iBird 2 for Android Trouble Shooting FAQ

Note if you you are unable to solve your issue after reading the FAQ you can start a support ticket here: Contact iBird Support

Maintaining Zen-like Calmness
Before you dive into this FAQ I want to give you a word of caution and congratulations. As an Android owner you are a very brave soul. I say this not tongue-in-cheek but in all total seriousness.  As publishers, the Mitch Waite Group has been developing mobile software since the first Window’s platform was launched over seven years ago. We have since dealt with every major mobile platform including Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry, and now Android for smartphones, tablets and television. It is our unanimous conclusion that there is no more complex, perplexing, hair-pulling, powerful, or obtuse operating system on today’s market then the Android OS. This is not a criticism, because along with this complexity comes incredible power. But we want to warn that as you venture into these frequently asked questions and answers keep in mind that as one of the chosen few you need to maintain a Zen-like state of calmness and patience, lest you find yourself cursing at Google and hurling your phone or tablet into the wall. In many ways Android reminds me of the early days of the personal computer, when people using them were considered pioneers and hobbyists and had to exercise great patience to keep their computers working.  We suggest you find yourself a user group or online community of people that own the same device as you and turn to them for support when the going gets tough. We will do our best to be sensitive to how difficult getting some apps to run on the Android is, but we are not psychologists or priests so please try and exercise some patience with us too.

Review Our Pre-update FAQ
There is a FAQ we developed for the first version of iBird 1 for Android which can be found here:  http://bit.ly/ibird_android_faq While this FAQ is in the process of being updated it may provide information which will help you with you new update to iBird. It contains many more questions and answer then you will find here.

This FAQ, which is being presented as blog post, is the start of a second FAQ specifically for the new iBird 2 for Android. Its purpose is to you install iBird on your tablet or smartphone as well as to help you solve problems other problems you may encounter. It starts with the most common problems people have told us they are dealing with. If you can’t find your answer here please write to us as the email form at Contact iBird Support.

I get a message “iBird cannot function without an SD Card” and I can’t install the app
If you get this message and you know your SD Card is installed and has room on it for the iBird database or your device doesn’t use an SD Card it usually means there is a connectivity problem accessing the internet.


  1. Open the browser on your device and make sure you can connect to the Internet, for example type http://www.google.com and make sure the page comes up and the links on it work.
  2. If you can’t connect to Google try turning your WIFI off and on again (Settings->Wireless and Networks->WiFi ) Uncheck and then recheck the box. Make sure it says Connected to [your wifi network name]. Then try again to connect to Google with your browser. Until you can connect to the Internet with a fast WiFi you will not be able to install iBird.
  3. Once you can connect to Google try installing iBird again.

I’ve reinstalled the new iBird update but I’m still having some problems with the program and I need your help. Every time I use the sync function, even if for only 1 bird, the program begins to sync, but gets caught in a loop and tries to sync the same images over and over again, never completing the task.

This is usually because there is a bad database file in the iBird database folder left over from the previous install. The best solution to fix this is to delete the iBird database folder which is found on your SD Card, or storage memory if you dont have an SD Card. To delete this folder you are going to need to use a third party file manager program. You can get many from the Google Market. My favorite is the free Astro File Manager. Once it is installed Force Close iBird from the Applications settings. Then open the File Manager and locate the database folder for your particular version of iBird. Here are the names.

App            Folder Name
iBird Pro     iBird_Pro_Android
iBird Lite    iBird_Lite_Android
iBird Yard   iBird_Yard_Android

Once you found the folder hold your finger down on it and a menu will appear. Select Edit. Then select Delete. There will be a delay as the File Manager computes the size of the folder’s contents, so be patient. Pro takes the longest. Tap Yes when you are asked if you wish to delete the folder.

Now return to your iBird app and make sure it is NOT running in memory by doing a Force Close. Then make sure you have a good internet connection by connecting to google.com. Now start iBird and it will detect that there is no database and give a message that it is downloading a new one. This is stage one of the process where iBird downloads the sqlite database called WingedExplorer.db and and sets up the folders for the image and sound files. Next you will get the Registration screen. Tap Later, Register or Never and you should finally see the full set of icons for your app and be able to scroll though them. Now you are ready to sync so go to the More page and select Synchronize so that iBird can download the image and sound files. These files are on a high speed server called a CDN so they should go very fast. If they dont it could be your Internet is slow or your device is old and has a slow radio.

If all is well you will see the progress dialog box and the two bars will show the download activity. If you are still having trouble please contact us at: Contact iBird Support

Why is iBird taking FOREVER to download the database of bird images and sounds?
This is one of the biggest issues with Android devices. In working with dozens of devices over the years we have discovered that they are prone to many more connectivity issues than other mobile platforms. Loss of the WIFI connection is one of the most frequent issues as well as very slow WIFI bandwidth. While our iBird database is on a very fast server if  the WIFI radio in your smartphone is a poor one, the download will go very slow. The newer phones and tablets have much less of a problem with connectivity. So if you find that syncing is taking a long time, here are some places to look at.


  1. Don’t use your cellular network for downloading iBird’s database. It’s way too big and the cellular network is slow.
  2. Check the speed of your WIFI from  your device. Download the free speedtest.net mobile app and use it to measure your WIFI bandwidth. The download speed should be above 1000 kbps (1 mbps) to get good download speed.
  3. Reboot your router. Do this when you find your can’t connect or your download speed is really slow, or the number of bars on  your WIFI icon are 1 to 2 instead of a strong 4 to 5.
  4. In your settings, under “sound and display” set your screen timeout for as long as the device will allow.
  5. Please note that android devices will often drop the WiFi signal during downloads so you need to keep an eye on that and reconnect if it is dropped.

When I try to update update iBird I get a message “Sorry, there’s not enough space to install this item”. My phone says it has 228MB of App Storage, 1.38GB of Internal Storage, and 2.87GB on the SD. That should be enough so what the heck is going on here?
iBird’s requirements for memory are a bit more complicated than a typical Android app because there are TWO areas of memory that are required.

  1. The app itself, which is what you download from the Android Market, is typically–but not always–stored in what is referred to as phone memory, app memory, or other names.
  2. The database, which is very large (550 MB for Pro) is always stored in what is referred to as storage memory or SD memory.

Here is what you need to do to get iBird to fit on your phone or tablet.


App or program memory is a type of fast RAM (random access memory) which is very fast and small in size. Because it is so fast it is devoted the running your programs. It can vary in capacity from as small as 64MB (in older devices) to as much as 512MB (in newer devices and tablets). Most but not all Android apps share App memory so if you have many apps it is not unusual that they won’t all fit. If this memory is full when you try to install iBird you may receive the message “Sorry, there’s not enough space to install this item” it means most likely that there was not enough room in program memory to store the iBird app. There are two solutions to this problem, explained next.

The message “Sorry, there’s not enough space to install this item” refers to the iBird app itself NOT the large database.

If you receive the message “Sorry, there’s not enough space to install this item” your first solution is to see if you can move the application from program (app) memory to storage memory or your SD Card. By default iBird always tries to install the app to SD Card or storage memory, however the final arbitrator of where iBird is installed is up to your actual device, not us as developers. Yes I know there are other apps that always install to SD Card memory but again it is not totally under our control. There are things about the way each app works that controls if it can be run from storage memory. In some cases storage memory is too slow. The point is we as developers can only suggest to the OS where to put iBird.

To see if you can override where the iBird app is stored go to the Settings->Applications->Manage Applications menu and tap the iBird application in the list of apps. You should find a button called Move to Storage Memory. If this button is enabled tap it to move the app to storage memory. If the button is disabled (grayed out) it means that iBird on your device can’t be moved to storage memory.

As developers we can only suggest to Android where to install your app, but the final decision is up to the device itself.

If the problem is that you do not have enough room in app memory for iBird and you are unable to move it to storage memory the only solution is to remove one of the your other apps to make room for it. You can go to the Settings->Applications->Manage Applications menu and sort if by Size to see which of your apps is taking the most room. Then uninstall that app and try to install iBird again.

I had this problem with my older Motorola Droid. I had to remove the Audubon app before I could get iBird to fit. In both the case of iBird and Audubon the app would not install in SD Card memory.

About Mitch Waite

CEO Mitch Waite Group, Publisher of iBird Explorer for the iPhone, iPad and Android. Best selling app turns your phone into a field guide to birds of North America.
This entry was posted in Apps for Android, Apps for Birding. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to iBird 2 for Android Trouble Shooting FAQ

  1. j jackson says:

    After the update was installed the pictures don’t match the birds and some of them don’t have pictures at all. I tried resyncing it but that did not work.

  2. Dave Kandz says:

    When I attempt to move iBird Pro version 2.0.6 (or any previous version ) to my SD card, I receive a message “Failed to move application. The application is copy-protected “. How can I move the program to external storage ? iBird is consuming 24mb of precious internal space.

  3. Charles DeCurtis says:

    I second Mr. Kandz above. I have been through all of the recent updates and I am unable to move the main program to the SD card. Android Version is Froyo and Phone is Samsung Galaxy 4G…T-Mobile version.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Mitch Waite says:

      Last week we discovered a bonehead setting issue with iBird for the Google Market that forced the app to NOT use the SD Card. We have corrected it and so if you delete your current app and then download the newest version it should install to the SD Card by default. I have not found a device it wont work on.

      • Charles DeCurtis says:

        Perfect. Thank you very much, Mitch. I re-synced and it is working perfectly. The pro version was worth 2x what I paid. Use it in the field constantly and it is much easier than lugging around my Sibley. As an environmental consultant and professor, regional plant guides similar to ibird would be a wonderful tool too, although I am not sure how much of market exists. Let me know if you decide to do any exploratory research into developing such a product. I would be happy to help out.

        Thanks for a great product!

  4. Mitch Waite says:

    Awesome! So glad I was able to help you get your Android iBird working. Your comment about the value of the iBird app is really appreciated too. Charles regarding a plant guide, we have considered it but it would be a humongous undertaking but lack the payback like a birding app. As a compromise we are just about done with a wildlife app. If you have an interest in reviewing the beta please email me at mitch at mitchwaite dot com and remind me of this thread.

  5. Dave says:

    My wife and I love the program, but we’re both experiencing problems. iBird Pro 2 seems to have disappeared from our phones, and when we try to download from the market, the download starts, but then stops without any warning or error message. This happens over 3G, 4G, and WiFi. I can download other apps just fine. Any ideas as to why iBird would vanish and (most importantly) how we can get it back? Thanks!

    • Mitch Waite says:

      Dave sorry for the delay in answering your question. It’s hard for me to know what is causing iBird Pro 2 to start downloading from the market then stopping. I’m pretty sure that is not an issue with the app itself. The best way for us to help you is to contact our tech support group by sending an email to support@ibird.com. You can tell them you left your message on the blog. Be sure and list details about your device, its model, manufacturer, amount of memory, etc.

  6. Pingback: iBird Blog

  7. Chip in Rockville says:

    I have a tablet running Android 3.2. I have a 32 Gbyte microSD card installed, and that’s where I want to put the database. If you can provide clear instructions on how to do that (using Astro would be OK, since I have that), I’ll purchase the app. Otherwise, since I only get a 15-minute window to purchase and try the app, and that only gives me enough time to download the app and about half of the database, I don’t care to risk my funds.

    • Mitch Waite says:

      Chip the database is always automatically installed on the SD Card. If you are concerned about installation download the free iBird Lite as it works identically but has only 30 birds.

      • Chip in Rockville says:

        Thanks, Mitch,

        That’s what I was afraid of–it’s installed in the internal 16 GB SD memory, but I need it to be in the external (plug-in) 32 GB micro-SD card. I don’t want to consume a substantial portion of the internal 16 GB SD memory for this database.

  8. Jake Maier says:

    when do you plan to support android ics? IBird which I very much depend on for my birding only displays a tiny icon and is not functional on my Samsung nexus prime. Please hurry up 🙂

    • Mitch Waite says:

      Jake we DO support Ice Cream Sandwich. I have iBird on my Samsung Nexus S and it runs great. It sounds like there is something strange going on with iBird and the Nexus Prime. Check you have the latest version 2.0.9. Our support team can help you figure it out and best way to reach them is via this link: http://ibird.com/contact-us/

      • Jake Maier says:

        Thanks for your quick reply I contacted the support group, (had problems with the (required) My device question because I could not write into it. But I submitted it anyway.
        Again thanks for the quick response

  9. J says:

    Mitch — I agree with Chip above. Some tablet-style devices mount the external SD card within the internal SD card (32gb vs 5gb on mine). On my Samsung I am unable to move iBird Pro to the external card. Since the database is so large, can you investigate a menu setting to specify which SD card path to use? Or have the app automatically find the database within a subfolder of the SD card so I can move it myself (that is how my external 32GB card mounts: /mnt/sdcard/external_sd).

    • Mitch Waite says:

      I’ll have our developer look into this.

      Its astounding to me how out of control the Android standard has become. At this point there are 550 different devices that we have to get iBird to run on. Each does things just a little different enough to cause problems. I’m not trying to make excuses, I want everyone to be able to use our app. But this is THE primary reasons it takes so long to get an Android port working compared to Apple’s iOS platform. With Apple I only have to worry about 3 devices and a few versions of the OS. We were hoping when Google purchased Motorola it was to better enforce the Android standard by created a reference platform but now its pretty clear it was to get the Motorola patent portfolio to fight off the attacks on Android from Oracle, Microsoft and Apple.

      I am predicting that we are going to see a lot more Android developers turning to Microsoft’s dark horse Windows Phone platform because they are doing a better job keeping fragmentation from getting out of control.

    • Chip in Rockville says:

      On the ASUS Transformer TF101, it’s /Removable/MicroSD.

      • Mitch Waite says:

        Are you using iBird 2.0.9?

      • Jake Maier says:

        If you are asking me, I downloaded the latest (2.0.9) with wifi on Friday. I use a Samsung Nexus Prime, with ICS 4.0.2
        Hope this helps

      • Mitch Waite says:

        Did you try uninstalling iBird, removing the iBird_Pro folder and reinstalling iBird 2.0.9? Does iBird Lite also refuse to move to the SD Card?

      • Jake Maier says:

        I only uninstalled and reinstalled. I will try to remove the folder. Do I have to download IBird lite separately?

      • Mitch Waite says:

        Yes iBird is a separate app that installs in its own folder.

      • Jake Maier says:

        IBird lite had the same problem as IBird pro.

      • Mitch Waite says:

        I’d say you have to just bite the bullet and if iBird is important let it live in the storage memory. Otherwise you can try one of the other bird apps but I suspect they all have identical issues. Another idea is to write to Google and ask them to enforce better standards but I understand that is asking too much.

      • Jake Maier says:

        What do you mean, “if iBird is important let it live in the storage memory.”
        It’s important, but it does not live. What’s the purpose for it to stay in storage if it’s not alive?

      • J says:

        Mitch — Thanks for the reply. I really love the app and am certainly willing to leave it on the device as long as possible. Thanks for the all the hard work. I certainly agree on the Google standards, this isn’t the only app that faces these issues. Let me ask this, is there a way to split the database into Eastern and Western US? That would reduce the amount of memory I’m using.

      • Jake Maier says:

        for what it’s worth, even so the nexus prime does not have a sd card, I have a folder /mnt/sdcard
        I’ll go to town a bit later today and wifi the download of a new version of IBird. Should I simultaneously get the lite version?

      • Chip in Rockville says:

        I tried installing iBird Lite just now and then moving the IBird Lite directory I found in my /mnt/sdcard folder to /Removable/MicroSD. iBirdLite apparently doesn’t recognize the database in /Removable/MicroSD and wants to download it to /mnt/sdcard again. The version I downloaded from the Android Market is 2.0.9.

        Sorry, Mitch, I know this is at least as frustrating for you as it is for us.

      • Mitch Waite says:

        Chip what is frustrating is how there is no standard on the way these companies handle the storage system. The app expects /mnt/sdcard because that is a standard. Changing the name to /removable/MicroSD is something new and how would any app know that’s where to store to? If we could let each user pick where the database gets stored, like you can do in a desktop where all the drives are named D:, E: etc it would solve the issue but you just can’t do that in a mobile device environment. There is probably some way to solve this but Dear Google how are developers suppose to handle 1,066 different Android devices that don’t follow a standard? Here is a link to a list of just SOME of these devices. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiR68NfqagmddFEzS3d2dGVzWFN1dm5GWFl6VGFVMnc Names I have never heard of.

        My developer put it this way:

        On devices with built in memory and an SD Card they look exactly the same to the application as the mount point is /mnt/sdcard.

        We do not support sub folders on the SD card which is what the physical card on these devices look like.

        Really in short if the application is on the SD card we cannot control how the manufactures implement there interfaces.

      • Chip in Rockville says:

        Yes, it does seem like that will discourage developers, and Google counts on their (your) labor to make Android devices useful.

    • Mitch Waite says:

      Can you guys let me know what version of iBird you are using. We had issues with the app not moving to the SD Card on some versions of Android with iBird 2.0.7. It was fixed with iBird 2.0.9.

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