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Enabling and using offline mode on the Android app


EmilyTapestrySupport
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A great feature on the Android app is the ability to login and add observations whilst the device you're using to access the Tapestry app is offline. This works by authenticating PIN logins that have already been enabled on the device whilst you have connection. As such, it's not possible to login with an email and password whilst offline. 

Before you enable this on your account, we suggest settings think about the benefit of offline access vs the additional risks. It's important to note a few things that could happen with offline access:

  • A user might be able to see information even though their account has been deactivated. This is because the offline app may not received the deactivation notice.
  • A user’s PIN code may be guessed, because the offline app cannot report incorrect guesses to our servers.

Offline access will need to be permitted by a manager from the User Permissions section of the Control Panel. It can be permitted for everyone, or for just certain users. Please note that user permissions for managers are always enabled. Therefore, if you have several manager users on your Tapestry account, it would be worth discussing if and how you will use offline mode.

For more information about data protection with the offline version, you can read this article

Once it's been permitted by the setting/school from the Control Panel, each user will also have to give their permission to enable offline access on each device they use. This is because users may not want to enable offline observations on every device they use. For instance, they may not wish to enable it on a tablet that they temporarily borrow from a colleague. 

If you have already given permission on the browser, you can skip to the section on enabling offline mode on the app by clicking here.

 

So, to permit offline observations a manager will have to login to the browser version of Tapestry. From there you go to the Control Panel (1) and then selecting 'User Permissions' (2) from the left-hand side menu.

 

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Once on the staff user permissions page, you will then need to scroll down to the bottom of the screen until you see the section called 'Users'. When you see this, you will then need to click on the 'Edit' button. 

 

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You'll then get a pop-up box from which you can set a default for all staff (1) or if you want to only allow some staff access to this option, you'll need to tick the 'Set different permissions for some users' (2) box.

This will then give you the option of showing users that aren't currently active (3) and you'll get a list of all staff on your account (remember you can't set permissions for managers, so you won't see them here).

For each member of staff you can leave them set as the default or you can set it to permitted or not permitted (4), depending on what you have set the default as. Once you're done, you just need to remember to save (5).

 

2019-04-16_12-44-13.png

 


So, you've now set up the permissions for staff, which means anyone you have allowed access to the offline mode can now enable it on the device they use to access the app. To do this, they'll need to login to the new app and select where it says 'You' in the top left-hand corner. 

 

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From this list of options, you'll need to select 'Enable Offline Observations On This Device'.

 

   Screenshot_20190408-123113.png

 

On the next screen you will need to slide across the toggles for 'Permission from you' (1) and 'Tapestry PIN' (2) across so that they turn green. 

The reason it is necessary for you to save your PIN is so that when you login when offline, your PIN is saved securely on the device and the PIN you enter when logging in can be compared to this. The reason this is necessary is because when offline, the app can't access our servers, which it would normally use to check if the correct PIN has been entered to login.

 

Screenshot_20190207-153458.png.f4fc7357c8dfc0de718a9e196a4863c5.png

 

Once you swipe across the toggle for saving your PIN you will then be presented with a pop-up PIN pad where you can enter your 4-digit PIN. You won't be able to use the offline mode until you correctly enter your 4-digit PIN here.

 

Screenshot_20190207-153512.png.395b14828bc40fead01e068f09092464.png

 

This is what the screen will look like if you have enabled the permission from you and also entered your PIN and saved this.

 

Screenshot_20190207-153547.png.d5f1c97f6d53d93c0d05ee2a9da5e8df.png

 

You've now got the new offline mode enabled! This means if your device goes offline, any observations you add will be queued up so they can be uploaded when you go back online and login to your account.

Please note: This only applies for the single device you have set this up with. If you need offline access on other devices you must repeat this procedure on those devices.

One important thing to note about the offline mode is that you will, at some point, need to go back online and login to ensure the work you save whilst offline does get uploaded. On the 'You' page it shows you the next time you need to go online.

Also, with the offline mode enabled, the app will always start out offline even if there is an internet connection. It will then check for a connection in the background, so you may briefly see a 'working offline' message even if you see your device is connected to the internet.

So now with this enabled, if you are not connected to the internet, you will see a red aeroplane icon in the top left-hand corner.

 

image.png

 

 

What happens if you have the offline mode enabled and you change your PIN?

As I mentioned earlier in the tutorial, to use the offline mode you need to save your PIN on your device (because when your device is offline the app can't connect to our servers and it needs something to compare the PIN you enter when logging in with to ensure it is correct). If you then change your PIN there are a few different scenarios that might happen, which I have laid out below for you.

  1. Your device is offline and you enter the new PIN: the app will not let you in. This is because it is offline and has no way of knowing that you changed your PIN. If you keep trying you will eventually get the brute force lockout.
  2. Your device is offline and you enter the old PIN: the app will allow you in. This is because it is offline and has no way of knowing that you changed your PIN. If you later go online while logged in, the app will check the PIN with the server and discover it is wrong, and kick you out to the lock screen.
  3. Your device is online and you enter the new PIN: the app will let you login. As the device is online, the app has access to our server, so it will check the new PIN against it and the server will reply saying it is correct. The app will also update the PIN it has stored offline.
  4. Your device is online and you enter the old PIN: the app will briefly allow you in, so you will momentarily see the observation list. It will then check with the server, see the PIN is wrong and you'll be taken back to the lock screen. The reason you are initially logged in is because if you have set up offline access, the app will check the offline PIN matches first. If it does, it will let you in before making any attempt to contact the Tapestry server.

 

We hope you find this new offline mode helpful! Please do remember to consider the security risks involved with this before enabling it for staff and on any devices. If you have any questions or feedback about the new Android app, please contact us by emailing customer.service@eyfs.info.

 

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