SunSmart Global UV app downloads soar in Aussie summer

News / Davina Montgomery / February 14, 2024

Empowering individuals worldwide to protect themselves against skin cancer the SunSmart Global UV app marks its first anniversary in Australia this week.

Since the free SunSmart Global UV app launched, it has been downloaded more than 360,000 times (368,511) globally.

In the lead-up to Australian summer (1st November – 31st December 2023) when the UV index consistently reaches extreme levels, the app was downloaded almost 35,000 times by Aussies with close to 100,000 (97,895) active users each month checking UV levels to protect themselves.

The app tailors the times of day when sun protection is recommended to any location and has the potential to save lives across the globe.


The work – and the app updates – are ongoing

Developed in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria’s SunSmart program, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), The Bureau of Meteorology (The Bureau), and Deakin University’s Applied AI Institute (A2I2), the app takes a worldwide approach to UV reporting and public health messaging.

Project Manager at Deakin’s Applied AI Institute, Andrew Vouliotis, said the challenge in developing the SunSmart Global UV app was finding a way to deliver clear messaging that was readily understandable to a global audience.

“We worked closely with experts at the SunSmart program, the Bureau of Meteorology and ARPANSA to develop a creative way to make global UV data accessible.”

Recognising a UV knowledge gap, the Cancer Council Victoria’s SunSmart program was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), to develop the app.

“We are extremely privileged to work with these organisations to share Australian expertise in SunSmart messaging around the world.

“Over the past year, we have been listening to user feedback on what works well and what could be improved on the app, with some exciting updates coming soon,” Mr Vouliotis said.

The SunSmart Global UV App project was delivered through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living at Deakin University.


A2I2 Project Manager, Andrew Vouliotis, holds the SunSmart Global UV app under an umbrella on a sunny day with his hat in the foreground.
A2I2 Product Manager, Andrew Vouliotis, says there are exciting developments to come for the SunSmart Global UV app.


Australia leading the world in sun protection advice

The highest number of app downloads is in Australia, with almost 200,000 (198,833) people downloading the app to get real-time UV and sun protection advice at their fingertips said Head of SunSmart Victoria, Emma Glassenbury.

“Being outdoors in Australia means we’re exposed to some of the harshest and most dangerous levels of UV radiation in the world, and this is reflected in our skin cancer rates with more than two in three Aussies diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.

“Exposure to UV radiation is responsible for 95% of melanoma and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers, yet too many people are unaware of what the UV level is where they are and when to cover up to prevent skin cancer,” said Ms Glassenbury.

SunSmart Victoria developed the SunSmart Global UV app to guide more people to be sun protective when the UV is likely to cause damage. This will in turn reduce the number of people developing skin cancer and experiencing UV-related eye damage.


Blue graphic tile showing a hand holding the SunSmart Global UV app under a flag banner. Tile text: SunSmart Global UV app turns one!


Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, and Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Sinclair, said the development and launch of the SunSmart Global UV app is a positive example of Victoria’s ongoing leadership in skin cancer prevention on a global scale, and highlights the innovative use of technology to protect the health of communities worldwide.

“We’re a recognised global leader in skin cancer prevention, drawing on decades of experience to innovate new ways of sharing knowledge to change behaviours and reduce the burden of skin cancer –and this app is another tool to help.

“After seeing a decline in melanoma rates in Australians aged under 40 years who have grown up with skin prevention programs like SunSmart, we know the power of sun protection campaigns and interventions in reducing the impact of UV radiation,” Adj Assoc Professor Sinclair said.


Skin cancer is a preventable health burden

Globally, skin cancers are the most commonly diagnosed group of cancers¹ and an unnecessary burden to people and health systems given they can be prevented through reducing UV exposure and using sun protection.

The app uses forecast information from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and live UV data from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to provide sun protection times across Australia and the world said APANSA Director of Radiation Research and Advice and Associate Professor Sarah Loughran.

“Even when UV reaches extreme levels, it can’t be seen or felt, but through the free app people receive real-time, location specific updates so they know when the UV index hits 3 sun protection is required,” said Ms Loughran.

Outside of Australia, the top countries with the most app downloads are Germany (28,884), Spain (19,942), the United States (11,917), Egypt (10,832), and Italy (7,735).

The SunSmart Global UV app is free for download through Apple and Google Play Stores and is available in eight languages including English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Chinese, and Russian.

“If you haven’t yet downloaded the app, download it today and always check it before you head outdoors. When the UV is 3 and above, it’s important to Slip on sun-protective clothing, Slop on broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade, and Slide on sunglasses,” said Ms Glassenbury.

For more information or to download the app, visit:

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