Last Updated on 15/01/2021 at 09:00
The Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is a free mobile phone app that helps us to protect each other and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. From 14th December, young people aged 12 and over can download the app.
Here we answer your most frequently asked questions below about how to use the app and using it at school.
What does the Protect Scotland app do?
The app sends an Exposure Notification to people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and tells them what they need to do.
It also helps if you test positive for coronavirus, as it will help to alert people you have been in close contact with that they need to take action. At all times, it will keep your information private and anonymous.
For example, if you were close to someone for an extended period of time and you did not know their name or contact details but you both have the Protect Scotland app, then that person can be contacted and informed they should self-isolate. In this example, the app helped make a connection that would have been missed otherwise.
Download the Protect Scotland app from the Apple App Store.
Download the Protect Scotland app from the Google Play Store.
Why should you download the Protect Scotland app?
Using the Protect Scotland app and keeping to the current guidance, will help us to stay safe, while keeping your friends, family and community safe too.
This is because if more people download the app then more people will be told when they need to isolate. This will help stop the spread of coronavirus.
If you aren’t sure in the restrictions in your area, find out what level your local authority is in and find out what the coronavirus rules are right now.
What phone do you need to download the Protect Scotland app?
You need a smartphone that has Bluetooth and uses either the Apple (iOS) or Google (Android) operating systems. The Android operating systems need to have location on as well as Bluetooth for the app to work.
For Apple users, the app will work on all iPhones with iOS 13.5. This includes all iPhones since the 6S was released in 2015.
For Android users, it will work on any android phone that has at least Android 6.0 update and all Android phones released since 2015.
If you don’t have a phone that meets the above requirements, by sticking to the restrictions in your area you’re still doing your bit to help reduce the spread of the virus. Person to person contact tracing will still help to identify and alert those people who have come into contact with someone that has tested positively for coronavirus.
How old do you need to be to download the Protect Scotland app?
You need to be aged 12 or over in order to be able to download the app.
If you’re aged under 13 you need permission from an adult to download and use the app.
Will the Protect Scotland app drain your phone battery?
The app uses the energy-efficient Low Bluetooth Energy (LBE) technology and its battery consumption is based on the use of the app itself and the use of BLE. This means that if you use your phone less regularly, but when you do it's for longer periods of time the battery consumption per app will be higher. To keep battery consumption low for all apps try and use your phone more often for shorter lengths of time.
However, because Android phones use location as well as Bluetooth it might mean that other apps will then start to use the location services as well which can eat into your battery. To stop this go to Settings > Security & Location > Location > App-level permissions. This will let you stop other apps permission to use your location if you don't want them to use it.
Will the Protect Scotland app use up your data?
The Protect Scotland app uses a very small bit of data once a day to connect to the NHS Scotland server. This is to check if you have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus. It is estimated that the amount of data used is less than 1MB per month.
Will the Protect Scotland app know if you break the restrictions?
The app will not know if you break any of the current coronavirus guidelines.
Does the Protect Scotland app use your personal data?
The Protect Scotland app does not gather and use any of your personal data. When you set up the app you do not have to give any information about yourself such as your name, address or age, it uses Random ID's instead of actual information.
Will people be alerted about who caused others to self-isolate?
No. People will be alerted when they should self-isolate but will not be told who it was or where they came into contact with the other person.
If your phone is off, does the Protect Scotland app still work?
If your phone is off the Protect Scotland app will not work. This is because Bluetooth needs to be on, as well as location for Android phones, for the app to work.
When should you pause tracing on the Protect Scotland app?
If you are away from your phone at any time, it is recommended that you pause tracing on the app. This could be if you leave your phone in a locker, for example during a PE lesson, or if you leave your phone in your bag at break or during after-school club. This is also the case if your school or local authority policy doesn’t allow for you to have your phone on you.
To pause tracing, you can either turn your phone off or open the app, click the ‘tracing’ square, scroll down and press ‘I want to pause tracing’. You can set a reminder, so you’ll get an alert to turn tracing back on if you know how long you’ll be away from your phone. For example, if you have a PE lesson and it’s one hour, you can set up a notification to pop up in one hour’s time, so you don’t forget to turn it back on.
If you don’t set up a reminder, you can turn on tracing by opening the app, clicking the tracing button and pressing ‘Restart Tracing’. You’ll see a pop up explaining that exposure notifications are being turned on, click ‘turn on’ to confirm tracing is turned on.
What should you do if your phone is confiscated?
If your phone is taken off you or confiscated at school or one of your clubs, ask if you can turn your phone off so that if your phone is put near other devices away from you, it doesn’t register those devices as people you've been in contact with.
What if you get an exposure notification alert at school?
If you get a notification during school, you should tell a teacher as soon as possible. They will let you know what needs to happen next.
Check out #YSHealth Panel members Ewan, Claire and Poppy chatting about their experiences of using the Protect Scotland app in the video below.
Find out more about the Protect Scotland app.
More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)