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


Collector for ArcGIS stores offline replicas in a SQLite database or runtime geodatabase (as .geodatabase files) before they are synchronized back to the feature service. In the case where offline edits cannot be synchronized, the locally stored edits can be extracted from the mobile device and converted to a file geodatabase. The instructions below describe the 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. Please also contact Esri Technical Support to provide an analyst with device information and details on how the error occurred.


Recover runtime geodatabase from device

For iOS:

  1. Open iTunes and ensure the device is connected. You may need to follow prompts on the device first.
  2. Select File Sharing from the settings menu.
  3. Select Collector.
  4. Select the folder that corresponds to the ArcGIS Online username.
  5. Save this to a location on the local machine.
User-added image
User-added image
In versions of iTunes older than 12.7, the interface is slightly 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 > Offline Data.
    For example:
Computer\<Name of phone>\Phone\ArcGIS_Collector\offline_data
  1. Copy the entire folder containing the .geodatabase file from the device and paste it to the local machine. Ensure a .geodatabase file is inside the folder first, as seen 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

ArcGIS Pro:
As of ArcGIS Pro 2.1, Feature Service sync is now available. Use the following steps to attempt to sync the edits recovered above:
  1. Follow the steps above specific to the device to recover the runtime geodatabase.
  2. Open ArcGIS Pro.
  3. Sign into 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.

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