Using the ownCloud Android App

Introduction

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 Android App in the Google Play Store.

Download the ownCloud Android app in the Google Play store

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.

New Features Wizard

The first time that you use the Android app, you will see the "New Features Wizard". The wizard, similar to wizards in other applications and operating systems, gives you a quick overview of the new features in the ownCloud Android App, so that you’re familiar with them as quickly as possible.

The new features covered in the wizard are:

The New Features Wizard in the ownCloud Android app.

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.

ownCloud Android App: Add a new account

For best security, your ownCloud server should be SSL-enabled so that you can connect via HTTPS. The ownCloud Android 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.

The ownCloud Android App: choose whether to trust SSL certificates that cannot be verified

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

ownCloud Android App: All files overview

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".

ownCloud Android App: 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

ownCloud Android App: Manage existing 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.

ownCloud Android App: Confirm removal of user account

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.

ownCloud Android App: Change user password

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.

ownCloud Android App: All files view

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.

ownCloud Android App: File list overflow menu

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.

ownCloud Android App: File overflow menu

Sharing Files

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

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.

ownCloud Android App: File and folder share settings

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.

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.

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.

ownCloud Android App: Share file with dialog

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.

GIF Support

If you upload animated GIFs, when viewing them they will be animated and not render as a still image, as in the example GIF below.

View animated GIFs in the ownCloud Android app.

Creating New Content

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

Then, use the Upload button to add files to your ownCloud account from your Android filesystem, from other apps, or from every storage attached to your device

ownCloud Android App: Upload content

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.

ownCloud Android App: User overflow menu

Upload Pictures Directly From The Camera

Uploading pictures directly from the camera in the ownCloud Android app Uploading pictures directly from the camera in the ownCloud Android app Uploading pictures directly from the camera in the ownCloud Android app

Images can be uploaded directly from the camera. To do so, similar to uploading a file or creating a new folder, when viewing all files, click the Plus icon, then the Upload button in the popup list (which is the first icon). From there, under Upload to ownCloud, click Picture from camera. The camera app will then start, and the picture that you take can be directly uploaded to your ownCloud server.

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.

ownCloud Android App: 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.

ownCloud Android App: 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.

ownCloud Android app — Current Uploads view

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 cached locally, the icon will change to be a purple circle with a white tick icon in the bottom right-hand corner, as in the screenshot below.

ownCloud Android app — Files and Folders view

Application Settings

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

The Settings Screen in the ownCloud Android App

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.

ownCloud Android App settings - picture and video upload configuration

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.

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.

Allow Light Filtering Apps

By enabling the option (which you can see in the screenshot below), the ownCloud Android App will not be obscured by any light filtering apps, which gives the choice of using them together. When it is enabled, security warning is enabled.

Allow light filtering apps

Logs

View logs in the ownCloud Android App

If you detect a problem or a bug in the ownCloud Android App, you can send us logs about the problem. You will find the log information in the Settings view, after enabling it. To enable the logs, you have to tap five times on the version and build information, available under Settings  ownCloud for Android .

When enabled, inside the log section options to send and delete history are available as well as to search the logs. If you tap Send History your mail app is opened to address the log file. Searching the logs is available via the lens icon in the top right-hand side of the Files view.

Security

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

Pattern Lock and Fingerprint Lock

In addition to the Passcode Lock and Pins, you also have the ability to use both a pattern and a fingerprint lock to protect access to your ownCloud app and its data. To enable one or both, under Settings  Security, choose which one(s) you want to enable.

To use the Fingerprint Lock, the Pattern Lock has to be enabled.

Enable or disable the Fingerprint and Pattern Lock in the ownCloud Android app.

The Pattern Lock and Fingerprint Lock in the ownCloud Android app.

After you enable the pattern lock, you will need to create a pattern and then confirm it to access the ownCloud app, just as you would if you’ve enabled that for access to the phone itself. If you later disable pattern lock, you will need to enter your pattern again.

If you enable the fingerprint lock, you will need to provide one of your already stored fingerprint patterns to access the ownCloud app.

If fingerprint lock is enabled, but you don’t want to use it, you can cancel the fingerprint lock prompt and fallback to using the pattern lock instead.

Document Provider Integration

ownCloud Android App Document provider integration - step 1

Document provider is a feature that comes from the Storage Access Framework provided by Android. To use it we only need to open Downloads app in Android 7 and 8 or Files app in Android 9 and select the ownCloud account appearing in the side menu.

ownCloud Android App Document provider integration - step 2

Once you select the account you will have access to your file list. In there, you can perform the following actions:

  • Create a new folder

  • Rename an item

  • Delete an item; and

  • Edit a file