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Announcing General Availability of built-in Dataverse offline for canvas apps

Headshot of article author Tristan Dehove

We are pleased to announce the General Availability of mobile offline support for canvas apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices. With the flip of a switch, your app can work with Dataverse data wherever you are–with or without network connection. Just build your app with standard Power Fx formulas and the offline feature handles all the complexity for you.

Canvas offline apps are easy. Here’s why.

Are you using LoadData/SaveData to cache and sync data for offline use? Do you need to support users in the field who work in low connectivity areas? Now, with the built-in Dataverse offline for canvas, build your app with standard Power Fx formulas enable the app for offline in the Power Apps Studio, and you’re done! (See Why use offline for canvas apps instead of LoadData/SaveData? | Microsoft Learn)

The first time a user open an app, all required data is downloaded to the device. If the app is configured to auto-generate an offline profile, the system identifies and syncs all data required to make the app run. We recommend this default mode for simple apps with small to medium-sized data sets. If the app needs to access large data sets with complex relationships, you can optimize the app’s performance by creating a custom offline profile (See Set up mobile offline for canvas apps  – Power Apps | Microsoft Learn).

Canvas offline apps work in an “offline first” approach

Once data is downloaded, the offline enabled canvas app works in an offline first approach. The app reads and writes data to a local store on the device regardless of network availability. Local and server-side changes are regularly synchronized when the network is available.

By enabling offline, you can also improve the user experience when the app is connected to the network, especially when the user creates or updates rows in Dataverse. Reading and writing offline data access is usually much faster than waiting for online calls over a mobile network, so your user experience will be responsive even while the app is synchronizing data in the background.

Out of the box support for Dataverse files and images

In an offline-enabled canvas app, you can choose between downloading files and images on view or on sync. When files and images are configured to be downloaded:

  • On view: the content is downloaded when the user opens a file or when an image is presented to the user.
  • On sync: files and images are downloaded during the offline sync when the device is connected.

With these two options, you can decide to optimize for offline availability or disk usage depending on your business needs. See Configure files and images in offline canvas apps  – Power Apps | Microsoft Learn.

Tips for creating great offline-enabled apps

We are introducing two new Power Fx functions: Connection.Sync to retrieve network and sync statuses and ShowHostInfo to display a more detailed device status page. See Set up mobile offline for canvas apps – Power Apps | Microsoft Learn.

Canvas app enabled for offline with the sync icon indicating that the device is not connected to the network with local changes not synchronized with the server.
The canvas app is enabled for offline use, with the sync icon showing that the device is currently not connected to the network and local changes have not been synchronized with the server.

We also recommend following this offline best practices to ensure a faster user experience.

Limitations and Availability

  • Non-Dataverse connectors such as SharePoint are not supported in offline-enabled apps.
  • The canvas app must be in a solution

Power Apps developers can turn on the canvas offline feature in the Power Apps Studio by navigating to the settings dialog of the canvas app (Settings > General ) and toggling “Can be used offline”.

For more details, see the documentation.

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