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Since CommCare is an engine for running individual applications, there are two things that could be meant when referring to updating an existing application CommCare installation. We'll refer to them as

  • Upgrading: The process of replacing the actual installed application binary (CommCare 1.3.0 to CommCare 1.3.1, for instance)
  • Updating: The process of replacing a specific deployment's resource files (Version 34 on the release manager to Version 38)

This page provides a guide on how to perform each of these processes, and some of the gotchas which could come up when doing so

Upgrading CommCare

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

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 apps will need to be re-created in the new format entirely, the old resources 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.
So CommCare Version 1.3.2 has a major Version of 1, a minor version of 3, and a maintenance version of 2. You only need to be concerned about the highest level updated when determining the steps. When updating from version 1.2.1 to version 1.3.2, the upgrade is a Minor version upgrade only, the Maintenance upgrade is irrelevant in terms of steps which need to be taken
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.

Upgrading on J2ME

Major Version (1.N.N -> 2.N.N)


Minor Version (1.1.N -> 1.2.N)


Maintenance Version (1.1.1 -> 1.1.2)


Upgrading on Android

New releases of CommCare ODK on Android will be provided by the Android Market, as long as the application was installed from there. The app can be configured to update automatically or upgrades can be chosen manually. Since Android phones will install CommCare through the market, only the latest of each supported
major release will generally be available. Specific major and minor versions can always be downloaded manually from Dimagi's build server, but shouldn't be necessary.

Major Version (1.N.N -> 2.N.N)

The process for a major version upgrade is to install the new CommCare ODK application for the market and install the new application into it.

Minor Version (1.1.N -> 1.2.N)

Minor version upgrades may require the application to re-fetch resources or user data from the remote server when run the first time after an upgrade. CommCare should be started immediately after an upgrade (while data is available) to handle any changes which might need connectivity.

Maintenance Version (1.1.1 -> 1.1.2)

No manual steps should be necessary.

Updating Your Application


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