Dropbox on Android has the "Camera Uploads" feature, which scans the device for photos and copies them into Dropbox. This is quite useful for preventing the loss of data in case of loss of, theft of or damage to the device, but has several major usability issues:

  1. There is no simple way of deleting both the local and the remove copy of an image, making photo management on the mobile device a moot exercise.
  2. It isn't possible to remove local files after uploading, in order to avoid duplicate issues.
  3. The service doesn't distinguish between Photos and other images such as Screenshots.
  4. Viewing photos in the Dropbox app is handicapped by the inability of exluding non-photo images (e.g. work-related graphics) from the "photos" view, regardless of the folder they're in.

Point (2.) was actually possible with Carousel, the app which was purchased by Dropbox, which originally implemented the "automatic upload" idea, though even then it didn't allow to remove only files known to have been uploaded -- it only, somewhat uselessly, warned that it will delete 14 photos that haven't been, and wouldn't report which ones.

Is there some software that would allow instead placing photos directly in dropbox, keeping at most a cache of photos for later upload and local viewing?

How I do it on iOS

On iOS my solution is to use the iCloud for the "automatic backup" aspect and then "move" (copy and delete) images from the apple ecosystem into Dropbox using "Documents by Readdle". Unlike on Android, this also removes possible duplicates from iCloud and eliminates the risk of losing images by overly early deletion. Additionally, iOS' screenshot interface makes it easier to avoid getting them mixed up with the photos. Alike Android, it lacks an easy method for queueing images for "moving to the cloud" while offline.


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