This will delete all the app information from your phone.
At the end of the Australian pandemic, 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.
No. Use of the app is voluntary.
To further strengthen the app’s privacy arrangements the Minister for Health made a Determination under the Biosecurity Act to protect people’s privacy and restrict access to app information to state or territory health officials for contact tracing purposes only.
Under that Determination, it will be a criminal offence to use any app data in any other way. It will also be a criminal offence for someone to be refused to enter a premises, participate in an event or receive a service for failing to use the app.
The Australian Government is proposing to introduce legislation to the Parliament when it resumes in May that will enshrine these principles into law.
The app only uses the information needed to alert close contacts and allow state or territory health officials to make contact with them.
This information is only the encrypted reference code, date, time and proximity of contacts.
At registration, the user provides a name, age range, phone number and postcode, which generates an encrypted code.
All information collected by the app is encrypted and stored within the app on the phone. Users cannot access this information stored on their phone.
If you delete the app from your phone, this will also delete all the app information from your phone.
The close contact information on the phone is not accessible by anyone, unless you are diagnosed with coronavirus and you consent to upload the contact information to a secure information storage system.
Information collected by the app includes:
• Registration information: a name, mobile phone number, age range and post code.
• Close contact information: encrypted reference code, date and time, proximity and duration of contact.
• App logs: app performance, troubleshooting and error data.
COVIDSafe does not collect data on your location or your movements.
A mobile number is needed to activate an account and to allow state or territory health officials to contact you if they need to.
You can only use Australian mobile phone numbers starting with '04' containing 10 digits.
For example, '041234567X'.
If you are diagnosed as positive for coronavirus as a registered COVIDSafe user, a state or territory health official will contact you to request voluntary upload of your information.
The name you registered with will be used during the call to verify you are the owner of the mobile number. You do not need to give your real name if you prefer not to.
The postcode you enter upon registration will be used to ensure the health official is from your state or territory.
No. All information that is stored on the phone is digitally encrypted and cannot be accessed or viewed by any users or state or territory health officials.
Contact information older than 21 days on your phone is automatically deleted.
Yes. You always have the choice about whether to share your information if you are identified as a confirmed case. Remember though that uploading your information could help save lives and keep others in the community safe.
The app is community-driven. If app users who are diagnosed with coronavirus submit their app information when asked, it will help to protect others in the community who may have also been exposed to coronavirus.
No. It does not record an individual’s location or movements. The app only notes that a close contact occurred to allow state or territory health officials to contact those users to enable them to quickly self-isolate and seek medical attention.
The app cannot be used to enforce quarantine or isolation restrictions or any other laws.
Commonwealth and state or territory law enforcement agencies will not be allowed to access any information from the app, unless investigating misuse of that information itself.
The information you provide to register for COVIDSafe (a name, your mobile phone number and your postcode) is stored in a highly secure information storage system hosted in Australia. The storage system is geo-locked, meaning the information cannot be taken out of Australia.
Your close contact information is stored on your mobile phone. This information is encrypted on your phone and cannot be accessed or viewed by anyone, including you.
If you are diagnosed with coronavirus, you'll be asked by a state or territory health official to consent to upload your close contact information to the secure information storage system.
State or territory health officials can only use information from the secure information storage system for the purposes of contacting people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. They will only have access to contact information for people in their state or territory.
The information contained on the secure information storage system will be completely deleted at the end of the pandemic.
If you change your mind after you've consented to upload your information to the secure information storage system, you can request for that information to be deleted. However, deleting your close contact information means that it can no longer by used by state or territory health officials to help people who may have been exposed.
The close contact information that is stored on your mobile phone is captured in a 21-day rolling window. This 21-day window allows the app to continuously note only close contact with other users that occur during the virus incubation period and the time it takes to confirm a positive test. Close contact that occurs outside of the 21-day window are automatically deleted from your phone.
You can delete COVIDSafe from your phone at any time. Deleting the app will also delete all close contact information from your phone. When the Australian pandemic ends you will be prompted to delete the app from your phone.
The Minister for Health has issued a Determination under the Biosecurity Act to protect people’s privacy and restrict access to COVIDSafe information to state or territory health officials for contact tracing.
It will be a criminal offence to use any app information in any other way.
Other agencies, including law enforcement, will not be able to access the information unless investigating misuse of that information itself.
The Australian Government is proposing to introduce legislation to the Parliament when it resumes in May that will enshrine these principles into law.
The app also has a range of privacy and security safeguards built in, including no collection of geolocation data and secure encryption.
An independently developed Privacy Impact Assessment detailing the app’s compliance with the Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles has been made publicly available.
Children can download and use the COVIDSafe app.
The Government expects parents and guardians will provide the same care and guidance to their children with respect to the COVIDSafe app as they do when their children download any other app. It is important for parents to talk to their children about the app and how it works.
When a person under the age of 16 downloads the app, they will be prompted when they enter their age to confirm they have the consent of their parent or guardian before they proceed.
If a child tests positive to COVID-19 and is running the app on their device, the relevant state or territory health official will seek the consent of the child’s parent or guardian before the information is uploaded to the secure information storage system.
If a child is contacted by the relevant state or territory health official because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the health official will ask to speak to the child’s parent, guardian or another responsible adult before providing the necessary information and advice.
COVIDSafe is a separate new app. Its sole purpose is to improve the ability of state or territory health official to quickly alert and contain coronavirus outbreaks in the community.
The Australian Government 'Coronavirus Australia' app and WhatsApp services are information services. They were developed to ensure the community has access to timely and accurate information about coronavirus.
COVIDSafe is the only contact app that has been developed by the Australian Government Department of Health to ensure your information and privacy are protected.
Other contact apps do not have the support of the Australian Government.
No. COVIDSafe only collects information about interactions with other COVIDSafe users. COVIDSafe does not collect or use physical location data (for example, GPS, Wi-Fi fingerprinting and cell ID). It only notes proximity to another COVIDSafe user via Bluetooth®.
Android/Google requires all apps that request access to Bluetooth® to also obtain location permission. As a result, COVIDSafe on Android asks for location permissions because they are needed for Bluetooth® permissions. COVIDSafe does not store or use location data on Android.
For more information, read the Android developer guide.
For Android, you cannot download COVIDSafe if your Google Play account is set to an overseas location. Please refer to Google Play guidelines if the Play Store won’t open, load or download apps.
You may be able to create a new Google Play account with a different email address. Please refer to Google’s support documentation to decide if this is right for you.
For iOS, if your Apple account is set to an overseas location, you will not be able to find COVIDSafe from the Apple App Store.
The app was developed to help Australians stop the spread of coronavirus. To download it, you need an Australian app account and Australian mobile number to download and install the app. We are aware this impacts some Australians and we are exploring options to make sure as many Australians as possible can download and use COVIDSafe.
Most issues on the app are resolved by updating to the latest version.
You can choose to automatically update COVIDSafe when a new version is available by checking your app store settings:
For Android, open Google Play Store and go to 'Settings', then select 'Auto-update apps'.
For iOS, go to 'Settings', select 'iTunes & App Store' then enable 'App Updates’.
This will mean all apps on your phone will update automatically.
For Android, you need Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or higher.
For iOS, you need 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 far back a new app build can go for reasons such as security and Bluetooth® capability.
1. Download the COVIDSafe app.
2. Register using a name, mobile phone number, age range and postcode.
3. Turn on Bluetooth®.
4. Check that COVIDSafe is active when you are out or are likely to come into contact with others.
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.
If COVIDSafe does not verify your mobile phone number, or you do not receive your PIN (Personal Identification Number) within a few minutes after you register, switch off the Wi-Fi and use your mobile data when entering your phone number.
If that does not work:
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 are not in the process of registering for COVIDSafe, please ignore the message. This is a known issue and is currently being looked at by the development team.
Android users: COVIDSafe works best when it is running, which means you can use your phone as normal without having to open or check COVIDSafe.
iOS users: Keep COVIDSafe running when you're out and about, especially in meetings and public places.
Your COVIDSafe app screen should show 'COVIDSafe is active'.
If it says 'COVIDSafe is not active', you'll need to make changes to some items under 'Check your permissions'.
To change your registration information (phone number, name or postcode), you can uninstall COVIDSafe and download it again. Read more on what happens when you uninstall the app.
You only need to upload your information if:
- you have tested positive for coronavirus
- a state or territory health official contacts you
If you test positive, a state or territory health official will provide your PIN and assist with voluntary upload of your information.
You do not need to upload your information if you get in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus.
If you have registered successfully once, you should not need to register again.
If COVIDSafe is asking you to register again, select the back button (top left) and it should return to the 'COVIDSafe is active' screen.
SMS messages from the Australian Government reminding you to download COVIDSafe come from your mobile provider. The Australian Government works with telecommunication providers to send these messages out to the Australian public only when it is absolutely necessary. You cannot opt out of these messages.
COVIDSafe only sends SMS messages to give you your verification PIN during registration or if you are consenting to upload information to the national information storage system.
COVIDSafe will never send you an SMS about usage of the app, for example 'COVIDSafe has detected that you are 20km from your nominated home address'. It will never ask you to call a phone number.
The app operates on a person’s phone as they go about their day. It securely logs the encrypted reference codes of devices of other people who are using the app who have been in close proximity to you. For this reason, we recommend that each person downloads the app on their own device. Your device can be a phone or tablet.
To be effective, you should keep COVIDSafe running as you go about your daily business and come into contact with people.
Keep the app running by switching Bluetooth® on. For Android, battery optimisation for COVIDSafe must be disabled.
You can disable COVIDSafe's functionality at any time by turning the app's Bluetooth® permission off or deleting the app.
We undertook testing prior to the release of COVIDSafe, and battery consumption on tested devices is only marginally greater with the app running, particularly on devices that are already Bluetooth®-enabled.
The Government is working with Apple and Google on opportunities to enhance the performance of COVIDSafe.
The app uses less than 1MB of data per day. It 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 anonymised analytics data.
COVIDSafe will not work if battery optimisation is enabled. From the app, under ‘Check your Permissions’, select ‘Battery optimisation’ then disable battery optimisation for COVIDSafe.
For Android devices, 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.
You need to make sure Bluetooth® is switched on to make COVIDSafe work.
In COVIDSafe, scroll down until you see Bluetooth® settings under 'App permission status'. Switch on Bluetooth®.
If your Bluetooth® is on and the app is running you will see ‘COVIDSafe is active’ on your app screen.
Yes. COVIDSafe won’t work if Bluetooth® is turned off.
We are aware that the way the COVIDSafe app operates may disrupt other Bluetooth® devices.
If you find that the COVIDSafe app is interfering with your medical device, please do not continue to use the COVIDSafe app.
Management of your ongoing chronic health condition should take priority. If you have experienced this issue, we encourage you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use the ‘Report an Issue’ functionality within the app. We are actively monitoring feedback channels for these types of compatibility issues so that we can work to resolve them as quickly as possible.
The COVIDSafe app is currently not supported for use on a smartwatch and other wearable technology.
When Bluetooth® is enabled, other devices around you will be able to see your device name. We recommend to 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.
COVIDSafe holds your information in 3 locations:
1. The highly secure storage system holds your registration information (name, age range, phone number and postcode) as an encrypted reference code.
2. 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.
3. 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 Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) 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 form. Note: If you do this, health officials will not be able to contact you if one of your close contacts tests positive for COVID-19.
We encourage everyone living in Australia to use COVIDSafe regardless of their location or health status.
To uninstall the app from your device, simply delete the app like you normally would and all locally-stored information in the app will also be deleted.
When the app is deleted, all locally-stored information in the app will be deleted. You'll no longer be able to share stored information if you are contacted by a state or territory health official during the process. If you want to use COVIDSafe again, you'll need to reinstall and set up the app again.
Note that if you delete the app, state or territory health officials may not be able to effectively understand the movement of the virus. This could have an adverse effect on others.
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.
• COVIDSafe will perform digital handshakes with all other COVIDSafe in Bluetooth® range.
• COVIDSafe notes Bluetooth® signal strength to allow approximation of distance.
• COVIDSafe will poll every minute for new connections and to note the duration of existing connections.
• This information is all noted on the phone and uploaded to the highly secure information storage system when consented by a positively diagnosed user.
• A filtering process on the highly secure information storage system separates information that meets the close contact requirements and makes it available to the relevant state or territory health officials.
The app is an Australian Government initiative.
Contact us if you need assistance: email@example.com
When developing the app, special considerations were made for people with visual impairments or hearing difficulties, as well as people who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
The app has been tested against colour-contrast standards, text size, alt text for images and using screen readers to check voice-prompted interactions for visually impaired people. Simplified language was also used to make the content easy to understand. We are committed to making the app as accessible as possible.
If you have experienced an accessibility issue with the app, we encourage you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use the ‘Report an Issue’ functionality within the app. We are actively monitoring feedback channels for accessibility issues so we can work to resolve them as quickly as possible.
The COVIDSafe source code can be accessed through GitHub. Before you access the source code, please read the terms and conditions.