I’ve been using Nextcloud (and before that, ownCloud), an open source alternative to file syncing and storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive, for many years. It’s been both reliable and useful, and it respects my privacy.
While Nextcloud is great at both syncing and storage, it’s much more than a place to dump your files. Thanks to applications that you can fold into Nextcloud, it becomes more of an information hub than a storage space.
While I usually interact with Nextcloud using the desktop client or in a browser, I’m not always at my computer (or any computer that I trust). So it’s important that I can work with Nextcloud using my LineageOS-powered smartphone or tablet.
To do that, I use several open source apps that work with Nextcloud. Let’s take a look at four of them.
As you’ve probably guessed, this article looks at the Android version of those apps. I grabbed mine from F-Droid, although you get them from other Android app markets. You might be able to get some or all of them from Apple’s App Store if you’re an iOS person.
Working with files and folders
The obvious app to start with is the Nextcloud sync client. This little app links your phone or tablet to your Nextcloud account.
Using the app, you can:
- Create folders
- Upload one or more files
- Sync files between your device and server
- Rename or remove files
- Make files available offline
You can also tap a file to view or edit it. If your device doesn’t have an app that can open the file, then you’re out of luck. You can still download it to your phone or tablet though.
Reading news feeds
Remember all the whining that went on when Google pulled the plug on Google Reader in 2013? This despite Google giving users several months to find an alternative. And, yes, there are alternatives. One of them, believe it or not, is Nextcloud.
Nextcloud has a built-in RSS reader. All you need to do to get started is upload an OPML file containing your feeds or manually add a site’s RSS feed to Nextcloud.
Going mobile is easy, too, with the Nextcloud News Reader app.
Unless you configure the app to sync when you start it up, you’ll need to swipe down from the top of the app to load updates to your feeds. Depending on how many feeds you have, and how many unread items are in those feeds, syncing takes anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute.
From there, tap an item to read it in the News app.
You can also add feeds or open what you’re reading in your device’s default web browser.
Reading and writing notes
I don’t use Nextcloud’s Notes app all that often (I’m more of a Standard Notes person). That said, you might find the Notes app comes in handy.
How? By giving you a lightweight way to take plain text notes on your mobile device. The Notes app syncs any notes you have in your Nextcloud account and displays them in chronological order—newest or last-edited notes first.
Tap a note to read or edit it. You can also create a note by tapping the + button, then typing what you need to type.
There’s no formatting, although you can add markup (like Markdown) to the note. Once you’re done editing, the app syncs your note with Nextcloud.
Accessing your bookmarks
Nextcloud has a decent bookmarking tool, and its Bookmarks app makes it easy to work with the tool on your phone or tablet.
Like the Notes app, Bookmarks displays your bookmarks in chronological order, with the newest appearing first in the list.
If you tagged your bookmarks in Nextcloud, you can swipe left in the app to see a list of those tags rather than a long list of bookmarks. Tap a tag to view the bookmarks under it.
From there, just tap a bookmark. It opens in your device’s default browser.
You can also add a bookmark within the app. To do that, tap the + menu and add the bookmark.
You can include:
- The URL
- A title for the bookmark
- A description
- One or more tags
Is that all?
Definitely not. There are apps for Nextcloud Deck (a personal kanban tool) and Nextcloud Talk (a voice and video chat app). There are also a number of third-party apps that work with Nextcloud. Just do a search for Nextcloud or ownCloud in your favorite app store to track them down.