Using Collect Settings

Collect has many settings to support a number of different data collection workflows. Settings are specific to each project and are separated into general and protected settings. Protected settings make it possible to remove access to certain parts of Collect and can be password-protected.

Settings for the current project are accessed from the project list dialog:

Project Icon ‣ Settings

Access settings by tapping the project icon and then the Settings button

General Settings

Server Settings

Server settings configure the connection to an OpenRosa server (Central, etc) or a Google Drive account.

To access Server Settings:

Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ Server

Server settings

Project Display Settings

Project display settings control the name of the current project as well as the appearance of its icon in the upper right of the main screen.

To access Project Display Settings: Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ Project Display

Project display settings

User Interface Settings

User Interface settings control Collect's appearance and behavior.

To access User Interface settings:

Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ User interface

User Interface settings


Selects the color scheme the app will use. The default Use device theme option (added in ODK Collect v2021.3) uses the device's color theme (based on the the Dark theme system setting in Android 10 and above).

The main menu, with the light theme enabled. The main menu, with the dark theme enabled.


Forces the Collect interface to use a specific language. By default, Collect matches the device language. Note that this only sets the language for the Collect user interface and not for the form. For forms with multiple languages, the form language is set while filling out the form.


Collect's translations are provided by the ODK community through the Transifex service. You can join Transifex to add or correct translations in your language.

Text font size

Sets the size of fonts used in the form-filling interface.

Splash Screen

Sets an image to display while Collect loads.

Maps Settings

Maps settings configure the maps shown by the location question types.

To access Maps settings:
Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ Maps


Prior to ODK Collect v1.23, map settings were available in the User Interface Settings. The basemap was configured by first selecting a Mapping SDK and then a Basemap.

Basemap settings

Basemap settings configure the background of maps shown by the location question types. Basemaps are provided by several different Sources which may each make several different map Styles available. A basemap is intended to provide details that help users orient a map and to make the map easy to use in a particular data collection environment. For example, if the data to be collected relates to elevation, consider selecting a topographic basemap.


A basemap source provides one or more map styles:

Reference layer settings

Reference layer settings configure map data shown on top of the basemap. Currently, a reference layer can only be defined by an offline MBTiles file as described in Using Offline Maps. The reference layer will appear when the zoom level is within the range supported by the file. If a reference layer has no transparency, it will fully cover the basemap selected above and behave like an offline basemap. Vector MBTiles files will only be available in the Layer data file menu if a Mapbox basemap is selected. Raster MBTiles files will be available for any basemap source and style.

Form Management Settings

Form Management settings control default behavior when editing, finalizing, and importing forms.

To access Form Management settings:

Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ Form management

Form Management settings Form Management settings

Form update

Blank form update mode

Specifies how blank forms should be updated:

The default mode in Collect. Enumerators manually manage blank forms on the device using Get Blank Form and Delete Saved Form.
Previously downloaded forms only
Enumerators will receive a notification when one or more forms on the device have an update available to their form definition or media files. Tapping on the notification will go to Get Blank Form where the user can choose to download some or all of the updated forms.
Exactly match server
Collect will automatically download and update forms based on what's on the server. In addition, forms not on the server will be deleted from Collect. This mode hides Get Blank Form and the Blank Forms tab in Delete Saved Form as they are not required. The enumerator can trigger an update from the server on the Fill Blank Form screen. Filled instances of blank forms deleted during server updates will still be editable.


If your server is configured to provide the exact set of forms enumerators need and you'd like to ensure they always have the most up to date versions on device then we'd recommend using Exactly match server.

However, if your server is set up to provide forms that aren't relevant to every enumerator then we'd recommend using Previously downloaded forms only (ideally with Automatic download) so that enumerators are still notified when the forms they do use are updated.

Manually makes the most sense when forms only need to be downloaded once and will never change or if you are extremely bandwidth-limited.

Automatic update frequency

Specifies how frequently Collect should check for updates to the forms on the server when using Previously downloaded forms only or Exactly match server. This option is not available if Manually is selected.

Automatic download

Only available if Previously downloaded forms only is selected. When Automatic download is enabled, the form update check will trigger an automatic download of any forms on the device that have updated definitions or media files. The user will receive a notification when the automatic download completes with either a success or failure. Tapping on the notification will go to Get Blank Form where the user will see success or failure messages for each form for which an update was attempted.

Hide old form versions

When enabled, if there are multiple versions of the same form, only the most recently downloaded will be displayed on the Fill Blank Form screen.

Form submission

Auto send

When enabled, forms are sent immediately when they are finalized, if the device can connect to the internet. If an internet connection is not available at the time of finalization, your finalized forms will be queued to send as soon as connectivity is established. You can specify whether to send over WiFi, cellular data, or both.

Delete after send

When enabled, form instances are deleted once they are sent.

Form filling

Default to finalized

When enabled, records are set to be finalized when saved at the end of a form-filling session. You can opt out of this at the end of filling any specific record. This is particularly important to consider when using encrypted forms because encryption happens on finalization. Finalized records for encrypted forms can't be opened because they are encrypted. Records for encrypted forms that have not been finalized are not encrypted and can be edited.

Constraint processing

Sets when form responses are validated against constraints.


  • Upon forward swipe. (That is, right after the question is answered.)
  • At finalization.

High res video

When enabled, Video widgets widgets will record high resolution video if possible.

Image size

New in version 1.11.0.

Sets the default maximum size for images added to forms, as measured by the number of pixels on the longest edge. Images larger than the maximum are scaled down immediately after being added.


Original size from camera (default)
Images are unchanged when added to a form. Recommended for use only when images must contain a lot of detail and when the internet connection used to send submissions is fast.
Very small (640px)
Recommended when images don't need to be detailed or the internet connection used to send submissions is slow.
Small (1024px)
Sufficiently detailed for most on-screen viewing but too small for printing.
Medium (2048px)
Sufficiently detailed for most uses, including printing.
Large (3072px)
Recommended when a lot of detail is needed, but you want to reduce the size of image files as much as possible.

Show guidance for questions

Guidance hints on questions can be used to display additional information that is not always needed. For example, they can be used to show extra instructions to be used during training or valuable only on a printout. If set to Yes - always shown, guidance hints will always be displayed below regular hints. If set to Yes - collapsed, the user will need to tap to view guidance hints.

Use external app for audio recording

By default, an internal recorder is used for audio recording. Check this setting to use the external audio application instead. When unchecked, recordings will be created as mono .m4a files using the AAC codec with a sample rate of 32kHz and a bitrate of 64kbps. This corresponds to a file size of about 30MB/hour. We typically recommend configuring audio quality in the form definition instead of using this setting but it can be useful for older forms that can't be modified.

Form import

Finalize forms on import

When enabled, forms added directly to the instances/ directory are automatically set to Finalized. This is particularly relevant when putting records for an encrypted form directly to the device because encryption happens on finalization.

User and Device Identity Settings

User and device identity settings control how personally identifiable information and device ID are used.

To access User and device identity settings:

Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ User and device identity

User and Device Identity Settings

Form metadata settings

Form metadata settings control identifying information added to forms filled on the device.

To access form metadata settings:

Project Icon ‣ Settings ‣ User and Device Identity ‣ Form Metadata

Form Metadata Settings


You can edit the following:

  • Username
  • Phone number
  • Email address



You cannot edit these:

  • Device ID
  • Subscriber ID
  • SIM serial number
  • Install ID

Device ID is currently set to the device IMEI. Starting in August 2020, Google will no longer allow Android applications to read the IMEI. At that time, the Collect-generated Install ID will be used as the Device ID. Both are currently displayed to allow organizations to transition over. Install ID can be copied by long-pressing on its text.

Usage data

When enabled, ODK Collect sends anonymous usage and error data back to the ODK development team, which helps us improve the application.

Protected Settings

Protected settings manage other settings and features, letting you import or export settings, reset settings and delete cached data, and restrict which features are available to users of the app.

Protected settings are useful when you would like to limit the options available to enumerators so that they must follow a specific workflow.

You can password protect the protected settings, so enumerators cannot adjust settings or access restricted features.

Set admin password
If a password is set, when settings are opened, the Protected section will only contain Unlock protected settings. Tapping on that will display a dialog to provide the admin password. Before the correct admin password is provided, access controls will be in place and some settings may be hidden. Saving a blank password disables password protection.

Project management settings

Reconfigure with QR code
Replace all settings from those in a QR code. See configuring Collect via QR code.
Reset to default settings, delete forms, and empty caches. There is a prompt to select which aspects of the project to reset.
Delete the current project.

Access control settings

Main Menu Settings
Displays a list of buttons shown on the main screen. To prevent access to certain features, uncheck them and their button will be hidden.
User Settings
Displays a list of user settings and other features accessible in the settings screen. To hide features, uncheck them.
Form Entry Settings

Displays a list of features related to viewing and filling out forms. To disable features, uncheck them.

Moving backwards

If you disable moving backwards, the enumerator cannot use the back button or swipe right to move backwards through a form.

However, disabling this feature does not completely restrict a user's ability to access already-answered questions. So, when you uncheck this box to restrict backward movement, the app will suggest several additional restrictions which will prevent a non-admin user from revisiting already-asked questions:

  • Disable Edit Saved Form option in the main menu
  • Disable Save Form option in the Form entry menu
  • Disable Go To Prompt option in the Form entry menu
  • Set Constraint processing to validate upon forward swipe in the Form Management settings
Image showing message displayed to configure other settings when Moving backwards option is unchecked.

Select YES to set these additional restrictions.


When you enable the moving backwards option, you have to configure the other changed settings since they are not automatically changed back.