Offline Install of CommCare on Android

The ability to install CommCare offline (e.g. without using the Google Play Store) can be useful in a variety of situations:

  1. You want to install CommCare at a time when you don't have access to the Play Store (note that you will still need an internet connection on your computer in order to access the Dimagi build server).
  2. You want to install an older version of CommCare that is no longer on the Play Store
  3. You want to install a custom build that a developer has prepared for you/your project and placed on the build server.
  4. You want to install the version of CommCare that is currently under development  (NOTE: this will always be an unstable, un-QA'ed build that the dev team will not accept bug reports for. Downloading this build should be reserved for specific instances where you have been instructed to do so, or if you just want to try out/see something that is in progress without relying on its stability).

For all of the preceding use cases, follow the step-by-step instructions below. Otherwise the standard instructions for installation can be found at Install CommCare for Android Smartphones.

Obtaining a specific version of CommCare for Android:

From GitHub:

If you find yourself in situation 1) or 2) from above, obtaining the CommCare apk from the GitHub releases page is the easiest option. Note, you won't be able to find versions of CommCare that are unreleased or currently under development.
To download the apk:

  1. Navigate to https://github.com/dimagi/commcare-android/releases
  2. Find the version of CommCare you would like to install. The latest release entry corresponds to the version on the Play Store.
  3. Under the "Downloads" section of the desired release, click the link that ends in ".apk". For example: "CommCare_2.27.2.apk"

From Jenkins, our build server:

  1. Go to https://jenkins.dimagi.com/ ON A COMPUTER (NOTE: The build server hosts the apk files in an odd way. You cannot simply download the file from the phone's browser. It will not work.)
  2. Determine which version of CommCare you want to install:
    1. If you know the specific build that you want to install (either a specific version of CommCare, or the name of a custom build that has been created for you, select that version from the list you see. 
    2. If you want to install the version of CommCare most recently released on the play store, select the version of commcare-android-2.xx where xx is the highest number you see (you can also double check what the most recent version is by going to the play store page for CommCare, if you currently have access to it).
    3. If you want to install the version of CommCare that is currently in dev, select the item called commcare-android.
  3. Click on the build of your choice above. Regardless of which you chose, you will see on the left side of the page a table called "Build History". Select the build from that list entitled "CommCare 2.xx" (will always correspond to whatever version you already selected), or just the top-most build if you are downloading the dev build or a custom build.
  4. At the top-middle of the next page you will see a heading entitled "Build Artifacts". Click on the .apk file you see there entitled "commcare-android-2.xx-release.apk" or just "commcare-android-commcare-release.apk" for the dev build. You do NOT want a version with the word "unaligned" in it

Installing the downloaded .apk on your device:

  1. Enable your device to install applications from unknown sources by ensuring that Unknown sources is turned on on your device; the location for this will vary by device, but should either be under the Settings -> Applications menu or Settings -> Security menu.
  2. Once your chosen .apk has downloaded, copy the file onto your device in 1 of 2 ways:
    1. Using Dropbox: Ensure you have the Dropbox app installed on your deivce and a valid Dropbox account. Add the APK file to your Dropbox account from your computer. Once it is uploaded, open the Dropbox app on your phone and find the file there.
    2. Using a USB connection: Follow the instructions here to simply drag the file from your computer to your device.
  3. Use a file browser on your device to navigate to the location where you saved the .apk, click on the file, and then follow the installation prompts to complete installation.
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