Locked into a FileMaker Go Screen? You Won’t Believe How One User Got Out!

FileMaker Go has a great new features called ‘Reconnect to Server’, which helps keep your database connection open if your iPad/iPhone falls asleep or your WiFi connection gets dodgy. This great new feature can become a problem if your solution sends the user to a layout from which there is no return. Obviously the first step as a programmer is to not let them get stuck — make sure there is an exit strategy for all layouts — that said, mistakes sometimes happen. I found a couple of solutions that may help if your users get stuck.

Locked in a layout?

 What is a user to do when they get hooped like this?


Swipe Down with Three Fingers to Show the Menu Bar and Toolbar

If the Menu Bar is not locked, Swipe Down with three fingers to display the Menu and Toolbar at the top.


Tap on the FileMaker Menu at the Top Left

 Once the top bar is revealed, the user can tap on the FileMaker Go icon at the top left to reveal a menu.

Close the File

From the menu, tap ‘Close File’.

The Thermonuclear Option

If the menu bar is locked and the user is truly trapped on the layout, there is still an option to get out of this endless loop. I call it the Thermonuclear Option because it requires deleting FileMaker Go and re-downloading it. One of my users came up with this approach.

  1. Quit FileMaker Go by double tapping the Home button on the iPad or iPhone
  2. Swipe up to close FileMaker Go
  3. Back up the file to a local Mac or Windows machine using iTunes
  4. Delete FileMaker Go 14 from the iPad/iPhone
  5. Re-download the FileMaker Go app
  6. Re-download the file from the iTunes.

1) Tap and Hold on the FileMaker Go App

Tapping and holding on an app icon will cause all the icons to jiggle. When this happens, tap the small x in the top left of the icon to delete it.

2) Delete the App

2015-06-16 Update: Reader Alexis Gehrt from Switzerland points out an even easier way to handle this issue: “I had similar issues with a customer running a local file acting as the UI and a hosted file holding the data. It took me quite a while to figure out what was going on with that particular customer. They have about 20 people in the field, taking lots of photos, recording the location. One a week a guy reported a damaged database. Just by accident, I discovered that they had gotten into the habit of swiping up all the apps. Years ago, someone posted a rumor that killing background apps saved on battery life, so the field users were killing every app after use… Mail, Notes, FileMaker… Killing the FileMaker app regularly by swiping up may eventually damage the data file. Once I told them the app killing/battery saving was a myth and forbade them doing this in the future, that issue was solved.”

Easy remedy
So it turns out that there is a fairly easy way to get out of a locked loop, which doesn’t involve killing apps, or deleting the app from your device:
  •  Enable Airplane Mode
  • Wait for FileMaker GO to come up with the message and then it will present the option to close all files.

I had actually tried doing this, but got impatient with waiting. Turns out I have a really short attention span. According to Alexis: “Regarding the wait time… I expressed it this way for them.. It you want to have your photos for sure and not drive back 30 minutes to the prior work location. WAIT…It takes about 10-20 seconds on my iPhone. What speeds up FileMaker’s discovery of a lost connection is to press home once and re-launch FileMaker. It them immediately comes up with the message that it tries to reconnect and about 10 secs later that’s it.”

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