ownCloud 2.19 for Android

Hello everyone! Today we have released a new version of the ownCloud Android App. :partying_face:

This release comes with some visual improvements, new features, and Scoped Storage!

Scoped Storage

Here comes the most important change in this release. The Scoped Storage.

We have changed completely the way the ownCloud app stores files on the device. To do it, we have added a new migration wizard that will guide the user through this migration to scoped storage.

Previously, the files were stored in the shared storage. That was good for some use cases, but the files were not completely safe and private.

Other apps could access, read or write the ownCloud files and that was something that we needed to change. The files remained even after uninstalling the app. It was not secure neither private.

Now, we have changed that. The files will be stored in the Scoped Storage. Let’s check what does it mean.

The files are now stored in the Scoped Storage, which is a reserved space for the app files. Files will be safer and private. And they will be available for other apps that use the Documents Provider, which is the recommended way.

By the way, if we remove an account, the files related to that account are removed, and they won’t waste the local storage. And not only that, if the ownCloud app is uninstalled, all the downloaded files are removed.

Scoped Storage is, in fact, something required from Google platform to use API >= 30. This API level is mandatory for all apps to be updated in Google Play from 1st November 2021. That means, the new ownCloud 2.19, released during November, MUST include Scoped Storage, otherwise it would be rejected by Google. It was not an option for us to include the feature.

If you are curious about the feature and Google requirements, you can read something about it:

Logs view redesign

We have changed completely the logs viewer. Previously, we had a viewer embedded in the android app, but now, we will see a list of the logs.

On the left, we can see the previous behavior (v2.18.3), and on the right the new one (v2.19)

As we can see, now we have three different options:

  1. Opening a log file with our favorite log viewer by clicking on the log file row
  2. Sharing a log file with other apps by clicking on the share icon
  3. Deleting a log file by clicking the bin icon.

By the way, we have added a collector that will remove old logs, so they won’t waste your storage.

Camera uploads when charging

We have added a new constraint to the Camera Uploads. Now, we can select under which circumstances we want to trigger the uploads.

On the left, we can see the previous behavior (v2.18.3), and on the right the new one (v2.19)

We have these options at the moment, feel free to ask for new ones:

  • Only when connected to wifi
  • Only when charging

If both are selected, the Camera Uploads won’t be uploaded till BOTH of them are fulfilled.

Bugs fixing

Additionally, we have included some fixes that were reported by our users. So, thanks for reporting them:

  • Fixed an issue when removing an account not being removed from the drawer.
  • Fixed an issue where logs do not stop when the user deactivates it.
  • Fixed an issue when rotating the device when sharing with ownCloud.
  • Fixed an issue when removing an account with so many downloaded files.

Read the whole Changelog in here.

How can I download the new ownCloud Android app?

Link to Google Play

Additionally, it will be available in FDroid soon.

How can I send my feedback to ownCloud developers?

We really appreciate your feedback to improve the ownCloud Android app so if you find any bug or want to make any suggestions, please participate in one of these channels:

– Open a new issue on Github: https://github.com/owncloud/android/issues/

– Open a new topic on central: https://central.owncloud.org/

– Write to android-app@owncloud.com

1 Like

Sorry if this is not the right place for this, but it didn’t seem correct to open a bug report or to start a new post for this issue as the app is likely working as designed. First, thanks for all your work on this great app. I’m a long time user and appreciate how infrequently I have issues with it. Prior to the scoped storage update, I was able to play downloaded ownCloud files in my Samsung Music app. Now all of my ownCloud folders have disappeared from that app and are no longer accessible. (Again as designed.) My question is, how can I access my downloaded ownCloud files through other apps now that scoped storage has been implemented? If I need to post this somewhere else, please let me know and I will do so. Thanks.

3 Likes

Hey!

First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your use case.

I have tried to import the ownCloud files within the Samsung Music app, but I did not find a way to do it. Apparently, it does not have a way to import files using the Documents Provider. Or, at least, I was not able to find it. It would be great if they add something like that.

So, let me suggest a workaround. It may not be perfect but could do the work. Since the ownCloud App supports the Documents Provider, we can take advantage of it. We can still export files from the ownCloud App to the shared storage. We will use a file explorer that allows us to access the Documents Provider, for example, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.marc.files

Within this app, we can access the ownCloud files via DocumentsProvider, and we could copy the music folders into the shared storage, so these apps could find the music. I know this is not an awesome solution, but it could be a workaround.

We will keep in mind your use case, and we will research if there are any other further solutions we could add in future releases.

Regards.

1 Like

I also use the Samsung Music app to play files downloaded from ownCloud, and the player is unable to find files after the switch to scoped storage. I tried the top 10 music player apps, and none of them are able to find/open files from another app using scoped storage. I think this is going to be a common issue for more than just music.

2 Likes

I have a slightly different problem with the new scoped storage.

Before the update I used to edit plain text files with an app and then I saved my changes back to the shared folder, overwriting the existing file. And then, openening the owncloud app, it would sync the changes I made on the phone back to the server.

Now, with the new documents provider, when I save changes to the plain text files with Jota+, I can see the change when viewing the file contents in the owncloud app, but the changes are no longer uploaded to the server. And I haven’t found a way to trigger the upload manually.

So, with the new shared storage, is there a way I can modify the synchronized files on the phone and have the changes synced back to the server?

Edit: I seem to have found a way

  • open owncloud app → to make sure latest version gets downloaded from server
  • switch to files app, select the owncloud provider, navigate to the desired file
  • open in editor app, save changes
  • go back to owncloud app → to make sure the changes get uploaded to the server

Feels a little more clumsy than before but I may get used to it :wink:

While I’m sure this is more secure, when even Google’s own apps like their internal settings app for sound selection doesn’t use the Documents Provider in the same way and thus has no access to OwnCloud files, it’s definitely not very useful… Basically seems to have reduced Owncloud to a “view your owncloud files on a phone” app…

Hi @Brackmeister

The edit seems the way to proceed, but we are working to reduce the steps to 2 and 3.

The first one about opening the ownCloud App to make sure latest version gets downloaded from server is a known issue that we have in the android repository: https://github.com/owncloud/android/issues/3404

We will work on it to make sure the file is synchronized before opening.

The fourth step should be done automatically if you open the file via DocumentsProvider. If you detect that there is a problem with that, please, open a new issue in the Android repository, so we can fix it.

Thanks for sharing.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your experience with the new version.

I think that the ownCloud Android app is a little bit more than “view your owncloud files on a phone” app.

I know that with Scoped Storage we lost some use cases, and we keep checking for alternatives to bring them back.

Let us know your use case, and we will check if we can do anything to fix it.

By the way, feel free to open a new issue if you find any problems.

Hello,

Use the Files application is indeed a short term solution, but it also needs to remove any code you put to protect the access of your owncloud application, Document Provider can’t access to the files of an application with password. So because of the new security I have to remove any security for accessing my files.

In the second time, this solution give access to all files which are on the server, not only the downloaded ones. So, since the only way to access to the downloaded files is the application itself, and all other ways give access to all the server, without security because putting a code breaks the access, what is the point of the application and the download feature of it ? I mean, it’s just a connector for other apps now.

Thanks for your reply, just one more question, because maybe I’m misunderstanding/overlooking something: the “open with” entry in the OC app is basically useless for editing, right? What’s the use case for it now? From my understanding it’s more like a “share” button, e.g. for attaching something to an email or sending it via chat message etc.

Hello @elthaniel

Thanks for sharing your experience with the ownCloud App.

About the first issue, we are aware of it. Here we have the issue to allow access from the Documents Provider: https://github.com/owncloud/android/issues/3379. It is already developed and will be released in the next one.

On the other hand, the download feature allows us to download the file and have it locally available. So we won’t need to download it when we want to open or share a file. By the way, we need to check the download feature and if it is useful or not with Scoped Storage: https://github.com/owncloud/android/issues/3289

Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Hey @Brackmeister. There are some differences between “Open with” and “Send” options.

  • Open with
    At the moment, open with option does not allow us to edit the file. It is only used for opening a file, for example opening a PDF or a mp3 or whatever with our favourite viewer or player. So, yes, at the moment is “useless for editing”.

  • Send
    We deliver the file to other apps so they can use it for whatever. This is the “share” button in case we want to attach the file in an email or chat and so on.

Constructive feedback is highly appreciated. I will share this with the team to check if we can improve the “Open with” behaviour.

1 Like

Thanks for the clarification :slight_smile:

As a short term improvement maybe “View in” instead of “Open with” is an idea.

Please give us some option to at least optionally don’t use the scoped storage. This is so apple style. Objectively a big degradation of the app. Before it was cloud for the whole system. Now it is an app to keep some files backed up.
Cloud is not a just a way to back up files but to interconnect devices. It used to enable me to work with applications across all my devices on the same files. Now I just have one app to look at all my files but I basically can’t use them because apps are not allowed to access those files.

The direct use cases lost are uncanny. Password managers with their synced database, music from my preferred music player, looking at photos in my chosen app, editing work documents directly from the app without needing to switch to owncloud. Not even mentioning that android terminals now won’t be able to work with cloud either.

I am sure this will be a major point of frustration for many users. Please stop treating us like we are some kiddos that will store the bank account password in a plain text file and sync it all over the place.

This did really kill the app for me and I am reverting to older version hoping there will be at least an opt out switch in the future to use the normal storage.

1 Like

Agreed. An option to sync/download with the classic storage method instead of scoped storage would fix the many broken use cases.

2 Likes

Cant really use alot of my apps anymore with the scoped storage. As mentioned before please make it an option to use the normal folders (or even better let us choose which folder is saved in scoped storage and which is not)

It is great that security has a high priority but with scoped storage only it does not work for me.

Hello
I have the same problem as many people here.
Since this update, I can’t find my files on my phone from any other app. The whole point of owncloud for me was to do exactly that.
My music, my password safe file, my images that i create on the pc and then post on stupid app which can’t be accessed from pc. My pdf files of plane tickets, covid authorizations and information, reservation of any kind.
All that is now out of my reach again.

Finding an automatic way to sync files from pc to phone as always been a worse and worse task, every update of every system and app making it more impossible. Owncloud was my last solution, now i have to find yet another one. Time to try to install a ftp again :frowning:

Guys, I love and will always support the tools I use for free, so thanks a bunch for all your work.
But ask your users what they may want before making such a drastic change. What do we want ? To use “ownCloud, your collaboration tool”. To collaborate, between humans and between devices and between softs/apps.
Thanks for reading this.

1 Like

Please, note that the requirement comes from android.

As far as I know, ownCloud has to comply in order to keep publishing.

2 Likes

Please rethurn at leat option to store some files on local storage. With Scoped Storage i cannot view files and sync data. Using 1password with option sync local folder. This Scoped Storage is secure, but not helping at all :frowning:

So does this mean that clouds will no longer work on Android anymore? The article made it sound like it.

Thank you for your informational comment though. This was the desired clarification of the situation.