Access offline edits from Collector for ArcGIS directly from an Android or iOS device

Last Published: December 10, 2021


Collector for ArcGIS stores offline replicas in a SQLite database or runtime geodatabase (as .geodatabase files) before they are synchronized to the feature service. In the event the offline edits cannot be synchronized, the locally stored edits are extracted from the mobile device and converted to a file geodatabase. The instructions below describe steps to do this in Collector for ArcGIS on both the iOS and Android operating systems.

These instructions are a last option to salvage data from the device. Contact Esri Technical Support for help with device information and errors.


Recover runtime geodatabase from device

For iOS:

  1. Connect the iOS device to the PC, open iTunes and follow the prompts on the device.
  2. From the settings menu select File Sharing.
  3. Select Collector.
  4. Select the folder that corresponds to the ArcGIS Online username.
  5. Save the folder to a location on the local machine.
iTunes settings interface
User-added image
In iTunes versions older than 12.7, the interface is different. Instead of selecting File Sharing (step 2), select Apps.

For Android:

  1. Connect the Android device to the PC.
  2. Browse to the ArcGIS Collector folder.
    For example:
<Name of phone>\Phone\Android\data\com.esri.collector\files\<username>
  1. Copy the entire folder containing the .geodatabase file from the device and paste it on the local machine. Ensure a .geodatabase file is inside the folder first, as shown below:
User-added image
If unable to browse files using the Android device, install a file explorer application to access the data.

Working with or converting recovered data

In ArcGIS Pro

As of ArcGIS Pro 2.1, Feature Service sync is now available. Use the following steps to sync the edits recovered above:

  1. Recover the runtime geodatabase (based on the operating device explained above).
  2. Open ArcGIS Pro.
  3. Sign in to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS as the user that downloaded and made the offline edits in Collector.
  4. In the Catalog window, navigate to the folder location of the recovered runtime geodatabase. Drag and drop to add the layer(s) to a new map view in Pro.
  5. On the ribbon, choose the Map tab. In the Offline group, the Sync and Remove tools should become active when a valid offline dataset is added to the map contents.
  6. Click Sync.

Alternatively, use the following steps to convert the runtime geodatabase to a file geodatabase:

  1. In ArcGIS Pro, search for the tool Export XML Workspace Document.
  2. In Input data, drag and drop the .geodatabase file from your device (you must drag and drop it in the white line below Input data because you won’t be able to find it using the Open button).
  3. Choose a location for the output .xml file. Leave all other options by default.
  4. Once done, open the tool Import XML Workspace Document (Data Management > Distributed Geodatabase).
  5. In Target GDB, put the location of the geodatabase to contain all the exported data (the tool automatically creates one if it doesn’t exist in the specified folder). Always use a blank GDB.
  6. In Import file, put the .xml file created earlier. Leave other options by default.
  7. You should now have a file geodatabase containing all the data


In ArcMap, use the runtime geodatabase recovered from the device as the input for the Copy Runtime Geodatabase to File Geodatabase Tool. The output of this tool is a file geodatabase containing any unsynchronized edits and photo attachments that can now be migrated back into the original database if necessary.

The Copy Runtime Geodatabase to File Geodatabase geoprocessing tool is available at version 10.3 of ArcGIS Desktop with all license levels: Basic, Standard, or Advanced, yet all geoprocessing tools in the Attachments toolset require an ArcGIS for Desktop Standard or Advanced license.

Article ID:000012460

  • ArcGIS Collector
  • ArcMap
  • ArcGIS Pro

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