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Ask Slashdot: Local Sync Options For Android Mobile To PC? 146

Bucc5062 writes "A previous mobile phone of mine, a Motorola Razr, had a very nice program call Motocast. With it any pictures and videos would be automatically uploaded to a local/home PC running something akin to a 'cloud' service. This was great tool for I did not want to store files in the greater 'cloud'. the Razr moved on and I currently have two phones at home, neither of which have the same ability to push files to a local PC automatically. I did some research and did not find any good substitute for local cloud type backup so I am putting this out to one of the most diverse crowds I know, Slashdot readers. Zumocast did not look like it did the trick (I don't want streaming to my mobile device) and Delite studios had local cloud, but they make no reference to automatically pushing files to the server. I have people at home who are not tech savvy and would never remember to do it manually. Rolling my one is a long term option though it would require me learning the APIs for Android and I guess Windows. Is there something out that that works as good as Motocast?" ownCloud seems like a reasonable contender (installation on Debian, at least in the case of a few users and sqlite, is pretty easy). Their Android app has an option to automatically sync videos and photos as they are taken. But are there other options that are easier to install for folks uncomfortable with the idea of running Apache and an SQL server?
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Ask Slashdot: Local Sync Options For Android Mobile To PC?

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  • Google Plus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:46PM (#46230093)
    You can have Google Plus keep your photos/videos updated in your plus account as private. Then, you can download them to your pc if you need to. It does mean that google has your stuff but don't they anyway with it on your phone? If this bothers you, stop using your phone.
    • I would recommend ownCloud ( It works on multiple platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Mobile. It also syncs, slices, dices, and it's easy to use!
      • As the summary stated, something other than that as it requires an apache/mysql setup that is open to the internets
        • Perhaps I am mistaken but couldn't you just set it up so it is not routable outside of the LAN and just wait until you get home and your phone connects to the LAN to sync the files?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          No, it doesn't. As the summary also stated, if you don't want to deal with MySQL you also have the option of using owncloud with a sqlite backend. It installs very easily on Debian, and if you're worried about the WAN HTTP connection, don't expose it - instead just let the phone automatically pick up the server IP when it's connected to home wifi and sync then.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      You can have Google Plus keep your photos/videos updated in your plus account as private. Then, you can download them to your pc if you need to. It does mean that google has your stuff but don't they anyway with it on your phone? If this bothers you, stop using your phone.

      Similar Idea (but without the Plus) is Dropbox. (at least for photos). It has an option uploads every photo you take.
      These will then automatically download to the dropbox folder on any machine(s) you have designated.

      However, I'm Not sure either of these is exactly what was asked for here.

      • Dropbox will also do videos by default along with WiFi only sync. I wouldn't recommend video backup with Cellular data, takes far too long and clogs up your 3G/4G connection with ease. It's perfect for photos though.
    • by Lenbok ( 22992 )

      I'm not sure why the parent got modded up as it does not meet the OP needs -- they explicitly said they wanted a local solution. For many people with data caps on their cellular and or home internet connection, syncing videos to your PC via the internet is not viable as you use double the bandwidth.

      G+ is also monster for eating your cellular data -- even after telling it to sync photos etc via wifi only it still destroyed my data cap one day, I assume this was in some attempt to download an "autoawesome" vi

    • Well, almost any storage service with an app can do that. I prefer the Mega one. It isn't related to a social network and, afaik, they're encrypted from everyone else.

    • = 0

      This was great tool for I did not want to store files in the greater 'cloud'.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Your phone doesn't have Bluetooth and wifi? A Bluetooth dongle for your PC is only about ten or twenty bucks. I can send photos to my PC using either, didn't have to install anything, and it's only a $125 phone.

  • BitTorrent Sync (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    BitTorrent Sync is what you are looking for.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, BitTorrent Sync is what I use, but both devices that are syncing need to be on at the same time of course since there is no central server (cloud-based or otherwise). Then again, all other options that don't rely on the cloud based providers will require a personal server to stay on at all times, so that's not really any different, is it.

      • by pr0nbot ( 313417 )

        I think you meant that both sync devices need to be on at the same time IF you want the sync to be immediate. Otherwise, BTSync will happily sync at the point where the missing device come online.

    • I have been using for a while to sync ebooks and logs. Not a single issue. You can disable their tracker and go by DHT if you want.

    • +1 for BitTorrent Sync. Works pretty much flawlessly with syncing between android devices and desktops.

    • by axllent ( 220868 )

      I agree, btsync has been great, syncing between my Linux computers, making remote backups of my parent's Windows computers (My Documents), as well as syncing photos between our phones and tablet. Personally I'm not entirely happy that it's not open source (I know they say it's private but heck... are you really ever sure?), so I'd probably make the switch when someone comes out with an open source alternative. In the meantime however, I'm really happy with it!

    • Agreed. Your data only lives on your own devices and is limited only by your own disk space.

      • Forgot to mention, it's also good for syncing more than 2 devices. Very cool to automatically distribute an epub across multiple devices and later delete from anywhere.

    • Someone PLEASE mod this up some more. I screwed around with ftp, Google+, and a few other options, but BT Sync beat everything. I installed it on the PC, installed it on the phone, and in the space of a few hours I had 9GB of pictures and videos copied across Wifi from my phone to the PC. Whenever I add a picture on the phone, it appears on the computer. You choose the type of sync (read-write or read-only) and let it fly.

      The Android App defaults to only operate when on Wifi, so data charges stay low (but y

    • You've changed my life.
  • Duh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Keruo ( 771880 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:49PM (#46230121)
    Isn't it obvious to use rsync+ssh [] for syncing unix to unix?
    I don't use that one myself, just first result from google which is free.
    • Lol. No. A phone is not a server or desktop and using rsync+ssh under Android natively would be silly when there are apps that do it right.
      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        I use the rsync app linked above. I already had a server (low-power ARM thing), so it took a few minutes to create a username and public key. The app has a list of defined rsync commands, I run it every so often.

    • by ron_ivi ( 607351 )

      Why'd someone mod this as troll?

      I use it; and it works great.

    • Isn't it obvious to use rsync+ssh [] for syncing unix to unix?

      Except the poster mentions learning the API for Windows ... they mention a PC, but don't mention which operating system, so this solution might not fit.

  • FolderSync app (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fencepost ( 107992 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:52PM (#46230155) Journal
    I'd look at the FolderSync [] app, ~$3. It supports a huge number of backend connection types including FTP/SFTP, SMB/CIFS and WebDAV to cover most of your local server needs. It also covers most of the major and many minor cloud storage providers. You can set it up to sync only on specified wifi networks, to sync on schedules or when files change, etc.

    There's also a "lite" version, which only allows 2 accounts, no Tasker support and no sync filters (which I've never fiddled with anyway, so may not be that important).

    • I'd look at the FolderSync [] app, ~$3. It supports a huge number of backend connection types including FTP/SFTP, SMB/CIFS and WebDAV to cover most of your local server needs. It also covers most of the major and many minor cloud storage providers. You can set it up to sync only on specified wifi networks, to sync on schedules or when files change, etc.

      There's also a "lite" version, which only allows 2 accounts, no Tasker support and no sync filters (which I've never fiddled with anyway, so may not be that important).

      Came here specifically to recommend this one too, so +1.

      Have been using it, in conjunction with SuperBackup* [] to back up photos, contacts, texts, calendars, etc. to personal FTP storage for years, and it looks like it'll support a network share drive as a backup site (haven't tested that yet). It's a bit resource intensive on first run (naturally), but once it's caught up it's light and unintrusive...and it just works. One of the nicer features is that you can specify whether to wait until you're plugged i

      • And, an anecdote in support of the tech-challenged: I installed FolderSync on a friend's Galaxy for her, and when she 'upgraded' to apple (bah, but I must agree more suited to her), we restored her contacts, photos, etc right up to the day before she got her new iPhone...she said she never really noticed it running, but it had everything neatly backed up for her nonetheless.

        • by Cammi ( 1956130 )
          There is no foldersync for iphones .... what are you really using?
          • There is no foldersync for iphones .... what are you really using?

            Sorry, that was a bit unclear :)

            We just used some sort of file manager app from Apple to download the backed up files from the FTP site to her new iPhone. My point was that FolderSync kept those files up to date for her on her Galaxy, so when her phone got smashed, she didn't lose anything...she figures maybe the last week or so of texts was missing, but no contacts (backed up weekly, courtesy of SuperBackup and FolderSync) and no photos that she could remember (backed up nightly, only FolderSync required)

            • by redback ( 15527 )

              Android syncs all your contacts with your google account anyway.

              • Android syncs all your contacts with your google account anyway.

                Android can sync all your contacts with your Google account, if you allow it to. Sorry, I just don't trust Google that far. My email contacts are my email contacts, and my phone contacts are my phone contacts. I do not see a pressing need to combine the two, since they are very different use cases.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      That's great to know! Why is it that commercial photo / music management tools include options like "upload to facebook" and "upload to dropbox" but not "upload to SFTP/SCP server" which should work with anything? Is there some recent abhorrence to using standard protocols?

    • by phorm ( 591458 )

      Just to clarify, the one by "Tacit Dynamics" ?

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Something like that could work well. I'm also looking for an effective way to synchronize to a home server.

      For calendars this is already solved, since one can already install one of many CalDAV-enabling apps to synchronize calendars to your home server (running davical or some other CalDAV server).

      For files, I'm looking for something that can do effectively an rsync pull/push to an SSH server. I'll check out FolderSync and see if it does anything like that.

      Further, I'd really like to see a working SSHFS c

      • There's at least one app that may do what you want (rsync backup [] by Michal Kowalczuk), but I've never used it.

        If that doesn't do the trick, I find that my tablet running Cyanogenmod 10.1.3 has rsync 3.0.7, but I've also installed extra bits and pieces ("Android Terminal Emulator" by Jack Palevich, "Terminal IDE" by Spartacus Rex, "Busybox Pro" by Stephen (stericson)) so I'm not 100% sure that it was originally available. You may be able to script and schedule something of your own based on scripts you use

      • I hit Submit too soon on the previous one. Isn't DLNA designed for that kind of in-home streaming of media between devices? If you're rolling your own for the sake of tinkering have at it, but if it's just to stream things around I'd look hard at the existing options first.
    • Sorry, I live overseas and I can't buy apps even if I want to. I thought I would be clever and use a VPN: nah, turns out that Google doesn't check your IP, they check your SIM card. A big middle finger to me and everyone else. We are all doomed to use only free apps, forever.
      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        Your SIM card? Can you take it out temporarily and connect via local WiFi?

      • Try the Lite version of the app - if you only need two connections then it may actually do what you need and is free.

        If you do need the paid version, Tacit Dynamics ( apparently has it available through and through as well if either of those will work for you. The drawback of either is that I believe (as with most competing app markets) you have to keep that app market installed on your device.
    • Seconded.

      I use FolderSync Lite [], which is free, and assign certain folders to be synced using SFTP to a Linux server. Any Linux server running OpenSSH has SFTP built in with no extra parts needed.

      The folders are mainly the camera, screenshots, ...etc. You can tell it to only sync when there is WiFi, and when the phone is powered on.

  • i use iphoto on a Macbook with my galaxy note 3. imports photos when i plug it in and open iphoto
    adobe has a cheapo $80 range program as well, can't remember the name. for $120 i think they will sell you the photo and video editing apps together

  • You didn't manage to find Titanium Backup Pro + (Dropbox | Box | Google Drive)? You clearly didn't look very hard.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Well, one of the primary requirements in the summary is to not use the public cloud in favor of a private one (so stuff goes straight to your PC without touching dropbox/google drive/whatever).

      While I think that's kind of a waste of time, it was pretty clear.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      I use Titanium Media Sync for the files and Titanium Backup for everything else. If one is afraid of Dropbox or a cloud service, then that is one issue. However, if one is just backing up apps, Titanium Backup has very good encryption (encrypting, it uses a public key, decrypting, it prompts and unlocks a private key.)

      Of course, Dropbox's app does a good job for saving photos to its storage.

      If one needs encryption, there are always programs that use EncFS that remote sync to cloud providers. This allows

  • i believe dropbox has an auto upload feature that you can limit to wifi. set up a client on the PC and it will sync the photos there. then just copy them to another folder on the hard drive. google drive should do the same

    evil apple has photo sync where you can set up icloud on a PC and have it sync photos as well. very easy to use. just set up icloud on your iphone and the icloud PC client. if you have a macbook then iphoto will just grab your photos out of icloud when you open it up

    • Yep. Private Dropbox has autosync features. Also SkyDrive.
    • *Looks at phone* Yes, Dropbox has an option to allow upload only over a wifi connection, instead of the phone's data plan. The problem is that it still goes up to Dropbox's server before going to the PC's folder, and subby said that they don't like that.
  • Sweet Home app (Score:4, Informative)

    by werelnon ( 864688 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:57PM (#46230239) Homepage

    Syncs images and videos to a SMB share whenever you are connected to your LAN: []

    Simple and works for me.

    • by gauauu ( 649169 )

      Syncs images and videos to a SMB share whenever you are connected to your LAN: []

      Simple and works for me.

      This used to be great. But it doesn't work quite right on Jelly Bean and up*, and the author has stopped updating and supporting it. I used to highly recommend it, but not any longer.

      * You can still sort of make it work, but it always complains that it's not connected to wifi, and you can't manually start syncs.

    • Yep, I've been using this for a couple of years to upload to a SMB share on a raspberry pi server. Works flawlessly. I can then take the files off the pi as I sort them into folders and stuff, and it all stays in sync fine.

  • A good friend of mine wrote an app called Syncness that will sync music between a windows file share and an android phone. You can use it for other stuff beyond just MP3's though. I'd recommend giving it a try!
  • ownCloud is a cloud solution that you have control over yourself. It can sync across multiple platforms: windows, Linux, mac, mobile, etc.
  • I was looking into similar options - came across BTSync, OwnCloud, and AeroFS as options but haven't really played with any of them yet.

  • Even if it has a clunky interface, I enjoy Pogoplug for this reason exactly. It is local storage but it acts as your own personal cloud.
  • Synology NAS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @02:31PM (#46230579) Journal

    This may be overkill for your needs, but I have a Synology NAS that does this. It's got a Dropbox-like app called Cloud Sync to sync all your devices with your NAS (and will sync WiFi-only for your Android if you want). It also has a separate photo app that will auto-upload your photos to your NAS. It includes many other apps that might interest you as well.

  • But in this case if you are uploading a picture through the mobile service, then there is no reason to believe that the NSA or whoever does not have it. A picture does not have to be permanently stored 'in the cloud' for it to be vulnerable. As long as the telco has it for a minute, and it has to if the picture is moved from the phone to the computer through their network, then there is a copy of it somewhere at least for a little while, and privacy is an issue. I have heard that current case law says th
  • You can download already made VM images [] for VMWare, KVM or VirtualBox, or, if you already run Linux and want something lighter than a VM, you can run OwnCloud inside a Docker container [].
  • There's a very simple app called BotSync [] that can be set to sync a folder either up or down manually or at an interval. It uses SFTP, so no special software is required on your Linux PC. It's pretty barebones, but brain-dead simple.

    Other than that, Dropbox is probably the way to go if you want them synced as soon as they're taken. Ubuntu one also has a similar solution [] that may work for your needs (and do other nifty things as well).

  • If you have a Samsung (which I do) you have have it sync using their Kies software. I don't think you can sync remotely, but you can definitely do it locally over the same wifi network. You can set it to automatically connect and backup when you join the wifi network.

  • There isn't any good local solution (all of them are buggy or too complicated) but there are plenty of cloud based solution. The Vanilla Dropbox in Android automatically sync photo and videos from phone (you just need to enable the option). Same as SkyDrive (a little buggy). These options are easy to setup and needs no attention from users. If you want to sync some none video/photo folders, you need to buy an app call DropSync Pro ($5), it sync your Android folders just like your Dropbox on PC. The added ad
  • I have had good success with Syncme Wireless. Only works with smb shares, but does the job well.

  • The pay version unlocks features that allow periodic syncing of files to a ssh server. I have never tried these features , so I dont know how well they work.

  • it's been said a couple times by now i'm sure.. but i use an instance of owncloud to host/backup/share my

    contacts - via CardDav
    calendar - via CalDav
    pictures/files - via webDav
    browser history/bookmarks/addons/prefs - via mozilla_sync (an own cloud app)

    i host it on my own hardware, it's basically php+apache (could be nginx or whatever, i happen to be using apache) postgres (could be mysql, whatever else)..

    i sync it with thunderbird/lightning (but it'll sync with anything really)

    I can't understand why most peo

    • additionally,

      ownlcould also has android and iOS clients.

      there's no excuse for putting your personal data in anyone else's cloud but your own.

  • I was just looking into this myself so the timing of this /. artical is funny to me. None the less, I find all of the options to be inadequate. I think the idea of syncing to servers is nice and suits some people, whether it is your own server or someone elses but whatever happended to being able to just sync to the one or two computers that you use on a daily basis? Nothing I know of really seems to do that with an Android phone. Even Apple iThings have that capability!!!!! Why can't someone roll(google,
    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      What functionality does ownCloud not have that you would want?

      • I should be more specific about this statement. It's not so much each option such as Owncloud that dissapoints me, but the fact that syncing to a server is the standard way to deal with the problem. I'm sure owncloud does a fine job if that's the way you want to sync your contacts and I'd damn sure prefer it to syncing with google but it would be nice to be able to sync directly to a computer.
        • It does. Install the Owncloud software on your computer - install sync client on your Android. Whatever you put in the sync folders goes onto your computer. Done. I put it on my laptop last night...
  • You could try Pogo Plug []'s Private Cloud, a $50 box you can plug a USB hard drive into and use as your own 'private' cloud. There is sync/streaming/backup software for Andriod and iDevices and backup/management software for Windows and Mac.

    //also the PogoPlug is a small linux box that can be modified to do whatever you want.

  • I run Dropbox on my Nexus 10 tablet and Galaxy III phone. It seamlessly uploads pictures and videos taken with either device to the 'cloud', where they are downloaded into each other's "dropbox folders", as well as my work and home PC's. It's been trivial to set up and use it like this; recommended.
  • PhotoSync - []

    In the app, you specify an SMB share. Any time you take a picture or video, the app will be notified. The next time you're on the same wifi network as your PC, the app will copy the new pictures/videos to the share. Optionally, you can have the app delete the pictures/videos off your phone after a user-defined amount of time after they've been synced, so that you don't run out of space on your phone (unless you set this time threshold longer than it takes to fill

  • Dropsync is an Android app which does true syncing of a directory on your phone to dropbox (in the same way as the desktop app does). To be, this is the one killer application for Android.

    Unless you are fundamentally opposed to dropbox for some reason, this is in my opinion the best option.

  • Bittorent Sync. Works quite well. []
  • I use Air Droid and ES file explorer on 3 tablets and 2 phones. Both are free, easy and quick. Air Droid will allow you to download your stuff from Android to a PC very quickly but it is manual, no automation or sync (for free version anyway). ES allows you to use your network to copy from phone to a PC using FTP, SMB/CIFS, or cloud, again, manual and no automation.
  • My wife and I use FolderSync (purchased via the Amazon store so we can share the one copy) to sync files with a Linux box via SSH.

    As a bonus, we then use Unison to sync that to the Windows PCs and another Linux box that's hosting a website in an offsite datacenter.

    Pros: Dirt cheap and easy. Supports files, as opposed to something like Google+ that's only going to sync stuff it knows - photos, etc. For example, it syncs my ebook collection which is a mishmash of formats.

    Cons: Slow to sync and poorly mana

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and map to a Samba share (or windows share if you want).

    It has the option to sync files or folders, also allow you to set to only do so over Wifi and you set the schedule. Lastly, you also get to pick if the phone is the "master" or if the share server is the "master"

  • I use Bittorrent Sync very effectively for this... doesn't even require a server or anything. Pretty easy to set up on a PC.
  • I have a free Android app listed on Google Play that may work for you -- SSHelper: []... . It supports SSH, SCP, SFTP and a few other secure shell-related protocols.
  • As others have already pointed out, BitTorrent Sync is the answer. []
    It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, you name it.
    And you are not limited to syncing between your phone and your PC; you can also sync between multiple PCs and many other devices.
    Highly recommended.
    The only disadvantage is that it is not open source.
    Hopefully the ClearSkies project will succeed, and in the future we will have all these advantages using an open source solution.

  • I'll add my voice to the recommendations for Bittorrent Sync []. It's fast, encrypted, doesn't rely on a third party hosting, and it doesn't even have to leave your LAN if you're at home. Avoiding needlessly uploading over a crappy ADSL connection is a major plus point.

  • iSyncr does exactly what the OP is asking for. It was built for syncing MP3s from itunes to android, but it can also sync all photos and videos to a directory on the PC that you specify. I back up my media this way over wifi while my phone charges overnight.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.