The functions of the official federal Corona warning app will be significantly expanded in the coming weeks. In addition, the app should also be able to run on the older iPhone models 5s and 6 from mid-February. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Health on Friday.
The new functions include a dashboard on which current information about the infection events is to be made available. Afterwards the App is to be extended by a representation of the meeting history. The idea is to inform app users more accurately about the timing of risk encounters. This function will be implemented in accordance with the applicable data protection laws. As a third innovation, Apple’s interface for the older iPhone models 5s and 6 is also implemented on the federal Corona warning app.
This change alone increases the pool of compatible smartphones in Germany by up to four million devices. Apple previously had the necessary interface, the Exposure Notification Framework, for the older iOS 12 as well.5 made available. Apple complied with requests to change the Bluetooth interface so that even more iPhone models than before can run the Corona tracing app.
More compatible countries
Also in February, the SAP and Deutsche Telekom development team plans to integrate a voluntary user survey in which users can comment on possible data donations. In March, the exchange of infection keys with Switzerland will be possible. So far, the federal app system exchanges data with Ireland, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Croatia, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland. In addition to Switzerland, Malta, Slovenia, Lithuania, Portugal, Austria and Cyprus are to join in the first quarter of 2021. The Czech Republic, Estonia and Greece are still in the planning stage. The national apps in Great Britain and France, on the other hand, are not compatible because they are not based on the Apple and Google interfaces.
Of the 201 Corona test laboratories in Germany, 174 are already digitally connected and 7 more are in the pipeline, the ministry added. This means that more than 95 percent of the test capacity is connected to the Corona warning app. However, 20 laboratories are "passive".
The federal government’s Corona warning app has been downloaded more than 25 million times to date. Experts estimate it is actively used by about 23 million people. Download numbers refer to Apple IDs or Google IDs used. Since in some families several devices are supplied with an ID, the starting point could be even higher than 25 million people. Updates of the app are not paid as a separate download. From this initial value, a good ten percent is subtracted again, because some users have uninstalled the app again or have not reinstalled it after a change of phone. This calculation also takes into account users who have Bluetooth permanently turned off, so that the app can not work. The effectiveness of the app increases as more people actually use it.