COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technology worldwide, with global governments also adhering and integrating technology into government-coordinated containment and mitigation processes including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, and strict quarantine. Digital tools have also helped in monitoring and anticipating the spread of the disease. However, the technology integration must comply under the principles of privacy, and should have a transparent, open and inclusive decision-making processes. COVID-19 digital apps have currently limited evidence to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of these tools despite that several countries have deployed digital tools for their COVID-19 response. It is important to have adequate regulatory oversight of digital tools and technologies for contact tracing as they carry the potential to do harm through privacy breaches. The present study provides a comprehensive assessment and highlights the importance of digital apps in response to COVID-19 pandemic across global settings along with characterizing different functions and challenges within each app. Additionally, the study also analyses the readability indices and text statistics of the privacy policies of the COVID-19 apps and highlights the fact that most of the privacy policies of COVID-19 apps are difficult to read and comprehend for most of the people. Further, this study will provide insights on how digital apps are incorporated into COVID-19 control strategies, and help prepare for future epidemics along with emphasising the need for an adequate regulatory governance of digital tools and technologies for contact tracing as they carry the potential to do harm through privacy breaches.