Compare: NZ's Bluetooth COVID-19 Tracer App vs Other Countries

Date Dec 17, 2020
Blog category Mobile Phone
By Staff Writer

Although New Zealand was able to win the fight against Coronavirus, they’re not taking chances! Just recently, the NZ COVID Tracer App has had a Bluetooth upgrade. This proves the government’s commitment to ensure the health and safety of New Zealanders.

As a regular Kiwi, what does the new update mean for you? How do the new features work? Now that it has received a major upgrade, how does it fare among some of the best COVID tracing apps in the world?

Get to know more about the NZ’s COVID Tracer App through this comparison.

What’s new with NZ’s Bluetooth COVID-19 Tracer App?

Once the Bluetooth tracing is turned on, it will send a private random ID code to your device from phones near you. Similarly, it will also send an ID code to the other devices from your phone. Of course, their Bluetooth tracing of other devices must be turned on as well for the ‘digital handshake’ to work.

If someone whom you’ve had close contact with tests positive within the last 14 days, they can send an anonymous notification to all the random IDs in their device. If the contact is long enough to pose a risk, it will alert you immediately. This enables you and your whānau to take early preventive measures like self-isolation and testing.

QR code scanning won’t go away

The NZ COVID Tracer App’s QR code scanning feature won’t go away. You still need to scan QR codes in public spaces like cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, and more. It’s still a great way to serve as your personal recordkeeping of the places you’ve visited. This is especially useful as Kiwis are expected to go out and travel more for the holiday season.

Read: How Effective is New Zealand’s COVID Tracer App?

Your privacy matters

Fighting Coronavirus doesn’t have to compromise your privacy. The new COVID Tracer App only sends random IDs. It doesn’t send identifiable information like your name and location. You have the control of your information on which one to share and whom to share it with. Chris Hipkins made sure to note this to assure New Zealanders they can trust the app with their data.

Bluetooth tracing without draining the battery

For the ‘digital handshake’ to work, Bluetooth tracing needs to be turned on all the time. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about battery drainage by doing this. The NZ COVID Tracer App uses Bluetooth Low Energy. This saves you battery life and data as well, since it also doesn’t use any mobile data.

How it fares against other countries’ COVID tracer apps

The old NZ COVID Tracer App isn’t exactly known as the best app out there. With its new upgrade, however, how does it fare against some of the best COVID-19 tracing apps from all over the world? 

See how the updated NZ COVID Tracer App fares against the best contact tracing apps in the world. Compare their functionality, technology used, and availability in different devices. Check out this comparison below.

Country App Functionality Technology Availability
South Korea Corona 100m Contact tracing GPS Android
Corona Map Contact tracing GPS Android
Self-quarantine app Registration, isolation GPS Android, iOS
Taiwan No app; uses phone signals instead Contact tracing, quarantine enforcement “Electronic fence” All phones
China Health Code Contact tracing Integrated with WeChat and AliPay Android, iOS
Singapore TraceTogether Contact tracing Bluetooth Android, iOS
Australia CovidSafe Contact tracing Bluetooth Android, iOS
New Zealand NZ COVID Tracer Contact tracing, recordkeeping Bluetooth, QR codes Android, iOS

South Korea

South Korea has one of the most successful contact tracing apps in the world. Although the country of roughly 52 million has experienced one the earliest spikes, they only recorded 600 deaths! This is big thanks to their technological infrastructure paired with their great healthcare system that made their contact tracing apps work successfully.


Taiwan is just 81 miles away from China — where the virus was first recorded — but it reported only 7 deaths. It’s able to do this thanks to early border closure as well as utilising their already-established technology. They implemented an “electronic fence” in their mobile receptions to make sure susceptible people stay home and isolate.


China is where the first case of Coronavirus was recorded. It suffered from a massive toll at the start of the pandemic. However, they quickly came back on track thanks to their widely developed technological infrastructure. They simply utilised what they have in order to trace COVID-19 positive patients and implement their mass testing methods.


Singapore uses a ‘handshake’ feature to keep a record of every interaction. For those people who don’t have a smartphone, they pair their contact tracing app with a wearable device that can last up to nine months. It uses the Bluetooth technology to transmit data between users. If all is found to be negative, it will automatically delete the data within 25 days.


Similarly, Australia uses Bluetooth technology to record every interaction with the duration of 15 minutes. It’s one of the most convenient contact tracing apps because they don’t need to do anything for it to work. They simply have to make sure their smartphones are always with them. After being negative for 21 days, the app will permanently delete all interactions.

Get real-time updates about COVID-19

The New Zealand government is not stopping on taking preventive measures against COVID-19 — and so must you! Always wash your hands, disinfect, wear masks, and practice physical distancing. Don’t forget to turn on your Bluetooth tracing and scan QR codes too, whenever you’re in public. These may seem like a hassle, but these are life-saving habits you must do during the pandemic.

Most of all, keep yourself updated! Always get notified on the latest news about Coronavirus and possible travel bubbles with New Zealand. Connect to an unlimited mobile plan and get notified whenever and wherever.

Get the best mobile plan using CompareBear’s free comparison tool.