Coronavirus: The COVID Tracer app hack that makes scanning QR codes easier than ever before

Let's be honest: using the COVID Tracer app isn't exactly a massive inconvenience.

All you have to do is open your phone, find the app, hold your camera up to a QR poster and voilà - that location is saved to a log of the places you've visited.

However this minor struggle is clearly enough to put some Kiwis off, with QR scanning dropping off whenever COVID-19 is out of the community and limited to managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities.

Thankfully, the woman who tested positive after leaving an Auckland MIQ hotel over the weekend was "extremely assiduous" in her use of the app, to borrow a much-searched phrase from Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

But she's one of few Kiwis who are, with the number of New Zealanders who scanned into locations dropping to just 286,646 on Saturday, the day before our first community case in more than two months.

With that in mind, here's a simple way to open your COVID Tracer app simply by tapping the back of your iPhone twice, courtesy of Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickson.

How to open your COVID Tracer app with a back-tap

  1. First, ensure your iPhone is model 8 or above. If it is, that means it has the tech required to enable the 'Back Tap' function.
  2. Next, go to your 'Shortcuts' app (you can find this by using your phone's search function) and press the '+' in the top right corner.
  3. Press 'Add Action' then select 'Scripting', where you'll be able to scroll down and click on the 'NZ COVID Tracer' app.
  4. Give the shortcut a name, then leave the 'Shortcuts' app and find your 'Settings' app.
  5. Once there, click on 'Accessibility', then 'Touch'. At the bottom of the page, you'll see the 'Back Tap' function. Click on it.
  6. Click on 'Double Tap', scroll to the bottom again, and select the Shortcut that you've just made.
  7. That's it. Now, when you come up to a QR code at a location, you can simply double-tap the back of your iPhone to open up the app and scan in. Simple.

Still confused? Watch Nanogirl's instructional video above.