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File Format Changes in SQLite

The underlying file format for SQLite databases does not change in incompatible ways. There are literally trillions of SQLite database files in circulation and the SQLite developers are committing to supporting those files for decades into the future.

Prior to SQLite version 3.0.0 (2004-06-18), the file format did sometimes change from one release to the next. But since that time, the file format has been fully backwards compatible.

By "backwards compatible" we mean that newer versions of SQLite can always read and write database files created by older versions of SQLite. It is often also the case that SQLite is "forwards compatible", that older versions of SQLite can read and write database files created by newer versions of SQLite. But there are sometimes forward compatibility breaks. Sometimes new features are added to the file format. For example, WAL mode was added in version 3.7.0 (2010-07-21). SQLite 3.7.0 and later can read and write all database files created by earlier versions of SQLite. And earlier versions of SQLite can read and write database files created by SQLite 3.7.0 and later as long as the database does not use WAL mode. But versions of SQLite prior to version 3.7.0 cannot read nor write SQLite database files that make use of WAL mode.


This page last modified on 2022-09-13 14:04:46