Protect Scotland App user statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

1.  The total number of times the 'Protect Scotland' application has been downloaded on both iOS and Android devices as of February 1st, 2021

2. The total number of devices that are actively running the 'Protect Scotland' application on both iOS and Android devices as of February 1st, 2021

3. Any and all projections on the required application uptake to impact the spread of the coronavirus

4. The length of time that The Scottish Government and/or relevant bodies will retain health data (e.g. positive test results) acquired through the Protect Scotland App


1. As at 01/02/2021 the Protect Scotland app had been downloaded 1,832,346 times by both iOS and Android devices.

2. As at 01/02/2021there are 891,000 active users. Please note that his figure is not considered as relevant as the number of downloads. The app is designed to run in the background on people‚Äôs devices and therefore not intended to be interacted with unless an alert is received. The number of active users does not indicate the number of people using the app.

3. The evidence for this is changing all the time, with growing international evidence, including from a recent Oxford University study, suggests that Protect Scotland has the potential to reduce infections, hospitalisations, and deaths at almost any level of adoption, showing that the technology can act as a complement to existing countermeasures. Generally, the more people who download and use the app, the better it will work, helping make connections you may have otherwise missed. This will allow people to self-isolate quickly if they are exposed to the virus, reducing the risk of them infecting others, and reducing the likelihood of future local lockdowns.

4) The app backend will keep the Test Code only until the SMS is sent to the recipient (encrypted). It usually takes up to a couple of hours to generate and send the SMS with Test Code and is then deleted; it is never stored in the app backend. The government service used to send the SMS (Gov.UK Notify) holds data for up to 72 hours. This is necessary in order to ensure the SMS is sent and there is sufficient time to deal with potential SMS verification issues. Once the SMS is satisfactorily sent, it is deleted. During this time, the SMS data is stored encrypted in their secure servers.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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