Canada decommissions COVID Alert app, here’s how to delete it

After nearly two years, COVID Alert is dead

The Canadian government officially decommissioned the COVID Alert contract tracing app effective June 17th.

In a press release shared by Health Canada, the government said that it disabled the exposure notification service and that “users can delete the app from their devices.”

“While the pandemic is not over, the decision to decommission COVID Alert comes after careful consideration following discussions with provinces and territories on the ongoing evolution of public health programming that varies in each jurisdiction,” read the release.

Health Canada goes on to encourage people to “stay aware of COVID-19 activity in their local area” and keep up with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations.

COVID Alert was available for nearly two years — the app first became available in July 2020. It was intended as a way to aid in contact tracing by leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) tech on Android smartphones and iPhones to share anonymous codes between nearby devices. Users who tested positive for COVID could use the app to warn others who had been near them of potential exposure to COVID-19, all without revealing people’s identities.

The app ran using a contact tracing solution jointly developed by Apple and Google. That framework is built into the company’s respective mobile operating systems. Countries were encouraged to develop apps using the framework.

However, COVID Alert never really took off. Despite heavy promotion from the government, only 6.9 million people living in Canada downloaded the app. Moreover, only slightly more than 57,000 users notified others that they had tested positive using COVD Alert.

Recent changes to testing in Canada, such as a decrease in PCR testing, saw a reduced number of one-time keys made available to COVID Alert users. Moreover, the app suffered technical issues, with some older phones not supporting it and other users not getting notifications at all. It also didn’t help that some provinces chose not to adopt the app.

The government spent about $20 million on COVID Alert, with $3.5 million going towards building the app and $15.9 million spent on promoting and advertising it to Canadians, per Global News.

At the time of publication, COVID Alert was still available to download from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

How to delete COVID Alert

To delete COVID Alert on iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the app icon
  2. Tap ‘Delete App’
  3. Tap ‘Delete’

On Android:

  1. Press and hold the app icon
  2. Drag it to ‘Uninstall’
  3. Tap ‘OK’

Source: Health Canada Via: Global News