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Dimagi releases upgrades to CommCare Mobile approximately once a month.  We recommend upgrading to the latest version whenever possible.

Note: Updating the CommCare software is different from updating a CommCare application!

There are two components to CommCare:

1- the CommCare software which is the the shell of the program. CommCare mobile client is the same for all projects.

2- the CommCare content which is often referred to as the "application" (forms, case management, multimedia, etc.)

These instructions are for the mobile device software component. For instructions on updating your CommCare app, see this page.

Updating CommCare Software for Android Smartphones

Android phones will upgrade to the new version automatically if the "update automatically" checkbox is selected in the Google Play store.  If your CommCare application is not automatically updating to the latest version, find the CommCare application in the google play store/marketplace and click on "update."

It is not necessary to update the CommCare version on HQ under Application Settings- just leave it in its default state unless advised differently by a Dimagi engineer.

Should I choose "automatically update" in the Play Store?

In general it can be helpful to have your application set to automatically update because in each new version there are a series of bug fixes which improve the stability of CommCare. If your project is in an area with fairly good network coverage where everyone is using their phones regularly, then it is advisable to opt for automatic updating.

Updating CommCare Software for Feature Phones (Java/J2ME/Nokia)

Change the version of your application on CommCareHQ to the most recent version of CommCare under the application's Advanced Application Settings (the highest number available; it should have a star next to it that turns yellow when clicking on it and "Latest" will appear next to it).  Go to "Deploy" and make a new version.  Install this version on the phones.

Update Process

  1. Open the CommCare application on the phone and you'll get to the login screen
  2. Click "Options" at the bottom left
  3. Select "Tools"
  4. Select the first option: "Check for Updates"
  5. If there is a new version available it will ask if you want to update
  6. Click "Yes" for update


  • If getting an error while trying to update, check connectivity by doing a "Network Test" 
  • If there is network connectivity and update still gives an error, make sure CommCare Version is the same on the deploy page on commcarehq as well as on the phone, otherwise it won't work
  • If update still doesn't work, use the Re-installation as described below

Re-installation Process

  1. Ensure that connectivity is available on the device
  2. Log in on the phone with the existing version, and make sure that there are no pending forms awaiting submission to the server
  3. Remove the existing installation on the device
  4. Install the new version of CommCare, and configure all device permissions as necessary
  5. Start up CommCare, and choose to restore user data from the server. Enter the name and password of the user and recover their data from HQ.

CommCare Software Naming Conventions

CommCare is changed over time to add new features and fix bugs in previous code. You'll need to upgrade the binary application files in order to take advantage of those features, or get the bugfixes. Some features will be available simply by upgrading the CommCare software. Others may also require updating the application's resource files to enable the features.

Each CommCare application has three version numbers in the format A.B.C where each stands for the following types of changes

  • A: Major Version
    • Structural updates to how and what data is stored by the application. Existing content will need to be re-created or updated to the new format, the old content format can't be used.
  • B: Minor Version
    • Additions to how and what data is stored by the applicaiton to enable new features. Existing apps will still work, but may need to be re-installed. User data should be restored from the server.
  • C: Maintenance Version
    • Bug fixes and minor changes. Other than replacing the existing binary, no other changes are generally necessary.
For example, CommCare Version 1.3.2 has a major Version of 1, a minor version of 3, and a maintenance version of 2. How to update your CommCare installation will depend on the platform (j2me v. Android) that you are currently running on, how the application was installed, and what CommCare version is currently installed.
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