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Why Anki Isn’t Syncing and How to Fix It

  • Sean 

Anki Isn’t syncing? I compiled all the solutions into a step-by-step guide to help understand the common issues and their fixes.

I’ve been using Anki for years and I have definitely run into some syncing issues from time to time. When I say syncing, I’m talking about the process of keeping my flashcard decks up-to-date between my computer and my phone.

While Anki has proven to be an invaluable tool in university, there have been occasions where I’ve encountered some hiccups in the syncing process. Luckily these issues have been rare and easy to solve.

Let’s get into some of the common solutions, including the quick fix that will work for almost everyone who reads this article.

How to Sync Anki From Computer to Phone

First, it’s worthwhile to run through the steps of correctly syncing Anki cards from your computer to your phone. For this, it’s also important to sign up for an AnkiWeb account as this is how you keep your cards synchronized across multiple devices.

  1. In Anki on your computer, press the sync button and log in to your AnkiWeb account. This will upload your deck data to the AnkiWeb server.
  2. Second, on your phone and log in to your AnkiWeb account, go to the syncing settings and select the “synchronize” option.
  3. This will download the latest version of your decks to your phone.

Remember to regularly sync your Anki decks to ensure that your progress remains consistent across devices. Otherwise, if you forget to sync for a long time it might take some extra time, especially if your cards have a lot of media.

However, sometimes this doesn’t go as planned. In this case, it might be as simple as just restarting Anki. However, If you’ve already tried this, check out the other solutions below.

Anki Isn’t Syncing: The Quick Fix

If you have already tried the basics of restarting Anki on mobile and PC and resyncing them, you can skip this section. However, this fix will work for most people.

  1. Make sure your internet is working correctly.
  2. Close Anki by navigating to File > Exit (or Ctrl/Cmd+Q).
  3. Reopen the mobile and desktop apps.
  4. Press “synchronize” on mobile or “sync” on the computer.

If this doesn’t work we need to try some other solutions. Sometimes issues can be

Anki Sync Taking Forever?

Another extremely common scenario is that the syncing process is just taking forever. This is likely because you are trying to sync too many cards or cards with a lot of additional media, such as images.

In this case, it might be worth checking your media, this allows you to delete unused media files. To do this, simply go to Tools > Check Media.

Check media menu in Anki

Alternatively, you can disable the syncing of media in the preferences, which can be reached by going to Tools > Preferences. However, this will obviously mean you won’t get the media synced in the cards.

Synchronize media in Anki setting on desktop.

If restarting Anki or Anki taking too long isn’t your issue, there are some more things to try. The solutions below should help solve a few different errors you get when syncing with Anki.

Why Anki Isn’t Syncing and How to Fix It

1. Try a different network

Syncing issues are often a result of unstable or slow internet connections. Here’s what you can do:

  • Switch Your Network Connection: If you’re on your home Wi-Fi and having trouble, consider trying a different network. For instance, connect to your phone’s data or perhaps the Wi-Fi at your school or a local coffee shop.
  • Disable VPNs: If you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), temporarily disable it. Some VPNs might block or slow down the syncing process.
  • Check Your Firewall: Ensure that Anki is allowed through your firewall. Sometimes, the firewall settings might unintentionally block the application from accessing the internet.

If your issue is coming from network issues or if you’re trying to sync large amounts of data, this solution could be the fix you need.

2. Logout and login again

Sometimes, the simplest solution can be the most effective.

If you’ve tried changing your network and it hasn’t helped, try logging out of your Anki account on your device, and then logging back in. This can refresh the connection and resolve minor glitches that might be preventing the sync.

3. Force one-way syncing

If other methods fail, consider a more drastic approach:

  • Understanding One-Way Sync: This method involves deleting all local data and redownloading it from AnkiWeb. However, you might lose any unsynced changes. For instance, if you’ve added cards on your mobile device and haven’t synced them with your desktop, they’ll be lost.
  • How to Do It (for iOS users): On the iOS version of Anki, tap the cog icon located in the top right. Navigate to “syncing” and select “full sync”. The “synchronize” button will turn red. Now, when you press it, you can opt to “download from AnkiWeb”. Remember, do NOT select upload, or you risk deleting everything on AnkiWeb.

This is also a useful way to recover a deck you deleted by mistake because you can just redownload it from Anki Web.

Sidenote: If you want to learn how to recover deleted cards I explain that in my other article on How to recover deleted cards in Anki where I show you how to recover Anki cards using backup files.

4. Update both programs

If you haven’t updated your desktop version in a long time this could be the issue. However, this would be one of the last things I try if you have a lot of add-ons installed on your computer since updating could lead to conflicts.

If the versions between the mobile and desktop versions are too different from each other you could have syncing issues. That’s why it’s worth making sure both versions are up to date. Although it’s unlikely that this would be the first thing to check, especially if it leads to so much extra work due to add-ons.

The Takeaway

Anki syncing issues can be frustrating, but with these methods, you’ll be well-equipped to troubleshoot and resolve them. Remember always to back up your data, especially before making significant changes or updates.