Fire and forget just upload files

Systems involved (but my problem might have occurred with earlier versions):

  • Debian Bullseye with Synthing 1.27.2
  • Android 14 with Syncthing 1.27.2 (

I’ve been using Syncthing for many years now and much has changed since its beginnings. But I’m a bit at a loss here.

It seems I just lost several thousand photos because I misconfigured a shared folder. I have a small home server that acts as a central hub for all my devices as it is always on. On my Android smartphone I configured the Camera folder to be shared “send only” while on the server it’s configured as “receive only”. Additionally, I set the “ignoreDeletes” flag on the server for this one folder.

For years I also used Google Photos for a quick and convenient way to have the photos I took available on multiple devices and to cast them on TVs and the like. But I ran into Google’s 15GB limit, so I deleted all photos older than 2 years.

I cannot rule out that at some point I clicked the link in the web UI besides this folder to force write the global state on the server. That one would be on me then.

So, my question is, is there, in 2024, an official configuration to just tell Syncthing “just send every file you find in this folder, don’t expect to receive anything, don’t bother with files being deleted locally” on one end and “just receive files, never send anything, never delete files” on the other end? Bonus points for non-scary web UI notifications. If there are files on the receiving end which are not on the sending side, it should still be at 100 percent. 100 percent as in “I completed all my tasks, there’s nothing to do here”.

I have complete control over my server, so if there’s nothing I can do with Syncthing’s configuration alone I could still use some Linux magic to keep my files safe from Syncthing ;-). But I’d really like to know if there’s an official, not non-recommended way to achieve what I outlined above. I have the feeling it should be possible, there’s only some small detail missing to completely grasp the correct configuration.

No. Syncthing is made for continuous synchronization of folders. That means both sides should be equal. Your desired workflow needs them to be not equal.

You can still rely on Syncthing for the task at hand, same as I do. Just don’t expect to keep the files available on your server in the same directory that Syncthing uses for transferring them.

I have a regular send-receive folder set up for my phone’s camera pictures. On the computer (any one of several computers actually) I simply move out files from that synced folder into an archive folder (not synced with the phone, or not at all). That propagates back to the phone as a deletion and thus frees up space there. Pretty simple and effective, no special configuration required.

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Thanks André, I feared it would be like that in the end. Then I’ll just move the photos and videos into an archive folder.

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