Even a month after the release, eRouška is almost useless on the iPhone

In two days, exactly one month will pass since the eRouška application arrived on the App Store on iOS. It was to help the Czech Republic defeat the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to technology that records contacts with strangers who also installed eRouška in their smartphones. The principle of recording is quite simple. It takes place on the basis of mutual detection of the Bluetooth signal, which is recorded in the eRouch, with the assignment of a unique ID of the detected device, under which the registered user was hiding. However, his identity can only be deciphered by hygienists, thanks to which all records are completely secure in terms of user data. The catch, however, is in how the app works on iPhones. They were the ones who crossed the path to the seemingly great idea.

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If you've downloaded eRouška like I do in recent weeks and started testing it, you've probably noticed how it (doesn't) record nearby phones with eRouška when it's running in the background. Unlike Androids, iPhones do not allow any significant Bluetooth work in the background, and in addition, applications that are not actively used automatically fall asleep partially or completely after a while. And that is exactly what the biggest snag with eRouška. You certainly don't want to walk around the city with this application running right on the screen, but that's the only way the iOS version is able to work reasonably well. After its "postponement" in the background, it stops actively recording the surrounding eRouses and is only visible to them, so that soon after complete sleep they disappear for them as well.

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It should be noted that the whole problem lies practically only in Apple's system policy. This is because it is completely different from Android, which does not mind type-like applications running in the background (if they have support for a specific version of the system) and does not limit their operation in any way. However, since there is a large representation of iPhone users in the Czech Republic (although the share of apple growers is a minority compared to Androids) and the whole application is built on the de facto possible penetration across Czech smartphones, it was clear that it simply had to find its way to iPhones, it is imperfect on them. Even partial functionality is much better than none in this respect.

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The only way to get the iOS version of eRouška to the level of her android colleague in terms of usability is to switch to Apple's "coronavirus protocol", which was recently released. Simply put, it allows applications to combat coronavirus to run in the background of the iPhone without any major restrictions, as is the case with Android. However, the transition to this protocol is also not entirely a win. For eRouška, at least according to the available information, this would be incompatibility with older versions of iOS, as it would be based on technology available only in iOS 13.5 and newer. With a bit of exaggeration, it can be said that eRouška is now in a vicious circle, from which she will probably not get out right away. For this to happen, it would either have to run without problems in the background of versions of iOS older than 13.5 (which is unrealistic), or the vast majority of Czechs would have to switch to iOS 13.5 and thus open the door and adopt the "coronavirus protocol".

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