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NHS COVID-19 app showing permanent ‘Loading’ notification for many

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NHS COVID-19 appSource: Android Central / Alex Dobie

What you need to know

  • Many users of the NHS COVID-19 app for Android are seeing a persistent Loading notification.
  • The notification can't be dismissed, and closing the app or rebooting doesn't fix it.
  • There's no word on what's causing the bug just yet.

Many Android users in the UK are reporting a glitch with the NHS COVID-19 app this morning, causing it to show a permanent "Loading…" notification that can't be dismissed. Restarting or force-closing the app, or rebooting your phone doesn't fix the problem.

NHS COVID-19 is the official contact tracing app for England and Wales, and uses Apple and Google's exposure notification system to alert those who may have been in contact with an infected person. A quick Twitter search shows many app users experiencing the glitch, and it's also been reported by several people on the app's Github issue tracker over the past 12 hours.

It's not the first time the NHS's COVID apps have experienced technical issues. Back in November, it froze on the "Loading" screen for many iPhone owners. And in earlier in the fall, some users were given alarming "phantom" notifications about possible exposure, which subsequently vanished.

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"Loading" notifications of the kind people are seeing today appear briefly as a part of the app's normal operation, but usually vanish after a couple of seconds. Aside from being mildly annoying, there's nothing to suggest this particular glitch affects anything else about the app's functionality. Given the large numbers of users experiencing the issue, it's likely a fix will be on the way pretty quickly.

Some on Twitter are suggesting muting notifications from NHS COVID-19 as a workaround, but we wouldn't recommend this, as you may miss important exposure notifications in future. (That's the whole point fo the app, after all.)

We've reached out to the app's representatives on social media, and we'll update this story with any further developments.

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