Installing the North American Database
This FAQ describes the December 2018 update to the iBird Pro for Android Download Database screen functionality. Note that we modified the download feature so that it is easier to track the progress.
Previously, the download was tracked by pulling down the activity menu from the top of the screen. This menu contained the progress bar for the database download. The problem was the menu contained other information unrelated to the database, such as a history of your notifications, and many customers found this confusing. Furthermore, the progress bar would disappear if you tapped anywhere on your screen, which required you to pull it down again to track the progress. Our attempt to make this easy to understand by adding an example picture of what the progress bar looked like, ended up making things worse—even with the words SAMPLE spread clearly across the example image—it appeared as though this WAS the actual dynamic progress bar. And the example was stuck at 65%. So, lesson learned, we came up with a better approach.
In this version of iBird we put a real progress bar right in the middle of the screen that continually updates as the database is downloaded, it calculates how much time is remaining and refreshes itself even if you leave the app and come back later.
Refer to the screen below while following the installation steps.
Figure 1. Database Download screen on iBird Pro.
Database Installation Steps
First select the Download Database menu item from the Navigation menu. The Navigation menu, also called the "hamburger" menu, is the 3 horizontal lines highlighted with the green rectangle shown below.
Figure 2. Database Download menu.
Next sign into the iBird Cloud Sync with your Google ID. Note that we never see your actual ID. Instead, Google uses an encrypted version of the ID to confirm who you are. This also allows us to save your iBird Favorites and Notes. Again, we never see your actual google ID or password.
You should end up at the Download Database screen as shown below.
Figure 3. Database Download starting.
Pick the Location. Decide where you want to store the iBird database using the buttons at the bottom of the screen. Note if your device does not offer an SD Card you will only see the one Internal Storage button.
Internal Storage. Internal RAM is the most desirable location because it's very fast and so iBird will respond faster.
SD Card. You may not have enough space to fit the iBird database, which is about 1.5 to 1.6 GB, in your Internal storage. In this case you may wish to store it on the SD Card. Be aware that the app will take longer to respond when the database is stored on an SD Card.
Delete an older Database. If there is an older database stored on the device, you will see the word DELETE on the button. To replace this with the new database just tap DELETE and iBird will remove the existing, older database. The name on the button will change to DOWNLOAD HERE.
Start the Download. Press DOWNLOAD HERE on the button for the location you wish to store the new database. There will be a brief pause of about 10 to 60 seconds while the operating system prepares to download the database. After this pause the progress bar will start showing a yellow bar and the name under the progress bar will change from "Download not started" to "Download starting" as shown below.
You will see the button name change from DOWNLOAD HERE to STOP DOWNLOAD.
As the database is downloaded the progress bar will grow and iBird will use the OS to estimate how much time it will take. As shown below it predicts 46 seconds are remaining.
Figure 4. 46 seconds remaining.
You can see in the screen capture above there are 46 seconds remaining and 58% of the database has been downloaded.
When the progress bar reaches 100% the name under the progress bar will change to Download complete and the button at the bottom will change to DELETE DATA (You may need to wait up to approximately 60 seconds before the button changes to DELETE DATA so that the operating system can register the database and complete its operation. This is particularly the case when you are saving to the SD Card.)
Figure 5. Database Download complete.
Once the download operation is finished the name of the button will change from STOP DOWNLOAD to DELETE DATA. This means you are ready to use the app in the offline mode.
You can test this by turning off the WiFi and cellular connection of your device by switching to Airplane mode and then opening any species account. Without the database you will get a "page not found" message but with the database installed you will see the full species account.
If you have any questions about this process please contact us at help.ibird.com.
(1) Trouble Shooting Your Storage Area
Though interactions with iBird customers over the last few years, we have determined that not all SD Cards are created equal. Some can be very slow, some can throw errors to the Android operating system (OS).
The main culprits related to the SD Card are
- Very slow reaction time by the app, for example menus taking too long to respond (> 3 to 5 seconds).
- A species screen stalling for several seconds before it opens.
A way to determine if the slowness or stalling is due to the SD Card is to install the database to Internal Storage. This uses the RAM on the device itself which is very fast. If you determine that you SD Card is the problem the solution is to buy a higher quality SD Card.
The SD Association has two UHS Speed Classes, UHS Speed Class 1 and UHS Speed Class 3. UHS Speed Class 1 supports a minimum 10MB/s write speed, whereas UHS Speed Class 3 supports at least 30MB/s write speed.
So, look for an SD Card that supports the faster UHS Speed Class 3.
(2) iBird Pro Alpha
The next version of iBird fixes an occasional excessive delay in switching between menus.