Sync and manage offline map areas

Mobile workers in areas without a reliable data connection, or with no data connection at all, download map areas to their device to capture assets, record observations, and perform inspections. Once they have finished their collection, the changes are only on their device. They need to sync to make the changes available to other mobile workers as well as workers in the office. In some scenarios, mobile workers also need to get changes made by others onto their devices, keeping their map current. This is also done when the map area is synced.

When you're done working with a downloaded map area, remove the map area from the device. If you copied a basemap to the device, remove the copied basemap.

Sync your work

Sync allows you to send and receive updates for maps you've downloaded. Anytime you regain connectivity and want to check for new updates or send your updates for other people to see, sync the map either while editing it or from the list of maps. You can also enable automatic syncing so that your map syncs whenever it has a data connection.

  • While working in the map, tap Sync Sync (when there aren't pending edits) (Sync (when there are pending edits) if you have edits that aren't synced) to open the Sync panel. In the panel, review the edits you made (if any) and tap Sync.
    Sync panel

    Enable automatic sync if you want sync to happen when you have a data connection.

    If Sync is disabled in the panel, the map is configured to limit the data retrieved from the server and you don't have any local edits.

  • In the list of maps, find the map area you want to sync. If it has local edits, you'll see the count of them. Tap the map's Overflow menu Overflow and tap Sync.
    Map with outstanding edits

If after you sync you aren't seeing any features other than those you've added, or aren't seeing attachments for features you are not currently working on, the map may be configured to limit the data retrieved from the server. See Optimize download and sync.

Remove downloaded map areas

You may need to remove a downloaded map area because you're finished with it, updates have been made to the map (not just its data), it's taking up too much space on your device, you want to use it while connected, or you're finished using the device and you're handing it off to a coworker.


Map areas aren't removed when you sign out, but they are associated with your account and are not available to other mobile workers. However, if left on the device, they do take up space, and the same mobile worker must sign in to remove them.

To use a map while connected, it can't have defined offline areas, and you must remove all downloaded map areas.

  1. In the list of maps, find the map you want to remove a map area from, and tap it.
  2. In the map's list of map areas, find the map area you want to remove from your device and tap its Overflow menu Overflow.
  3. Tap Remove area.
  4. If you have pending edits, you're prompted to remove them as well. To sync them before removing the map area, cancel the removal and sync the pending edits. Then remove the map area.

Remove basemaps copied to the device

If you copied a basemap to the device (sideloaded it), you'll need to follow similar steps to remove it. Keep in mind that basemaps copied to the device are available for all mobile workers using Collector, and removing one removes it for all of them. You can remove basemaps from the device using the Files app or iTunes. You must restart Collector on your device to see the updates made to the basemaps.

  • Files app—In the Files app, browse to your device, open the Collector folder, and open the Basemaps folder. Delete the folder for the basemap you want to remove. For complete steps, see Apple Support for details on using the Files app on your device.
  • iTunes—Connect your device to your computer and go to your device in iTunes. Browse to the files shared with it and select the Collector app. Copied basemaps are moved into a Basemaps folder by Collector. To remove all copied basemaps, remove that folder. To remove specific basemaps, download that folder to your computer and delete it from your device, update its contents on your computer, and upload it to your device again (by dragging it to the Collector documents in iTunes). This restores the basemaps remaining in the folder to the device. For complete steps, see Apple Support for details on using iTunes to share files between your computer and your device.
    Basemaps folder in iTunes

In the Basemaps folder for Collector, you'll see a list of folders named by unique identifiers. Each folder contains a basemap that was copied to the device. Open the folders to find the basemap you want to remove, and delete the folder that contains it.


The following are tips to help you sync your data:

  • Use Auto-sync to avoid forgetting to sync—Encourage the use of automatic sync. This saves mobile workers from having to remember to sync, or keeping an eye on their data connection to see if they can sync. The app syncs for them when it has a data connection.
  • Consider the photo resolution required for your assets, observations, or inspections. You can specify a smaller photo size to help reduce the amount of data transferred when syncing.
  • If multiple mobile workers edit the same data in the field, the way sync is handled depends on how the data is stored. For hosted feature layers and archive-enabled, nonversioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service, the last edit synced is preserved. For versioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service, the database administrator manages conflicting changes through reconciling and posting. If you are concerned about multiple field staff editing the same data, it is recommended that you use versioned data in an ArcGIS Server feature service. See Offline maps and traditional versioned data.
  • If mobile workers experience sync issues, enable logging. To enable logging, go to the profile in Collector, tap Troubleshooting, and enable Logging. Retry the sync operation that was failing, and the log (visible in the Troubleshooting section) contains details of the failure. This log can be shared with an administrator.
  • If mobile workers experience sync issues and need to get data off a device, see How to access offline edits from ArcGIS Collector directly from an Android or iOS device.

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