Android – smartphones block apps to track coronavirus patients

Remember this spring Apple and Google announced the launch of a universal coronavirus contact tracing system for Android and iOS? Well, the same one with the help of which Google began to independently track the location of users using GPS, without notifying either the users themselves or the ministries of health of the countries that agreed to use the new system in order to protect the population. Not that no one expected this at all, but finding out that the search giant had once again deceived everyone was unpleasant. However, this is not the only problem.

Android - smartphones block apps to track coronavirus patients

Android Failed for COVID-19 Contact Tracking Apps

Many smartphones running Android block applications for tracking coronavirus patients. This makes tracking very difficult and prevents all contacts from being recorded. The reason is the work of smartphones' energy saving mechanisms that simply stop the software running in the background. This is due to a conflict between the standard mechanism Android called Doze and mechanisms built into third-party vendor shells.

How are coronavirus patients tracked?

Android - smartphones block apps to track coronavirus patients

Most firmware simply block applications that track contacts of COVID-19 patients

All COVID-19 contact tracing apps work in much the same way:

  • The application launches Bluetooth and records cases of pairing with other devices. It is logical that for this Bluetooth must work continuously;
  • After Bluetooth – the contact has been recorded, the smartphone records information about it and saves it in memory so that it is possible to match all meetings with those who have confirmed COVID-19;
  • The application constantly checks all meetings with the database of infected users in the background. Thus, it is possible to notify a healthy person in time about the need to pass an analysis.

It is logical that all these manipulations, although they do not consume a lot of battery resources, are still performed continuously and around the clock. Therefore, power-saving mechanisms stop such applications, fearing that they may provoke premature discharge of the smartphone. Yes, this is a banal reinsurance, but manufacturers believe that this will be more reliable. In the end, if necessary, the user himself will restart the application, and if not, then it was not very necessary.

Why Android unloads applications

Android - smartphones block apps to track coronavirus patients

Only clean Android does not block these apps and it is a little scary

According to statistics, smartphones OnePlus, Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei are most aggressive in the work of applications for tracking contacts of patients with coronavirus. They see that the application does not sleep and consumes energy and simply block it if the user has not previously prohibited such blocking. But since most have no idea how this can be done, the effectiveness of Google's initiative to track infected contacts was in jeopardy.

Quite frankly, it's not just contact tracing apps that are suffering from the conflict of energy saving mechanisms, but many others as well. A study by the developers of the Don't kill my apps benchmark showed that the vast majority of smartphones stop working up to half of all applications running in the background. And almost the only devices that don't do this are the Google Pixel. The fact is that they work on the basis of pure Android, which simply has no one to come into conflict with.

Moral: third-party shells are evil.

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