Sync observations across devices in Seek

I think that you should be able to sync data between devices in the Seek application. This would be beneficial because as it stands now, switching to a new phone causes you to lose all your observations and data, and I’m sure people would be more motivated to go out and make observations if their observations were more permanent.
People have suggested using the iNaturalist app instead of Seek so that data is saved, but I think that the intuitive UI and gamification of Seek is a lot more enjoyable, and switching apps would also cause me to lose my current observations.
Does anybody else feel that this feature would improve their experience of Seek?

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I approved this feature request and meant to add some clarifications right afterward but got distracted. Sorry!

Here’s a previous statement I made about this kind of functionality.

As noted, Seek is really focused on privacy and not sharing information. So it’s unlikely we’d sync between devices if “sync” means that if you had Seek installed on two different devices they’d both instantly sync the same observations (and achievements) between them.

For the specific situation @jacobpants mentioned - getting a new device and wanting to transfer your existing observations to it - I think some sort of manual backup option is more likely. You could choose to back up your observations to some cloud storage and then, when you install Seek on your new device, you could download those from the backup. One issue, of course, is that Seek is built for privacy and iNat not storing your information, so uploading all this to iNat’s servers would be a bit antithetical to that.

What I think might work is just making sure Seek data is stored in backups of devices. iOS devices already do this. If you back up your iPhone/iPad to either iCloud to your computer and restore your new device from that backup, your Seek observations will be part of that backup. I recently lost my iPhone in San Francisco Bay and, when I restored my new phone from that older phone’s backup, all my Seek observations were in it, so in my experience it worked well.

I think doing this for Android is a bit more tricky (we’ve explored it a bit) but I’d love to see that happen. It’s a bummer to lose your observations just because you got a new phone.


Maybe some option of manually downloading and uploading a file with observations to a new account on you new device? Without storing it somewhere else

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Ağustos 2020 den beri Seek kullanıyorum. Android bir telefonum vardı. Yeni bir Android telefon aldım. Ne yazık ki eski gözlemlerim eski telefonumda kaldı. Keşke birleştirebilseydim.

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If you backup your Android device to Google Drive, your obserations should part of that backup, so if you move to a new device and restore from your Google Drive backup, they’ll come along with it. It’s worked so far with a small number of observations.


I’ve just successfully transferred my Seek user data (observations, challenges etc.) from an old Android to my new Android using the Helium app ( Although Helium appears no longer able to transfer entire apps to the current Android versions (it hasn’t been updated since 2019), it is capable of successfully transferring the app data in isolation. If anyone would like details of how I transferred my data, let me know and I’ll post them here. Obviously, YMMV on your devices, account etc. so no guarantees


Seems to me like there could be the option just to export a list of every species you’ve identified and important such a list into the new phone’s Seek, which could then know the difference between a new species and a previously identified one (and know what badges etc. have been earned).

Yes, it wouldn’t have the photos and dates of observations, so it’s not ideal, but I don’t think there would be any privacy issues in just having a way to check off the things we’ve already IDed in a new device (I don’t really get the privacy issue of someone with 2 phones having the app sync between devices either, but I imagine there is one since others seem to get it). Anything is better than getting the “new species” response to everything and losing years of observations.

Honestly I probably would pay for Helium if I knew it would work, but hesitant to pay $5 for the level of confidence mikep17 presents.

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I think it’s extremely discouraging for people not to be able to keep their hard-earned records.
According to @tiwane ‘s description, it is as if iNaturalist is the sync-able version of Seek. But it’s not. Seek, with its gamified features and rudimentary taxonomic functionality, cannot be fully replaced by iNaturalist, which to me functions more like a forum where you upload hard-to-identify species for experts’ help.
To me it felt like the developers do not care about their users’ needs as much as the developer’s own ideology of privacy. Users should be able to decide for themselves whether they want this privacy feature.


Some sort of manual export/import or sync function is absolutely essential to this app realising it’s full potential.

What is the point of saving observations if there is no way to permanently keep the data?

I can’t see how a well implemented sync function would compromise privacy in any way.

Please reconsider your approach here, I just started saving observations the other day, and made an account with the hope that doing so would sync or backup my observations, and was surprised to find this isn’t the case. If there is absolutely no future plans for this then there is no reason for me to save observations or engage in the community aspects of the app.

Seek is designed for minors, it is gamified for that, iNat is a replacement of Seek for adults.

What would you consider that to be?

I’d be for functionality that will backup one’s obserations in order to move them to a new device, but not automatically syncing observations across devices.

What community aspects of Seek are you referring to? It doesn’t have any, it just allows you to post new observations to iNaturalist.

Seek is designed for minors, it is gamified for that, iNat is a replacement of Seek for adults.

I wouldn’t say that’s entirely accurate. Seek is designed for people who don’t want to/can’t use iNaturalist to engage with nature. iNat’s not for everyone (including some adults) - not everyone wants to share their data, not everyone wants to join a social network, and some people really want badges and challenges - so Seek is designed for those people.


Sure, I just didn’t want to overcoplicate the message, iNat has all, but badges, and then people can vote for better system of app “aims”, etc. on iNat if they want that.

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