In the past couple of years I’ve had to “free” space on my Google drive account because it’s filled up with video and photographs I’ve taken with my cell phone. The first time I filled the drive it took me a very long time to download everything.
I learned quickly that the best way to free space was to delete video. The old addage a picture is worth a thousand words is sort of reversed: a minute of video is approximately 1800 pictures worth of data (assuming 30 frames per second, 60 seconds).
One option would have been to could pay Google for more storage, but I’ve been burned before by online sources, so a local backup was important. A local backup also means less data being used. While I had unlimited data transfer, not everyone is lucky enough to have an unlimited data phone plan.
A search led me to a video promoting a proprietary solution, but one of the comments of that video someone asked why not syncthing? I’d heard mention of syncthing before, but hadn’t given it much thought.
My phone is a relatively old Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android 8. Searching the Google Play store I found that syncthing was still available for my phone, so my first step was to install syncthing. My laptop on the other hand has Xubuntu 22.04 installed. Xubuntu 22.04 includes some of the latest versions of a number of programs. Syncthing was in the repositories, but I just installed syncthing-gtk as I knew it would include syncthing as a dependency:
sudo apt install syncthing-gtk
Seeing syncthing-gtk I made the assumption that syncthing is command-line, and syncthing-gtk is the graphical front end (-gtk is short for Gimp ToolKit). Installing syncthing-gtk also installs the syncthing command line interface and a web user interface.
Setting up syncthing on the Android phone was a bit of a pita (pain-in-the-ankle). My phone was in a power saving mode which syncthing did not like. I turned off the power saving mode phone and set up syncthing to only synchronize when it sees our home router (an option that requires also turning on location). The syncthing Android app guides you through the process, but you have to select the option first.
The next trick was to get my Android phone to recognize my Xubuntu Laptop. On the right-hand side of syncthing-gtk is a cog/gear. I clicked the gear, then clicked show ID. A QR ID code was displayed. The I opened an the option on the Android phone syncthing app to scan a QR code ID. Once this was done my phone and laptop were connected, however I still needed to set up a folder to be synchronized.
On the syncthing Android app I switched from the Devices tab to the Folders tab then clicked the + in the right corner to add a folder. My Camera storage was the default folder that came up so I chose it. Then I just waited for the two syncthings to synchronize. I had approximately 5.5GB, and despite a little trouble with power saving on both phone and laptop, the synchronization happened fairly quickly.
My next steps will be to connect one of my 2.5″ external USB 3.0 drives to my laptop for an additional backup. After those photographs are backed up I’ll likely purge the photos and video on my phone, and leave only the photos I want to use immediately on my laptop. At some point I might also add syncthing to syncronize between my laptop and desktop workstation, but that’s going to need some more thought.
Syncthing seems pretty good. I’m not convinced I’d recommend it for a completely new computer user without support, but the solution works pretty good for me.