Obsolete forms aren't purged from the KoboCollect app

I’ve iterated through a number of versions of a data collection form. In the KoBoCollect app, under Form Management, all my users have the following settings

  • Blank form update mode: Exactly match server
  • Automatic update frequency: Every 24 hours
  • Automatic download: (Yes)
  • Hide old form versions: Yes

The forms has automatic versioning. We’re all using KoBoCollect version 1.29.3 (the most recent on the Google PlayStore)

What I’m finding is that the form is reverting to an older version. Some days it’ll be fine. Most days it’s not, and under Fill Blank Form we have to use the refresh button to get the current version. Going offline is most likely to trigger the reversion.

I’ve looked at How do I delete old forms from mobile app? but this doesn’t help - there is only Saved Forms where the answer suggests there should also be Blank Forms. (Perhaps this was for a previous version of the KoboCollect software?)

1… Given the settings I have got to keep the forms as uptodate as possible why are older instances of a form kept on the phone at all?
2. Why does the application keep reverting to an older instance of a form?
3. How do I fix this so that my users are guaranteed to have only the most recent instance of a form?



@roaima, it’s strange to see this. My hunch here is that maybe your device could not pull the latest version of your survey form and was stuck with the earlier version of the survey form when it did not have an internet connection. Can you ensure again that your device was connected to the internet 24/7?

My phone has remained connected to the Internet since I first posted my question a couple of hours ago. I see that KoBoCollect has already reverted to the March 11 19:48 version. If I use ⟳ Refresh then the correct version of the form is displayed in the list.

Ah. More information. Sporadically I get a “Document has no root element!” error. At this point the form reverts to the older version. However, if I repeat the ⟳ Refresh then the correct version of the form is displayed in the list without error. At least, until the next time the problem reoccurs.


The form was created through XLSForm and uses two external look-up files. I can give you a copy of the form privately (and associated sample data) but I would prefer it wasn’t posted here.

Would you mind checking the same with the ODK Collect android app and see how it behaves?

Installed. I don’t think this will highlight the issue directly, though, as ODK Collect only has one version of the form. I’ll see if I can make some changes to a test form and watch those propagate through.

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@Kal_Lam it seems that ODK Collect behaves correctly. I have three staff plus myself using O-C instead of KoBoCollect and the problems described here have stopped happening for us, despite forms still being occasionally updated.

@roaima, we had a recent upgrade with KoBoCollect android app to v1.30.1. Would you mind testing the same there too? It should solve your issue.

Hi @Kal_Lam thank you for the news. We’ll test but it may be another few days before I get back to you

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Hello @Kal_Lam. Thank you for bearing with me. Most of my field staff have updated and I’m no longer seeing older versions of the templates being used. I have five staff still sending older templates so I’m investigating what’s happening there (I suspect they just haven’t updated the app).


As you probable know, this will happen if the started a form before the new update/deployment. You could see this in the start field (metadata) of the submission.

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Yes thanks. In my case the most recent form update was a few weeks ago.

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In that case @roaima just update when you done with investigating so that we can document the whole scenario within this thread.

I’m experiencing the same problem

Could you describe your issue for the community, @nejobest?