Using the ownCloud Android App

Accessing your files on your ownCloud server via the Web interface is easy and convenient, as you can use any Web browser on any operating system without installing special client software. However, the ownCloud Android app offers some advantages over the Web interface:

  • A simplified interface that fits nicely on a tablet or smartphone
  • Automatic synchronization of your files
  • Share files with other ownCloud users and groups, and create multiple public share links
  • Upload of photos and videos recorded on your Android device
  • Easily add files from your device to ownCloud
  • Two-factor authentication

Installing

One way to get your ownCloud Android app is to log into your ownCloud server from your Android device using a Web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Dolphin.

The first time you log into a new ownCloud account, you’ll see a screen with a download link to the ownCloud app in the Google Play Store.

Android app new account welcome screen.

You will also find these links on your Personal page in the ownCloud Web interface. Find source code and more information from the ownCloud download page. Users of customized ownCloud Android apps, for example from their employer, should follow their employer’s instructions.

Upgrading

When you download your ownCloud Android App from the Google Play store, it will be upgraded just like any other Play Store application, according to your settings on your Android device.

It will either update automatically or give you a notification that an upgrade is available. If you are using an ownCloud Android app from a custom repository, e.g., your employer, then it will update in accordance with their policies.

Connecting to Your ownCloud Server

The first time you run your ownCloud Android app, it opens to a configuration screen. Enter your server URL, login name, password, and click the Connect button. Click the eyeball to the right of your password to expose your password.

New account creation screen.

For best security, your ownCloud server should be SSL-enabled so that you can connect via HTTPS. The ownCloud app will test your connection as soon as you provide it and tell you if you entered it correctly. If your server has a self-signed SSL certificate, you’ll get a warning that it is not to be trusted. If this happens, click the “YES” button to accept the certificate and complete your account setup.

SSL certificate warning.

With that completed, you’re now ready to use the Android application. At this point, you’ll be on the “All Files” screen, which you see below.

All files screen.

By clicking the main menu at the top left, you will be able to manage the core functionality of the app. The options are:

Manage Users Accounts

Initially the path to this section isn’t visible. To get to it, first click the down arrow, in the user details section, which will replace the “”All Files”” and “Uploads” buttons with “Add account” and “Manage accounts”.

Manage user accounts

Then, click “Manage accounts”. From there, you can see all of the currently active user accounts, along with a button to add a new account.

Viewing Accounts

After clicking “Manage accounts”, you will see a list of the currently active accounts in the application, as in the screenshot below. Each entry in the list has shortcuts to:

  • View the user’s files
  • Change the user’s password
  • Remove the account
Manage user accounts.

Adding Accounts

To add a new account is identical to creating the first account. Click “Add account”, and then follow the instructions in Connecting to Your ownCloud Server.

Removing Accounts & Logging Out

To remove an account, click the rubbish bin icon, next to the key icon. This will display a confirmation dialog, asking if you want to remove the account. If you click “Yes”, the account will be removed.

This action also logs you out of the server and deletes the database with the list of files. However, any files downloaded onto the device prior to removal will still be there afterwards. You can find them in the public partition.

Confirm account removal

Note

There is no logout function that both logs out of your account and leaves all your files on your Android device.

Change User Passwords

To change a user’s password, click the key icon, next to the user’s details. This will display the user details page, with the ownCloud server URI and user account, pre-filled. Enter a new password, and click “Connect”, and the password will be updated.

Change password or remove account dialog.

If you want extra security, please refer to the Passcode Locks & Pins section.

Files

All Files

When you are in the “All Files” view, all files that you have permission to access on your ownCloud server are displayed in your Android app. However, they are not downloaded until you click on them. Downloaded files are marked with a green tick, on the top-right of the file’s icon.

Downloaded files are marked with green ticks.

Note

Videos don’t need to be downloaded before they can be viewed, as they can be streamed to the device from your ownCloud server.

Download and view a file with a short press on the file’s name or icon. Then, a short press on the overflow button opens a menu with options for managing your file.

File management options.

When you are on your main Files page and you long press on any file or folder a list of options appears, which you can see in the image below. Some of them appear in the top bar. The ones that don’t fit in the top bar, appear in the list of options when pressing the overflow button.

Folder and file management options.

Sharing Files

You can share with other ownCloud users and groups, and create public or private share links.

Note

Multiple public links per/file is only available with ownCloud X.

To share a file, you first need to either:

  1. Long-click its name, and click the share icon at the top of the screen
  2. Click its name and then click the share icon at the top of the screen

The dialog which appears shows a list of users and groups with whom the file is already shared, as well as a list of one or more public links.

File Shares.

From here you can: - Share one link to the file with users of the same ownCloud server - Share the file with one or more users and groups - Share one or more links to the file via a range of options - Enable password protection - Set a share expiration date

To create a private link, click the link icon on the right of the file name.

Note

Private link is available from ownCloud X.

To share the file with a new user or group, click the plus sign next to “Users and Groups”, where you will be able to find and add them to the share list. After a user or group has been added, you can adjust the editing and on-sharing options available for them.

Note

If your ownCloud server administrator has enabled username auto-completion, when you start typing user or group names they will auto-complete.

You can create a Federated Share Link by entering the username and remote URL of the person you want to share with in this format: user@domain.com. You don’t have to guess; the Personal page in the ownCloud Web GUI tells the exact Federated Cloud ID. Just ask them to copy and paste and send it to you.

Federated share creation.

To create a public link, click the plus symbol next to “Public Links”. This will display the options available for that link, including “Allow editing”, “Password”, and “Expiration”. After the options have been suitably configured, click “Save” to create the link. If you do not want to create the public link, click “Cancel”.

Creating New Content

To add new content, whether files, folders, or content from other apps, click the blue button at the bottom right to expose the “Upload”, “Content from other apps”, and “New folder” buttons.

Use the “Upload” button to add files to your ownCloud account from your Android filesystem. Use Content from other apps to upload files from Android apps, such as the Gallery app.

Your ownCloud Files page.

Click the overflow button at the top right (that’s the one with three vertical dots) to open a user menu. “Grid view” toggles between grid and list view. “Refresh account” syncs with the server, and “Sort” gives you the option to sort your files by date, or alphabetically.

Top-right menu.

Working With Multiple Files

The Android application can perform some operations on multiple files simultaneously, such as refreshing and deleting. To select multiple files, long select the first file that you want to work with; you will see a checkbox appear on the far right-hand side. After that, check the checkbox next to all the other files that you want to perform the same operation on, and then perform the operation.

Select multiple files.

Uploading Files Taken From the Camera

Pictures and videos can be uploaded from your smartphone after choosing the folder where they are stored. To specify where they are located, in the “Settings” options, under Camera uploads, enable one of “Picture uploads” or “Video uploads”. After that, a further option called “Camera folder” will become visible, as in the screenshot below.

Specify camera folder.

Current Uploads

The Uploads page displays the status of files currently uploading, a list of your recently uploaded files, and a Retry option for any failed uploads. If credentials to access the file have changed, you’ll see a credentials error. Tap the file to retry, and you’ll get a login screen to enter the new credentials.

If the upload fails because you’re trying to upload to a folder that you do not have permission to access, you will see a “Permissions error”. Change the permissions on the folder and retry the upload, or cancel and then upload the file to a different folder.

Top-left menu.

Make Folders Available Offline

Folders can be made available for when no internet or mobile connectivity is available. Doing so caches a copy of the folder and its contents locally to the device (assuming that sufficient disc space is available). Depending on the number of folders selected for offline availability, how folders are made available offline works slightly differently.

  • A single folder: When a single folder is selected, click the More options menu, which opens a popup menu, and then select the first option, labeled: “Set as available offline”.
  • Multiple folders: When multiple folders are selected, click the down arrow icon near the top of the screen.

When the folders have been locally cached, the icon will change to have a yellow, down-arrow icon in the bottom right-hand corner, as in the screenshot below.

Make folders available offline.

Application Settings

Use the “Settings” screen to control your ownCloud applications settings and functionality.

the Settings screen.

Camera Uploads

If you take photos or create videos with your Android device, they can be automatically uploaded to your ownCloud server. To enable this, under “Camera uploads” tap one or both of Picture uploads or Video uploads.

the Camera upload settings screen.

By enabling these features any new photos or videos which you create will be automatically uploaded every 15 minutes. Photos and videos are not uploaded when they’re created, to focus on reliability, instead of immediacy, and to avoid battery draining caused by excessive checking of the camera folder.

Note

Please be aware that if you used the earlier Instant Uploads feature, you will lose the configuration and have to enable the “Camera uploads” feature if you want to use it, since it needs to be initialized and configured properly.

If you’re concerned about mobile data usage, or have an account with limited data available, you can limit uploading to only when a WiFi is in use. This option is visible once you’ve enabled the respective option. For photos tap “Upload pictures via wifi only”. For videos tap “Upload videos via wifi only”.

By default, photos and videos are uploaded to a directory called /CameraUpload. However, you also have the option to use an existing directory, or to create a new one. To change the upload location, tap on Picture upload path under photos or Video upload path under videos, and choose one of the folders displayed.

To create a new folder, click the More options menu, in the top right-hand corner. This will display the menu option: New folder. Tap it and enter the name of the new folder in the Folder name dialog. Then, tap the newly created folder and tap Choose in the bottom right-hand corner. You’ll see that the path has been updated.

Passcode Locks & Pins

You can also set a passcode lock to further protect your files and folders. And, if you want extra security, you can set a login PIN on your Android device, and also on your ownCloud account. If you are using a shared Android device, other users can access your files in the file manager if you are sharing a single user account. To avoid this, you could set up multiple user accounts to protect your files.

The bottom section of the “Settings” screen has links to:

  • Help
  • Recommend to a friend
  • Feedback
  • The version number