How to avoid accidental overwriting of cards?

I primarily use Anki on my phone, but in the meantime I often update the deck that I am learning via Anki Desktop.

After some time, I will then sync these changes to Anki Web. However, a problem occurs when I then sync Anki Web to my phone deck, since it says they conflict in such a way that one most overwrite the other. If I upload to Anki Web, I don’t receive the new cards, whereas if I download from Anki Web, I receive a large amount of unlearned cards. My questions are:

  • If I have done the second of these, is there a backup on my phone that I can restore so I do not lose the weeks of “learned” cards?

  • Is the only way to avoid this situation by manually sync’ing my phone deck to Anki Web after each session? Or does an automated way of keeping these in sync exist, which would be much easier?

Thank you!

A full sync shouldn’t happen that often - it’s only required after certain operations such as making changes to note types. Adding new cards shouldn’t require a full sync.

If you are going to be making those sorts of changes, it’s best to ensure all your devices are synced before doing so, for exactly this reason. I’d say most Anki users would sync after each learning session, or at least once a day. If you can’t be bothered with that, at the least I would make sure that each time you sit down to Anki on your desktop you pull out your phone, sync, and then sync on desktop. That’ll ensure nothing gets overwritten.


Thank you, but isn’t the important thing to sync from phone to desktop often vs. desktop to Ankiweb? Otherwise Ankiweb would not include any of the learned cards…

Syncing is two way. When you hit sync on your device it uploads any changes on that device (eg reviews you’ve done, new cards added) and downloads any changes from other devices. It only syncs in one direction if you’ve made a breaking change to your decks, so just make sure to sync fully before making breaking changes and you’ll be fine. You can’t sync directly from one device to another, only with AnkiWeb (well, you can run your own sync server, but that’s not worth it for most people).

You may be able to recover your data from an automatic backup:

You don’t need to sync devices when you’re not actively using them - it is sufficient to sync a device at the start and end of a session: Syncing in Anki: Getting Started - YouTube

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Thank you I just used the backup guide to revert to a previous backup on iPhone, but my new card (20) and learning cards (100) keep being maxed out, whichever backup I try, which is odd since I didn’t have the learning cards maxed out at all before I overwrote them with the AnkiWeb version. Any idea about that?

If you mean that there are 100+ reviews waiting, restoring from a backup will move you back to that point in time, and if days have passed since then, you may have a few days worth of reviews to get through. If you mean something else, please explain in more detail.