Diabetics in the UK were unable to check their glucose levels after an update to a popular app caused it to stop working on some phones.
The FreeStyle Libre app works by monitoring blood sugar through a small sensor that is inserted into the body. It provides real-time updates to a mobile phone and can send an alert if glucose levels are too low or too high.
Yesterday, the app stopped working on iPhones for some users and has been removed from the Apple App Store.
Abbott, the company that produces the device, gave customers instructions on how to uninstall and reinstall the app, which seemed to work again.
A spokesperson said it expected the app to be available soon, but the company faced backlash from diabetics relying on the technology.
Diabetics in the UK couldn’t check their glucose levels after an update to a popular app caused it to stop working on some phones [File image]
A file image of a woman wearing an Omnipod insulin pump and a Freestyle Libre sensor on the arm
David Burchell, who has type 1 diabetes, told the BBC it was ‘very scary’. He said, “This equipment should save your life. I woke up yesterday morning, went to check my sensor thing… and basically it broke, just showed a white screen and I panicked.
‘I have spoken [Abbott] as often as this sort of thing has happened before. They told me to uninstall the app, turn the phone off and on, and reinstall it… but when they tried to download it again, they had pulled it from the app store, so I couldn’t download it. I was left without an active test other than the fingerprint test. Poking your finger a hundred times a week is a nightmare.’
Another man wrote online: “Do you realize that not fixing a critical problem like the Freestyle Libre 2 app could put lives at risk? I have not been able to check my sugar for the past 24 hours. Careless and a very lax attitude.’
A third user wrote, “Major problem with the Freestyle Libre 2 app that has been pulled from the app store and is not working. They know there’s a problem and they have our information, but they don’t say anything publicly despite the fact that this is a life-threatening problem.’
The NHS says 200,000 people use these types of sensors, provided by the health service for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Abbott said, “Some UK customers are unable to successfully upgrade to the latest version of the FreeStyle LibreLink iOS app. We have temporarily removed it from the iOS app store while we work on solutions.”