Encrypted form results or attachments (jpg etc.) not being saved on the KoBoToolbox server

Really urgent now

I sent a support request last week your from here Contact | KoboToolbox, I’m following up today as the situation has now become urgent.

We realised our form submissions were not working, and had not since ~18 October, with no encrypted form results or attachments (jpg etc.) being saved on the KoBoToolbox server, only a submission timestamp record and nothing being downloaded by ODK Briefcase.

On logging in last week in I noticed that we had hit 10GB in storage (above the 5GB for our account) and assumed this was the reason. I completed a clean-up of the server projects, deleting some submissions and our storage was 1.58GB / 5GB.

This didn’t resolve the issue so today we signed up and paid for a professional plan. We still can’t submit from our tablets or retrieve, The API shows no attachment locations on re-submitted forms.

On submitting new test submissions from KoboCollect tablets a few minutes ago the Briefcase Pull from these forms remain empty, without form data and attachments.

Our research project has been running since 2021 and is due finish up early next year, KoBoToolbox has proved to be a reliable and invaluable tool, indeed we could not have conducted our research without it.

We‘re now desperate to begin form field submissions again, and obviously we need to be able to recover this data via the KoBoToolbox server. We’d appreciate any assistance in restoring normal function to our account (name: spsintvi), any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the community, @spsintvi!

Seems like you are having submission issues. Could you also let us know the server you are using? Do you get any error messages when submitting your data to the server? If yes, could you kindly share a screenshot with us? That should help us troubleshoot.

We’re using kc.kobotoolbox.org/spsintvi - there are no errors when we send a form from ODK Collect, or from the online form. Looking at the API I can see that the submission.xml.enc and any media files (e.g. 1676984472313.jpg.enc) are not written to the server and no download_url is available.

@spsintvi, did you mean your images are not accessible from the server (i.e. you can not download the images) nor do you get the media URL when downloading the data in XLS format? Kindly please correct me if I understood you wrongly.


Welcome to the community, @ABOBEE! Could you kindly elaborate/describe your issue?

Hi Kal, thanks for your reply. Yes, the images are not accessible from the server and there is no media url when downloading.

@spsintvi, would you mind sharing with me the following information through a private message so that I could have a closer look at your case:

  • Username
  • Project name
  • Server

Note: You could share with me a private message as outlined in the post discussed previously:

@spsintvi, you are seeing the following as shown in the screenshot …

… because it’s an encrypted form. You will need to decrypt as outlined in the support article Encrypting Forms.

Hi @Kal_Lam, I’m aware it’s encrypted. As stated before in the original post, we’re still not able to submit new results or attachments. Can you confirm if there’s a lock on our account or anything like that?

Hi Kal, as simply as I can put it:

  1. When we submit from a tablet it appears to be successful (our forms are encrypted)
  2. However all that appears on the Kobotoolbox server is the metadata for the submission, no attachments are uploaded. Therefore downloads from briefcase do not contain the survey results or any related attachments.
  3. This behaviour began when we were notified that we were above the storage limit, we’ve now reduced that storage and paid for the service

We have hundreds of responses stored on tablets now and we’re desperate to have them send correctly to the Kobo server, and then recover and decrypt via briefcase (which we have not been able to do for several weeks now).

Could it be that there’s a storage limit in force on the KoboToolbox server which needs lifted?

From the API, it’s clear that the sent form and attachments aren’t being saved on the Kobo server - this is the case for all forms, which were working properly before October 18, when the account was locked, I assume as we were over the storage limit. We understand we cannot see the encrypted results on the Kobo server until we download and decrypt. However the API makes it clear that something has changed since 18 October.

Good submission 18 October:

Failing submissions 18 & 23 October:

H, do you have any updates on this issue? (see below)

We are still unable to upload (send) instances from tablets.


@spsintvi, thank you for your patience. So, do you mean your attachments are missing from the encrypted form? Would you mind trying to download the attachments again? We had a bug that has already been resolved which should solve this issue.

Let me know if there is anything else that we could help you out with.

Hi Kal,

Yes, attachments are still missing from the encrypted form. Including images and encrypted form submissions themselves (submission.xml.enc).

The ODK briefcase cache files show that we do not pull any files for those forms affected - as indicated in the API output above, the KoboToolbox server does not show any download links for the encrypted files (including the form submissions.

If I connect to a tablet directly I can see the .enc files on the tablet, and when we send from the tablet it appears to succeed, but nothing showing up on the Kobo end.

Nothing has changed at our side (on our Tablets or in ODK Briefcase).

As I mentioned before this is now very urgent for this project, such that we’re beginning to look into alternative methods, despite having now signed up for the paid service. Can you give us an estimated time to resolve this?

With thanks

Hello @spsintvi,

We apologize for the delay. We are looking at your issue and should get back to you promptly.

EDIT: Rest assured that your data is not lost and everything is saved on the server. It’s a bug in the API which hides encrypted files. We are working on a solution to fix it and let you know as soon as it’s released on our servers.

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Everything for your existing submissions should now be correct; we are deploying a fix now that will handle subsequently-arriving submissions. Thanks again for your patience.

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The fix has now been deployed to both Global and EU servers thanks to @nolive. It’s quite late for our team, so we will post release notes tomorrow.

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Thanks jnm, we’ll do some testing today and update you here.

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