Add MBTiles Layer Files Directly to iPhone or iPad

Add MBTiles layers directly to your device that will be available for offline use. These can be used as custom basemaps. (Intermediate)

Mike Meesseman avatar
Written by Mike Meesseman
Updated over a week ago

To save time and bandwidth, you can add your offline layers directly to your iOS device through the Finder. Adding layers in this fashion is a great alternative to having to upload maps through the web app and then download them to your device, especially in cases where wi-fi or connectivity isn’t reliable. This process is fairly easy, as you just need to move the layer file from the File Manager of your iPhone to the Fulcrum application.

Adding Layers for iOS Devices

This process outlines the steps to add an offline layer to your iOS Device. Please note that the process changes according to your device's OS version.

Connect Your Device to Your Computer

Connect your iOS device to your computer. In Mac, the iPhone or iPad that has been connected will appear under the locations section of the Finder, just like a USB drive would.

Add Offline Layers

Before starting, review the details of the operating system of your computer. If you are using a Mac, click the Apple logo on the top left corner of the screen and then click 'About this Mac'. You will need to follow the instructions on a specific section of this article according to your macOS version.

Find the macOS version of your Computer to know which process to follow.

macOS Catalina or above

If your macOS version is either Catalina (10.15.7) or higher those listed in the table below) then you will need to follow these 4 simple steps after you have connected your device to your Mac:

macOS Ventura


macOS Monterey


macOS Big Sur


macOS Catalina


File Sharing steps on MacOS Catalina version or above
  1. Select your devices from those listed under 'Locations'. If you didn't change the name of your device, then it would probably read: "{Your_name}'s iPhone!"

  2. Once you select the device, you will see its information in the finder window. Next, click on the Files tab menu.

  3. From the Files tab, you will be able to see the apps that support this type of connection. Next, click on the arrow to the left of the Fulcrum's app to display all available files. Drag and drop your MBTiles file or make a copy and paste it right under Fulcrum.

  4. Once you have added all the files, click the Sync button.

Once you have done this, eject your device by clicking the icon displayed right next to its name in the Finder Window.

MacOS Mojave or below

Open iTunes and select your mobile device.

Selecting your mobile device in the iTunes App.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Click 'File Sharing' from the left-hand side navigation.

  2. From the list of apps, select 'Fulcrum'.

  3. Click the 'Add File' button.

Select the Fulcrum app in order to add a file to your device.

Click “Add” to browse for your MBTiles file on your computer.

Browse your files to get to the MBTiles file you want to add to your Device.

Properly eject your device from iTunes and your map will upload to your device right away.

Enabling the Layer

To select the layer, go to your app, and from the Map View tap the Basemaps and Layers icon.

Access Basemaps and layers by clicking the icon on the Map View.

To enable a layer, just tap the switch on the right side of the layer name. To disable a layer, tap the switch again.

Enable your layers by toggling on the switch located on the right.

Optionally, you can tap the 'Download' button to get access to the layer even when you are offline.

If you want to learn more about Basemaps and Layers, please check out the following articles:

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