Preparing Android Devices

Before installing your CommCare application, ensure that your Android Device is set to the right settings. Once you complete this step, you’ll be ready to install CommCare on your Android phone. As a note, this is general guidance. Some specific devices may have their own guidance.

Android Device Prep Checklist

General Prep Steps

Charge All Devices

Make sure that all devices are fully charged and can turn on.

Catalogue Devices

Additionally, ensure that you have a user and device management system in place.

Install and Verify Sim Cards

If needed, ensure that your Sim Cards and SD Cards (if needed) are installed.

The Sim Card should be activated and has balance for Internet.

Android Device Steps

All of the following steps will need to be done on device itself.

Date and Time Setup

If your network operator does not automatically set the correct time and time zone, set them manually. Usually Android phones update their time as soon as they get a data connection.

  1. Go to Applications then Settings

  2. Choose Date and Time

  3. Uncheck Automatic Date and Time

  4. Uncheck Automatic Time Zone (if available)

  5. Set the correct date and time

  6. Set the correct time zone

Internet Connectivity

Setting Up Connectivity

  1. In some cases will start to receive configuration settings from the network.

  2. Pull down from top of screen to view notifications

  3. Select configuration settings and install all configuration settings received

  4. Open Mobile Network Page (Settings -> Wireless and Networks -> Mobile Networks OR Settings -> More.. -> Mobile networks)

  5. Choose Access Point Names

  6. Make sure that APN for your cellphone provider is listed.  Press the circle until highlighted.  

  7. Ensure that there is an G, E or H listed in the top-left corner of the phone, next to the phone bars indicating reception. Use the browser to navigate to to test this.

If automatic configuration settings are not received from network

  1. Open Mobile Network Page (Settings -> Wireless and Networks -> Mobile Networks OR Settings -> More.. -> Mobile networks)

  2. Choose Access Point Names

  3. Select the “Menu” button (depends on phone.  Many will have a button to the left or right of the home button).  

  4. Select New APN

  5. Enter the Name as Cellphone Internet:

  6. Enter APN settings for your network provider.  A list of common networks and APNs is listed at the bottom of this page: GPRS Setup

  7. Press the back button

  8. Press the grey circle next to the Cellphone Internet to select it.  Make sure that the circle is highlighted

  9. Ensure that there is an G, E or H listed in the top-left corner of the phone, next to the phone bars indicating reception. Use the browser to navigate to to test this.

Set Up WiFi (If Needed)

  1. Go to Settings -> Wireless and Network Settings -> Wi-Fi Settings OR Settings -> WiFi

  2. Turn On WiFi

  3. Select the desired Wi-Fi network and enter the Wi-Fi password

  4. There should be a WiFi icon next to the phone bars

  5. Use the browser to navigate to to test network

Setup Google Account

You need a Google account to download applications from the Google Store for the phones. You can either create an individual account for each phone or create a single account for the project. To setup an account go to from your computer.

Individual accounts: You can create individual accounts for each phone in a sequential fashion (, etc.).

  • Pro(s): You can use the Android Device Manager to track the devices and lock/wipe them if they get lost. The individual email addresses can also be added to the respective mobile users' profiles on HQ so it's easier to track. The best tool for tracking a phone's location is Google Maps' Location History.

  • Risk(s): In at least one case, a few days after starting the system, Gmail shut down these accounts because it suspected they weren't people's personal accounts, which violated its terms of use. 

Single account for project: You can create a single project account such as

  • Pro(s): One fixed account to manage with one password can standardize setup of phones for new users without having to create additional accounts.

  • Risk(s): Having a single account for all phones can have a slew of unintended consequences - contacts, photos and settings will all get backed up to the same Google account. There are some pretty significant privacy concerns and the likelihood for serious HR problems. To minimize these potential issues, please make sure to follow the "uncheck the auto-sync option" in the steps below.

Once you have the account(s) per your requirements, follow the steps below.

  1. Go the Add Account page (Settings -> Accounts and sync -> Add Account OR Settings -> Accounts Section -> Add Account)

  2. Choose Google account and select that you have an existing account

  3. Enter account information

  4. If prompted, uncheck "Keep this device backed up with my Google Account"

  5. if prompted, don't choose to setup the phone for Google +

  6. If prompted, uncheck all the Sync options

  7. Optional: to reduce bandwidth usage and stop multiple devices with the same account from sharing contacts/photos/other data between each other, choose the Account from Settings -> Accounts and Sync and uncheck all the sync options

Install Applications from Play Store

  1. Open the Play Store from Applications.  On older devices, it may be called Marketplace

  2. Search for CommCare.  Choose the CommCare and Install It. Make sure Auto-Update is checked. 

  3. Search for Amaze File Explorer and install it.  This is useful if you are installing Multimedia on the phone.

  4. Optional: Search for Barcode scanner and install one such as "Barcode Scanner" by ZXing Team. Note that Barcode / QR code scanning is a native feature of the Camera app on more recent versions of Android. You can easily check that by trying to scan a code using the Camera app.

  5. Optional:  If typing in a different language is required, you may want to install Google Input for your language.  For example, Google Hindi Input is available. 

User Friendly Settings

  1. Remove all extra home screens: pinch screen and tap and hold the others to remove them

  2. Remove all extra shortcuts except CommCare, Settings and Play Store - add the missing ones

  3. Set wallpaper and lockscreen to a simple theme: tap and hold background

  4. Update phone firmware: Settings -> About Phone -> Update Software -> click through confirmations

  5. Update existing apps: Play Store -> Top Menu -> All Apps -> Update all

  6. Create CommCare shortcut on lockscreen for easy access

  7. Increase the Display Time Out

    1. Go to Settings -> Display

    2. Set screen timeout or sleep to 2 minutes

  8. Turn Off Screen Auto-rotate

    1. Go to Settings -> Display

    2. Uncheck auto-rotate screen

  9. Set the Display Brightness

    1. Go to Settings -> Display

    2. Set the Brightness to Auto if available (recommended for battery savings) 

    3. If Auto is not available, set Brightness to medium level or high level depending on whether phone will be used outdoors

  10. Disable notifications for extraneous apps:

    1. On older devices, go to Settings > Apps. Select the relevant apps, and for each one, disable the "Show notifications".

    2. On newer devices, go to Settings > Sounds and notifications. Select the relevant apps and enable "Block notifications".

  11. Optional: Set Phone to Local Language.

    1. Go to Settings -> Locale and Text or Settings -> Language Input

    2. Change the Language to the local language

  12. Optional: Setup the keyboard

    1. Go to Settings -> Locale and Text or Settings -> Language Input

    2. Check Google Input for your language if installed

    3. Change the Default Keyboard.  On some devices choose Select Input Method.  On others choose Default

    4. Select the default keyboard

  13. Optional: Adjust text size

    1. Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Font Size (or Settings -> Display -> Font Size

    2. Try different sizes and confirm with user (if present) when text is big enough to be read

GPS And Camera Settings

If you're using GPS or capturing images in CommCare there are some additional settings required.

  1. Setup GPS

    1. Go to Settings -> Location and Security OR Settings -> Location Access

    2. Make sure Access to my Location is On (if setting is available)

    3. Check GPS satellites

    4. Check WiFi & mobile network location OR Use Wireless networks

  2. Change Camera Settings to Smaller Images

    1. Go to Applications -> Camera

    2. Open Camera Settings 

    3. Change Picture Size OR Resolution to the smallest size available

Next, download CommCare!