Losing repeat entries after app sleeps

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07-13-2021 08:49 AM
Michael_Lowry
New Contributor II

I use a repeat to record plant species within a survey area, and I often end up with at least 100 entries in that repeat. Throughout the course of a survey, there are often times that I use a different app or have the tablet's screen turned off for 15 minutes or more. It seems that whenever I do this, the Survey123 app goes to sleep, because when I return to the app, the splash/loading screen displays and then I'm presented with the option of recovering the saved draft. Most of the time, this recovered draft is missing up to a dozen of the most recent repeat entries, and I'm not always able to remember all of the missing data.

Interestingly enough, this problem only seems to occur on one of the tablets my crew uses: a Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2. We have not yet seen this problem with our older tablets.

Is there a way to prevent losing this repeat data?

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @Michael_Lowry,

The best way to avoid losing data before switching to another app is to save the survey as a draft, and then switch applications. This will ensure all currently entered data is saved and available when you open the draft again.

The autorecover uses a last known saved point to restore what was in the survey when the app was closed unexpectantly or removed from memory (closed in background). The autosave only works for some questions types, as needs an input box to be triggered each focus change.

The way applications are put to sleep and managed in background is bit of a "black hole" and is different on different devices (makes/models) and different OS versions. The OS will decide when to close the application and clear the memory is use, in some cases depending on how forceful this is, it could mean unsaved data is lost. That is why it is always best to save the draft first, to ensure any data in memory is saved, before putting the app in background.

Regards,

Phil.

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @Michael_Lowry,

The best way to avoid losing data before switching to another app is to save the survey as a draft, and then switch applications. This will ensure all currently entered data is saved and available when you open the draft again.

The autorecover uses a last known saved point to restore what was in the survey when the app was closed unexpectantly or removed from memory (closed in background). The autosave only works for some questions types, as needs an input box to be triggered each focus change.

The way applications are put to sleep and managed in background is bit of a "black hole" and is different on different devices (makes/models) and different OS versions. The OS will decide when to close the application and clear the memory is use, in some cases depending on how forceful this is, it could mean unsaved data is lost. That is why it is always best to save the draft first, to ensure any data in memory is saved, before putting the app in background.

Regards,

Phil.

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Strahanjen
Occasional Contributor

@Philip-Wilson We're experiencing this issue as well on iPads. If the iPad sleeps or the user switches apps, Survey123 restarts and the user has to recover the current survey. Your solutions of saving in draft mode regularly is problematic for two reasons:

1. The user would potentially need to do this 70+ times per survey to ensure that all species are saved between making observations and walking to the next spot. All of the time waiting for the survey to reopen and get back to the vegetation survey page adds up.

2. The close survey dialog that has the option to "Save in Drafts" also includes a "Close and lose changes" button prominently at the top. If the user has to save a draft 50 times in a day, there is a high probability that the user will accidentally click the "Close and lose changes" button at some point. If the user clicks that button, all is lost in an instant without any confirmation that the user really does want to delete the survey. For this reason, I strongly recommend that users do not use the close survey option. It is far too risky. 

Does ESRI have any plans to add a confirmation to the "close and lose changes" option? Until we have this in place, our users may have to use paper forms. 

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