COVIDSafe app help
About the app
The COVIDSafe app is part of our work to slow the spread of COVID-19. COVIDSafe supports the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
The COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus and prevent the spread.
The COVIDSafe app is now available in several languages.
Translated information about COVID-19 and the COVIDSafe app is available to download and use:
User guide to download the COVIDSafe app (fact sheet)
How to download the COVIDSafe app (video)
Stay COVID free – do the 3 (poster)
Stay COVID free – do the 3 (video)
General information on COVID-19
What COVIDSafe is for
The COVIDSafe app helps state and territory health officials to quickly identify and contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (called ‘close contacts’).
Without the help of technology, finding close contacts relies on people:
- being able to recall everyone they have been in close contact with
- knowing their contact details
In many cases, people won't know the names and contact details of everyone they’ve been in close contact with (for example, on public transport). COVIDSafe uses technology to make this process faster and more accurate.
State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. The health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested.
The COVIDSafe app is the only contact app approved by the Australian Government.
How COVIDSafe works
You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. You register to use the app by entering:
- a name (which can be a pseudonym)
- age range
- mobile number
You will receive a confirmation text message to complete the installation. Based on this information, COVIDSafe generates an encrypted reference code for the app on that phone.
For COVIDSafe to work, it must be running in the background on your phone. You can use other apps at the same time.
COVIDSafe uses Bluetooth® to look for other devices that have the app installed. It takes a note of a contact when it occurs, through a digital handshake. It securely logs the other user’s encrypted reference code and the date, time, Bluetooth® signal strength and proximity of the contact on the user’s phone, and notes the phone model. This information is then securely encrypted and stored on the phone.
COVIDSafe does not record your location.
COVIDSafe stores contacts on the phone for 21 days. This allows for the 14-day incubation period of the coronavirus, plus the time taken to confirm a positive test result. The rolling 21-day window allows COVIDSafe to continuously note only those contacts that occur during the coronavirus incubation window. It automatically deletes contacts older than 21 days.
Nobody can access the encrypted information on your phone, including you.
When an app user tests positive for COVID-19
If you test positive for COVID-19, a state or territory health official will ask you to consent to upload your digital handshake information to the National COVIDSafe Data Store. If a child tests positive, the health official will ask the child’s parent, guardian or carer for consent.
The uploaded information enables state and territory health officials to call close contacts to advise them on what to do. State and territory health officials must undertake system training before they can access the National COVIDSafe Data Store.
Health officials will not name the person who was infected.
After the pandemic
When the Minister for Health declares the COVID-19 pandemic over, 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 in the National COVIDSafe Data Store will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.
Deleting the COVIDSafe app
You can delete the COVIDSafe app from your phone at any time. This will delete all COVIDSafe app information from your phone. The information in the National COVIDSafe Data Store will not be deleted immediately. It will be destroyed at the end of the pandemic. If you would like your information deleted from the storage system sooner, you can complete our request data deletion form.
Your information and privacy are strictly protected.
Downloading and using COVIDSafe is voluntary. The app has a range of privacy and security safeguards built in. It uses secure encryption and does not collect data on your location.
On 14 May 2020, Parliament passed the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Act to support the COVIDSafe app and ensure users’ privacy is protected.
Read more about privacy matters:
- The Attorney-General’s Department explains how legislation protects your information.
- We commissioned a Privacy Impact Assessment to ensure we have addressed privacy risks. We have responded to the report.
- The COVIDSafe website covers privacy and security topics.
- We have entered into bilateral agreements with each state and territory health authority about collection, use and disclosure of COVIDSafe app data.