Can I remove City Nature Challenge project observations from 2018 in prep for 2019?


In preparation of the City Nature Challenge project at the end of the month, I wanted to remove my 114 observations from last year’s City Nature Challenge from the iNat app on my iPhone SE to make room. They would be mostly all of the same species I recorded last year. Is that even possible and if so, is it advisable? If it can be done, it appears I would have to delete them one at a time. Any suggestions?

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The records themselves dont take up any (meaningful) space on your phone, and there is no limit to the number of records your app can have. Deleting them would mean deleting them from the entire iNat database, which I hope is not something you would want to do.

If you still have the photos in your gallery, that is a different matter, that is certainly an option if you dont wish to archive them.



If you log out on your phone, and later log back in again, it will remove the observations from your phone while leaving them intact on the website. That is the best solution if you are concerned about storage space.

As Chris says, it’s best not to delete these older observations entirely - they are a record of biodiversity that will remain useful to researchers for many years.



That did the trick! The iNat app was using 2.6GB of memory (documents & data) for 300 observations to date. I have been logged in ever since joining in March, 2018. After logging out of iNat & logging back in, documents & data app usage dropped to 16.3MB and surprisingly, all the observations still remain on the app. I never wanted to delete them entirely from the database but just free up space on my iPhone for the upcoming project. Thanks to you and Chris for responding!



Hi Mark, no problem - I’m glad it helped! Note that if you scroll back and open these older records in the app it will start to download the images again and storage use will creep up. However, the logout/log back in trick should help to reset things if that happens.

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Good to know! Thanks again.

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I just tried doing this on my iPhone. I logged out of the app and then logged back in again. When I pulled down on my observation list in the app it started doing a sync with the website and it deleted all my observations from after February 3 (a couple hundred observations I would estimate)! I imagine it deleted the observations that it hadn’t yet downloaded from the website. Help! @tiwane



@zygy I’ll let our iOS developer know. Those observations should all be backed up. We’ll get back to you.

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@tiwane - What’s the verdict, doctor? Is it a terminal case? Sadly, even my Observation of the Day got deleted :(



Oh noooo. You have to upload everything before you log out. If you do that it shouldn’t delete anything but maybe there was a bug. I think I hit one like that on a test observation a long time ago



@charlie - Everything was already uploaded. It deleted all the observations I had posted to iNaturalist since January (basically all my observations from Guatemala and Jamaica). Since several of them were the first observations of a species on iNaturalist, a bunch got used as taxon photos. Interestingly, those photos didn’t get deleted and are still on iNat under the taxon pages, but the corresponding observations are gone. The only reason I didn’t lose all of my observations is because I waited a few seconds before refreshing my observation list after I logged back on.



Ugh. Yeah i has a similar bug long ago and the admins were able to restore the observations, though I lost people’s IDs. Hopefully for you they can restore it too. Have you emailed !



This is terrible! I hope they can be restored. It would be good to understand why this happened in case there are steps others can take to avoid the same nightmare - please do keep us updated @tiwane



My observations have been restored! Thank you!!!