NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen

The suspense could quite literally be killing us

NHS England's COVID-19 app developed a case of the borks overnight as Android users were presented with mystery notifications that never seemed to finish loading.

The app had a troubled start in life last year as homegrown efforts initially foundered before a second crack at contact chasing emerged towards the end of summer. A further tweak in autumn added support for the contact-tracing API co-developed by Google and Apple and, by version 3.9, the app claimed to banish the curse of "ghost notifications" of "possible exposure".

Notifications of a different nature are now plaguing many Android users. Even this hack's Galaxy S10 has not proven immune, with an initially heart-stopping notification appearing that, on further inspection, simply said "Loading…"

NHS COVID-19 app notification

Click to enlarge

The Register contacted the Department of Health and Social Care, and a spokesperson told us: "We are aware of an issue affecting Android users of the NHS COVID-19 app who are receiving a loading screen notification. We are working with Google to urgently investigate and resolve the issue as soon as possible."

We also understand that receiving the "Loading..." notification doesn't mean isolation is required. The rest of the app (booking a test and entering test results, checking symptoms, and doing the venue-scanning fandango) is apparently working normally.

Still, it's a bit worrying for already jumpy users. There is the danger that some might deal with the notification problem by simply deleting the app, or turning off important services in an effort to make it go away.

While those staffing the NHS COVID-19 app Twitter account have been bombarded by users asking pretty much the same question, a thread on GitHub (thanks to Register reader David Gosnell for the tip) has gone into more technical detail. Some users have reported turning background activities off and on again deals with the issue (at least temporarily) while others reported no exposure uploads since yesterday.

We've put both the latter points to the Department of Health and Social Care and will update should a response be forthcoming. ®

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Millions of people's info stolen from MGM Resorts now dumped on Telegram for free
    Meanwhile, Twitter coughs up $150m after using account security contact details for advertising

    Miscreants have dumped on Telegram more than 142 million customer records stolen from MGM Resorts, exposing names, postal and email addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth for any would-be identity thief.

    The vpnMentor research team stumbled upon the files, which totaled 8.7 GB of data, on the messaging platform earlier this week, and noted that they "assume at least 30 million people had some of their data leaked." MGM Resorts, a hotel and casino chain, did not respond to The Register's request for comment.

    The researchers reckon this information is linked to the theft of millions of guest records, which included the details of Twitter's Jack Dorsey and pop star Justin Bieber, from MGM Resorts in 2019 that was subsequently distributed via underground forums.

    Continue reading
  • DuckDuckGo tries to explain why its browsers won't block some Microsoft web trackers
    Meanwhile, Tails 5.0 users told to stop what they're doing over Firefox flaw

    DuckDuckGo promises privacy to users of its Android, iOS browsers, and macOS browsers – yet it allows certain data to flow from third-party websites to Microsoft-owned services.

    Security researcher Zach Edwards recently conducted an audit of DuckDuckGo's mobile browsers and found that, contrary to expectations, they do not block Meta's Workplace domain, for example, from sending information to Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn domains.

    Specifically, DuckDuckGo's software didn't stop Microsoft's trackers on the Workplace page from blabbing information about the user to Bing and LinkedIn for tailored advertising purposes. Other trackers, such as Google's, are blocked.

    Continue reading
  • Despite 'key' partnership with AWS, Meta taps up Microsoft Azure for AI work
    Someone got Zuck'd

    Meta’s AI business unit set up shop in Microsoft Azure this week and announced a strategic partnership it says will advance PyTorch development on the public cloud.

    The deal [PDF] will see Mark Zuckerberg’s umbrella company deploy machine-learning workloads on thousands of Nvidia GPUs running in Azure. While a win for Microsoft, the partnership calls in to question just how strong Meta’s commitment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) really is.

    Back in those long-gone days of December, Meta named AWS as its “key long-term strategic cloud provider." As part of that, Meta promised that if it bought any companies that used AWS, it would continue to support their use of Amazon's cloud, rather than force them off into its own private datacenters. The pact also included a vow to expand Meta’s consumption of Amazon’s cloud-based compute, storage, database, and security services.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022