Two-Way device sync lacks sufficient auto delete from cloud when deleted on device

So I have been tinkering around with the Nextcloud Android app for many days now and have researched to the very depths of Google. From what I understand, I have configured the Nextcloud Android app to move select synced folder files to the Nextcloud app folder on my SD card. This now allows me to have the effect of auto deleting the files from my device when deleted off of my main Nextcould cloud folder dashboard (accessed via any device). It also lets new files in said synced folders to auto upload from my device to my Nextcloud cloud folders.

The issue that I still have neither seen nor read of a solution for is how to configure it (using the Nextcloud app for Android) so that deleting said files in my Nextcloud folder on my Android device will also delete them from my Nextcloud cloud storage (accessed via wherever) aka, a true two-way synced folder. I feel like this is a strange feature for Nextcloud to neglect. I feel like the natural behavior should be that any files saved in the Nextcloud folder on my device should delete in the cloud once deleted from that folder or like there should at least be a toggle for this behavior in the sync folder configuration settings.

Hi @Tanman897

Are you talking about the Synchornisation feature (long press on any file or folder in the Nextcloud app) or about the Auto-upload feature?

The Synchronisation feature behaves exactly how you would like it to behave. When you delete a previously synchronised file or folder, the app will ask whether you want to free up local storage (delete only the copy on the device) or if you want to actually delete the file or folder (file or folder gets deleted on the server and on the device).

The Auto-Upload feature however is, as the name suggests, not a synchronisation feature. It’s more a backup feature, and the behaviour you don’t like about it, is actually a good thing. Because this feature is probably most used to auto-upload / backup photos, and when the phone’s storage gets filled up, you can delete the photos locally on your phone and the photos remain stored on your Nextcloud.

In general the Nextcloud phone app works pretty much the same as apps from other cloud storage providers work. It is primarily meant as a client to access the data on your cloud while you are online, with the ability to make selected files and folders available for offline usage (long press → synchoronize). In addition to that, the auto-upload feature gives you the option to automatically backup selected folders from your phone to your cloud.

It is not a classic two-way sync-client like the Nextcloud Desktop client, where all or most of your data gets duplicated to your client device. If you want to have real two-way sync, similiar to the desktop client, I would recommend using an app like FolderSync Pro.

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I am talking about the auto upload feature. I had so far used the sync feature only to download all my old photos to my device. I wasn’t aware that pressing sync after I have deleted photos from a previosuly “synced” folder on my Android will then delete them from the cloud too. Is this what you are saying would then happen? Or are you saying that syncing a folder will then always prioritize the cloud data over the folder data on the Android device and add/delete files in the andorid folder accordingly?

If the former is so, this is one step closer to what I would like but still seems like it requires me to go into the Nextcloud app and manually press sync on that folder to have the cloud delete the files I have since deleted on my Android. It is still not a true 2 way sync for that folder.

If the latter is true, then the sync feature would never work to auto delete files from the cloud once deleted on my Android.

In the end, I am trying to setup a folder that acts like Google Photos. In Google photos, I toggle the setting to remove photos from the cloud once I delete them on my Android.

I would disagree with what you are saying about how a true cloud backup should work. I think there is no puritan definition of how a cloud backup should or should not work but I do believe that adding a simple toggle in the backup settings for a folder that allows auto deleting in the cloud once deleted on the device would be an incredibly useful feature that is missing at this point in time. It seems like a rather standard feature that wouldn’t be the hardest to implement.

Thank you so much for getting back to me though and for further explaining things. I would greatly appreciate your further reply on this to better understand the Nextcloud app functions and limitations in this regard.

Yeah I agree that would be a useful feature. But it’s easier to do for Google because the Google Photos App that syncs the photos and the gallery app on Android are one and the same. The Nexcloud App is more like the Google Drive app with an additional Photo / Folder backup functionalty.

The sync feature I refer to is meant to make certain files and folders that already are on your Nextcloud available for offline usage on your phone, not to sync folders that are on your phone to your Nexcloud. For what you would like to do I highly recommend checking out FolderSync Pro. You can use both the Nextcloud client and Folderync Pro in parallel. I think there is also a free version in the PlayStore, if you just want to have a look at it. Or if you are looking for something specifically for photos, you could maybe have a look at this app…

Yes, it is too bad to me that Nextcloud has not developed an app or settings that allow users to emulate Google Photos functionality with the two-way sync. Thanks for the tip on the FolderSync Pro. I am weary to install yet another application on my phone to implement parallel to the Nextcloud App but I have seen you and others repeatedly recommend it. Is FolderSync Pro open source?

Unfortunately it is not. But I used FolderSync when I started with Nextcloud for quite some time. Because back then the Auto Upload feature of the Nextcloud App wasn’t reliable at all. But I never really needed the 2-way-sync functionality, and at some point you have to free up space on your phone anyway. Nowdays I just delete the photos on my phone from time to time and then manage the photos with the Nextcloud app or on my computer. The photos are then of course no longer available on my phone when I’m offline. But I’m fine with that. I was never that person that used to have tons of stuff locally on my phone…

Thanks for the info. I find the issue with not having the files locally on my phone though is that they are no longer accessible via a gallery application, which is important to me. Plus, I have a 256GB micro sd on my phone which makes the space issue much easier to deal with. I will take a look into Foldersync Pro though. Also, while we are on the topic, would you happen to know of any solutions for auto-compressing photos (lossy or lossless) into a more manageable size before they are uploaded to Nextcloud?

No I don’t sorry. I use Nextcloud on my home server and storage space for photos isnt’t really an issue for me, so I never really looked into that.

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