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Just adding this for posterity in case anyone else comes across this. The issue is indeed with ACF which adds inserts two rows into the the database. meta_key | meta_value {$field_name} | $value _{$field_name} | $field_key So in order to import postmeta into ACF fields you also need to add the second row of postmeta containing the field name ...


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update_field() is ACF function so I would guess the issue is with it. From quick look at source it calls get_field_object() and so on, so environment might not be sufficient for it to work correctly during import. There is no "half" state for native meta data, either it exists in database or it doesn't. You could try to stick with native WP API for meta ...



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