TousAntiCovid: a small interface change marks the turn of the app

The “Scan a QR Code” option has been much better featured on TousAntiCovid since June 18th. It allows you to use two new features of the app: the health pass, and the reminder book.

In the update of June 18, 2021, the developers of TousAntiCovid (TAC) made a slight interface change which should greatly facilitate the understanding and use of the app.

Now when the user opens TAC, the option ” Scan a QR Code “Appears just below the insert for” Activate [ou « Désactiver »]AllAntiCovid », Present since the launch of the app in June 2020. It was more than a year ago: the contact tracing tool was then called StopCovid, and France was barely out of its first confinement.

The “scan a QR Code” option is now much better highlighted on TousAntiCovid. // Source: Numerama screenshot

In addition to the insert, the QR code scanner is also accessible through a small square icon permanently displayed at the top right of the screen. When you click on it, a message is displayed: ” Scan any TousAntiCovid QR Code (reminder book, certificates, Covid declaration, etc.). »Just place the QR code you want to add to the app in the frame that appears on your screen, and you’re done.

As a reminder, you can also simply scan the QR Code with the camera app on your smartphone, which will offer you to open TousAntiCovid once you have taken stock of the QR Code.

TousAntiCovid is more than a contact tracing app

This interface change is welcome, since it should make the app easier for as many people as possible. Above all, it should make it easier for new users, attracted by the new features of the app, to find them.

Initially, StopCovid (which became TousAntiCovid on October 22) was only used as a contact tracing tool. This functionality, although put aside in the government’s discourse, still exists. Concretely, if you “activate” the app, you agree that it communicates securely with the other TousAntiCovid apps that will be within Bluetooth range. The smartphones will exchange identifiers, so as to mark your crossings with the owners of other smartphones. If two people exchange identifiers for a certain period of time at a certain distance, and one of the two declares himself positive for covid in the application, the other will be notified that he is in contact. She will then be able to take the necessary measures, that is to say quarantine and get tested as quickly as possible. In theory, this is how the app works.

But in practice, the conditions necessary for its proper functioning appear difficult to achieve. Worse, the technique does not follow: the app struggles to save contacts, and only works with great difficulty on iPhones (that is to say on 1 in 5 French smartphones). Result: the number of contact case notifications sent has always been very low. In September, Olivier Véran again called on the French and the French to massively use the application, but the government has not referred to it for a few months.

TousAntiCovid, above all an app to store QR Codes?

Gradually, other features have been added to contact tracing. The name change to TousAntiCovid in October 2020 first made it possible to integrate a certificate generator, an information portal and key figures into the app. Then, with the update of June 9, which accompanies the new deconfinement, the app inherited an important new role in the government’s strategy. Two new features, linked to QR Codes, have been integrated:

  • A QR Code system intended for customers of closed places (restaurants, bars, sports halls, etc.) offers an alternative to paper reminders, which visitors can always use if they wish.
  • The app can now carry the health pass (also accepted in paper form): just scan the code provided after your vaccination or after submitting your negative PCR test to integrate it into the app. Then you can show it at the entrance of places that require it (concert halls, stadiums, airports…).

These new features are completely separate from the historical contact tracing feature. In other words, no need to “activate” TousAntiCovid to benefit from it. This is why the slight interface change made on June 18 is so important: it allows faster access to crucial functionalities in the current deconfinement phase.

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