Skip to main content

UK vaccine passport app produces broken QR codes on popular Android phones

What you need to know

  • A bug in the NHS app's Covid Pass results in cropped, unscannable QR codes being shown on some popular Android phones.
  • The bug could cause problems for some British travelers using the app to prove vaccination status.
  • Workarounds involve printing out a PDF version, or changing the phone's 'display size' setting to something besides the default level.

NHS app bug affecting phones like Samsung's Galaxy S21 could cause problems for Brits trying to prove their vaccination status.

As the UK relaxes its remaining Coronavirus restrictions, many travelers vaccinated in the country will be relying on the NHS app to show their Covid-19 status for international trips. However a bug in the Android version of the app, discovered by Android Central, could leave some Brits struggling to prove their vaccination status at the border, even if they've had both doses.

On some Android phones, the app crops out the rightmost part of the QR code it generates, making the code unreadable. Phones affected by the bug in the current version of the app — v1.48.7 — include some of the most popular current models like the Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy A72, OnePlus 8T, OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro. Other models tested by AC, including the Google Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, ASUS Zenfone 8, Oppo Find X2 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, were not affected by the glitch and showed the full QR code correctly.

The bug only affects Covid Pass QR codes generated for travel, as opposed to those used for the UK government's event trials.

Since the app is essentially just a wrapper for the NHS mobile site, the bug is also present in the Covid Pass section of that website on the affected devices we tested. That means users attempting to get a Covid Pass by logging in via their mobile browser on an affected phone would also see a cropped, unscannable QR code.

Left: Correct QR code on Google Pixel 5 / Right: Cropped, unreadable QR code on Galaxy S21 Ultra

Travelers could face headaches at the border if their code doesn't scan.

The Covid Pass feature of the NHS app is seen as the most convenient way for English residents to prove that they're fully vaccinated when traveling abroad. Currently France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia recognize the NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination, and some of these have much stricter rules for unvaccinated arrivals. Without a reliable way to prove their Covid status, travelers could find themselves turned away at foreign borders, rejected at check-in by airlines, or subjected to lengthy quarantine on arrival.

While the NHS app can also generate a PDF version of the Covid Pass — which contains a working QR code even on devices affected by the bug — it's unclear whether this would be accepted if shown on-screen as opposed to in the form of a print-out, especially outside of the UK. The NHS can also mail out a printed version of the Covid Pass, however this can take up to five working days to arrive.

At a technical level, the bug appears to be a fairly basic UI glitch. It seems to be caused by incompatibility between the HTML layout used to show the QR code and the default "display size" setting (also called "screen zoom") on certain Samsung and OnePlus phones. Changing this setting to a larger or smaller value causes the QR code to display properly on the affected models we tested — with the obvious side-effect of making everything else on the phone appear larger or smaller, which is less than ideal.

Regardless, for the average traveler who suddenly finds themselves with a non-working QR code upon arrival at the airport, these kinds of workarounds will be far from obvious. And while this bug should be easy to fix, it also demonstrates the technical teething problems likely to continue as post-Covid travel opens up.

Android Central contacted the NHS Digital media team and was directed to the press office for the Department of Health and Social Care, which did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

FCC approves broadband 'nutrition labels' to help you shop for internet

The FCC is pushing nutrition labels for internet providers. What you need to know The FCC has voted to move forward with new rules for ISPs to display nutrition labels. The proposed rulemaking would mandate ISPs to display relevant speed and pricing information to consumers. This should make it easier for consumers to make an informed decision on their broadband. The FCC voted unanimously on a plan that would allow consumers to make better decisions about their broadband internet. The proposal will require internet service providers (ISPs) - including many of the best wireless carriers in the U.S. — to display "nutrition labels" that display relevant service information for consumers at point-of-sale. This includes internet speeds, allowances, and clear information on rates. "If you walk into any grocery store and pull boxes of cereal from the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbohydrates," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statemen

Yandex spins out self-driving car unit from its Uber JV, invests $150M into newco

Self-driving cars are still many years away from becoming a ubiquitous reality, but today one of the bigger efforts to build and develop them is taking a significant step out as part of its strategy to be at the forefront for when they do. Yandex — the publicly-traded Russian tech giant that started as a search engine but has expanded into a number of other, related areas (similar to US counterpart Google) — today announced that it is spinning out its self-driving car unit from MLU BV — a ride-hailing and food delivery joint venture it operates in partnership with Uber. The move comes amid reports that Yandex and Uber were eyeing up an IPO for MLU  last year. At the time, the JV was estimated to be valued at around $7.7 billion. It’s not clear how those plans will have been impacted in recent months, with COVID-19 putting huge pressure on ride-hailing and food-delivery businesses globally, and IPOs generally down compared to a year ago. In that context, spinning out the unit could

Slack’s new integration deal with AWS could also be about tweaking Microsoft

Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, AWS has agreed to use Slack for internal communications. Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS, but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an “existential threat.” Whether that’s true or not — Teams is but one piece of a huge technology company — it’s impossible not to look at the deal in this context. Aligning more deeply with AWS sends a message to Microsoft, whose Azure infrastructure services compete with AWS. Butterfield didn’t say that of course

Elon Musk sends yet another notice trying to terminate the Twitter deal

Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images Elon Musk has sent a third letter to Twitter attempting to terminate his $44 billion acquisition of the company . Musk’s legal team cited Twitter’s multimillion dollar severance payment to former security chief and whistleblower Peiter Zatko as a violation of the merger agreement and a reason to end the deal. The letter, dated September 9th, was sent to Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and was included in a filing Twitter made with the SEC on Friday (which you can read at the bottom of this article). Last month, Zatko made headlines by accusing Twitter of misleading investors about the number of bots on the service, failing to delete users’ data, and having poor security practices, among other things. Musk jumped on the accusations, citing them in his second termination letter and subpoenaing Zatko to testify in the lawsuit. Zatko was set to be deposed on Friday. Elon Musk sent his first letter of termination in July , say