Seeking THE recommended way to use syncthing for photos sync

I’d like to use Synchthing for syncing photos from my Android to my PC. I seek to reach an experience similar to that of Google Photos - where you can delete photos on your phone and they won’t be deleted on the “server”. While I hope to be able to delete photos in my PC as well, without introducing sync conflicts or any other errors on either devices.

I think the best description of my Android device’s policy is “fire and forget”.

In the past, I used the “Advanced option” ignoreDelete on my PC to do this. But now, there’s the not-considered-as-advanced option to use a folder type of “Receive only”.

I tried setting my Android folder of type “Send only” and on my PC to “Receive only”. After using it for a while I noticed one day I have a sync error (it was a while ago so I’m not sure if it was “out of sync” or a “revert local changes” error) - probably because I did some changes on my PC which weren’t synced to the Android device. I haven’t noticed this error only after a while so I don’t know what was the original cause of it.

Hence I wonder - is there a recommended setup someone has good experience with? If I’ll manage to finally fully figure this issue out, I’d be happy to contribute a new FAQ to as I think it’s a common thing some people expect to be able to do with Syncthing.


Receive only does not ignore deletes. Receive only simply means that any type of local change (addition, modification, removal) is not send to any other peer. But, if a remote device announces “I have deleted that file”, the receive only device will apply this deletion.

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You might simply use versioning. This way when a file gets deleted, you’d still have the “previous” version in your .stversions folder.


That’s an interesting approach. It opens many possibilities as to how to manage the photos in this directory and outside it. Cool :slight_smile:.

I use a slightly different approach which I find works very well.
For me this is THE recommended way.

I sync the DCIM folder etc. from the phone read/write.
The synced folder on the PC is part of the Shotwell library folder (~/Pictures).
I can then delete photos both on the phone and PC, which I find convenient.
It avoids filling up my nightly backup with “junk photos” if I tidy up the same day.

Then I have a script which picks everything older than 90 days from the synced folders, and moves them to another folder under Pictures on a yyyy/mm pattern, with the effect of deleting them from the phone, but Shotwell detects the move “transparently”. This way I have almost instant backup from my phone and access from the PC, but keep the memory use on the phone under control.

(There is an article online somewhere describing this approach which I can’t find right now.)

I’ve been working towards making my little Python script fit for publication, as it handles exif dates and name conflicts better than I’ve seen elsewhere and adds some other niceties, but I’m happy to send it to anyone here “as is”, if you are interested.


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