Help me understand what's possible and what's not with Nextcloud

I want to migrate my file syncing to Nextcloud, but I’m bumping into so many problems and fail to find such features that I’m starting to lose hope. I’ll try to explain what I want to achieve. Could you please tell me:

  • whether it’s possible with Nextcloud?
  • if it’s possible, how can I do it?
  • if not, what’s the obstacle?
  • if not, will it be possible in the future?
  • if it will be possible, at what time/version do you expect it to become possible?

I tried to learn these from the forum posts, Reddit posts and Github issues, but there’s so many of them that it’s beyond my abilities as an outsider to reconstruct the whole picture. So I call for help from someone who is much more knowledgeable.

My Nextcloud versions: 12 or 13 (server) / (Windows 7) / 3.0.2 (Android 5)

  1. I want to have a general folder that’s present on the server, on my desktop and on my phone and it auto-syncs all changes with all the platforms instantly (including the actual downloads of files). I think I’m able to do that between the server and the desktop. But on the phone, I’m unable to set an automatic download. I saw I can set auto-uploads separately, but it doesn’t work smoothly, or it doesn’t work at all.

  2. I want to have a folder that’s present on the server, but only the server, and doesn’t display or get synced with my devices. I can’t seem to do this on the phone because it always automatically gets all the folders from the server. I wish to be able to display and sync from the server only folders that I choose to.

  3. I want to sync certain folders between my desktop and mobile (again, preferably automatically in both ways), and I want to be able to set the absolute paths on both ends. For example, have a two-way sync of C:\cats\tubby\kitten (folder on desktop) with sdcard1\photos\feline (folder on mobile). Again, the desktop part is possible, but I’m not sure how to do this on mobile. The mobile client’s features seem to be the bottleneck. I’ve been thinking of starting on the mobile and then add an auto upload, but I’m stuck because I can’t get the mobile client to download to anywhere else than inside the default Nextcloud folder.

  4. I read about end-to-end encryption and I would very much like to use it, but I’m not at all sure how it works. Could I use it in the above scenarios? So that my files are all readable on desktop and mobile, but they’re in an encrypted form on the server.

I’m pretty much stuck and I don’t want to go back to Google/Dropbox/and co., so thank you for any input and help.

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  1. This is still missing in the official app for some reason. I have some syncing set up, on my phone, but it require third party apps. I use folderSync which is not … ideal…(proprietary app) but it get the work done. The nextcloud server is not so picky, if the client speaks webdav, it will work

  2. I don’t know of a way to selectivly “hide” folders. They are not taking any amount of space on your phone. Is there a special reason you want them hidden, aside from not having them cluttering up the interface?

  3. I have it set up that way with foldersync. There should be other apps availible that works as well. See if you can find anyone that supports webdav and suits your needs. I have not found any problems in having both on a device. The syning works both ways, and I have even made it automatically delete the files off the phone after upload since I just want them “pushed” to the server

  4. Yes, that is the point of the end-to-end encryption. It makes your files unreadable for the server. Note that you will loose some functionality while doing this. The folders can’t be viewed in the web interface. Nextcloud apps can’t use the files and searching in the web interface will not work anymore. Third party clients will also not be able to read the files anymore. If this encryption is what you need depends on your use case. If you want to disallow any access for outside of authorized computers, this might be what you need. If you want to protect the files in case of server theft, that is probably better handled by using encryption tools in the OS on the server


I’m brand new to NextCloud, so take what I say with some trepidation, and some more “isn’t he special.

  1. When using the app and creating or deleting a file in the desktop web interface, the file change is reflected immediately in the DAV folder on a workstation and the mobile NextCloud app. HOWEVER, like you noticed, there is no ping to instantaneously push the refresh of the screen on those other methods of connecting to the server. So if I opened the folder on one of the three interfaces a few hundredths of a second after it was created/destroyed I would see it. But if I was sitting idle in the other two interfaces I would never see the new change. While playing around I discovered the following items which are not good:
  • On-device folders (as opposed to listed remote folders in All files) need manual sync.
  • Manual sync of folders on mobile device download the entire contents of the folder instead of checking if files changed or if some were added/removed.
  1. I have no idea why you would want to do this. I could think of snarky jokes, but I’m supposed to be an adult… …but since you have my attention already, I can’t find a way to do it either. It would be a cool feature to click the “⋯” more-stuff menu icon and have an option for “Hidden folder”. It would probably only be a fork of their code for Ignored files/folders. I think you should go to and make that a new Issue with the label enhancements and maybe the [Feature Request] thing in your title.
  2. About the same as bullet #2; why would anyone want to && great idea. Go give them your contributions at Client Android and iOS Just copy/paste the same idea to each crew. I don’t think it would be hard for them to allow a user to manually edit the existing map between server-side folder name and local repository, or maybe I’m an idiot and that would require the NextCloud app having read/write permissions on arbitrary apps dataspace on a device’s environment (giant security hole?). If they could let us redirect the folder mapping, then maybe they could id10+ proof it by only displaying that option to people who put the app into an advanced mode which would be obscurely hidden in the settings area.
  3. I could be wrong about this, but I think I’m right. You don’t need to enable the “End-to-End Encryption” App in your NextCloud server if you set up your server in a certain way. If your web server is sending the traffic across SSL/443 and you are in control of your server, then no worries. During the handshake process of the client’s browser and your server, keys get exchanged to encrypt for both directions; files sit on the server unencrypted and in your mobile device or desktop hard-drive unencrypted but no packet sniffer can read them and… if you passed the Qualys SSLlabs “SSL Server Test” with an A+ you’ll even have forward secrecy. However, if the web server decrypts them and proxies them to somewhere else, fuggedaboudit; everybody between your server and the proxy target gets to see the data. I think that’s what they were saying here NextCloud | End-to-End Encryption.
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