Solved: OneDrive for Android app not syncing

All mass-used cloud-backup services on Android look alike. There’s Google Drive, then there’s Dropbox, and finally OneDrive. Lots of others, too. OneDrive is somewhere in the middle with fairly affordable premium storage and better integration with Windows PCs. The issues surrounding OneDrive for Android are scarce, but they exist. There are reports concerning the OneDrive as supposedly the OneDrive Android app is not syncing the local files.

We made sure to dissect this and provide you with steps to resolve the syncing problem. You can find them below.

Table of contents:

  1. Clear app’s cache and data from OneDrive
  2. Rename the Photos folder
  3. Allow OneDrive to work in a background
  4. Reinstall the OneDrive app from the Play Store

Why is OneDrive not syncing?

Solution 1 – Clear app’s cache and data from OneDrive

Before we cover this first step, let’s focus on two important things. First, we need you to confirm that your Wi-Fi network works as intended. If you want to upload files over Mobile Data, you’ll need to enable this in OneDrive settings.

The second important thing is storage. In comparison to Google Photos, OneDrive keeps the original lossless photos upon upload. And photos tend to take a lot of space. And fast, too.

After dealing with those two, let’s start with the troubleshooting steps. The first and the most common way to resolve a minor bug or a temporary temper tantrum of an Android app is to clear its cache and data. This might, consequently, require a new sign-in.

Follow these steps to clear cache and data from the OneDrive app:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications.
  3. Choose All apps.
  4. Open OneDrive.
  5. Select Storage.
  6. Tap Clear Data and confirm.

Some knowledgeable users in the comments suggested clearing data from associated apps. For example, if your Excell sheets won’t sync, clear the local data from the Excell app, as well.

Solution 2 – Rename the Photos folder

If you trust OneDrive over Google Photos for backing up camera roll photos, there’s a common bug which halts the upload process. Since the individual folder (usually called Camera Roll) is assigned to photo uploads, it indexes files inside every time a new photo is ready to hit the cloud. And if you have a lot of photos in this folder, well, it can take a while.

That’s why we suggest following these steps to avoid the sync problem with photos on OneDrive:

    1. Open OneDrive.
    2. Select the Camera Roll folder and rename it.
    3. This will force OneDrive to create another Camera Roll folder.

Solution 3 – Allow OneDrive to work in a background

In the current meta of Android, most of the old permissions are automatically declined and you need to allow an app to access everything during usage. At least, most of the time and for the non-Google apps. And some handsets, especially Huawei, tend to kill the background processes of intrusive apps. Or app the system deems intrusive.

With that in mind, we advise you to check all permissions for OneDrive and, in addition, keep it out of Phone Manager claws. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications.
  3. Choose All apps.
  4. Open OneDrive.
  5. Open Permissions and allow all required permissions to OneDrive.
  6. Get back to app settings and open Battery.
  7. Make sure that the Allow background activity option is enabled.

Solution 4 – Reinstall the OneDrive app from the Play Store

Finally, the last place on this troubleshooting shortlist is reserved for reinstallation. Now, at the first glance, this looks like a simple task. But most users forget about the Google Drive backup which stores all apps data backups. Or, in this case, the device will remember the account and restore it upon the installation.

That’s why we need to delete the account for OneDrive, uninstall the app, install it again, sign in, and, hopefully (fingers crossed), the sync will start working.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Uninstall OneDrive.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Choose Accounts.
  4. Remove the OneDrive account (sign out).
  5. Re-install OneDrive and sign in again.

If you have a Samsung device and OneDrive is built-in, navigate to Settings > Apps > OneDrive. Tap on the 3-dots menu and Uninstall updates. Update the app again and check for improvements.

That’s it. If you’re still unable to sync files to OneDrive on Android, make sure to send feedback to Microsoft. There might be a large-scale problem at hand and you should know about it.

Either way, feel free to share your solutions or questions in the comments section below. Maybe we missed something of importance. Post comments in the comments section below. Thank you for reading and reach us on Facebook and Twitter.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2018. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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Nick Ford
Nick Ford
August 31, 2019 6:09 pm

Hi I have tried everything I can to get just one folder with one document in it to sync, and it won’t. It works fine on my desktop, but when I try to open it on my Google phone it has not synced. I have Office365 home. When I open Onedrive in the desktop it shows that that particular folder has a sync pending. I get the latest version on the desktop but always get an old version on my phone. I have uninstalled and reinstalled Onedrive and it still does not work. I suspect the problem may be that… Read more »

Rip Stauffer
Rip Stauffer
December 18, 2019 11:18 pm

It all sounds good, and is consistent with advice I have from other sites, but I have tried all three fixes, and I still have a file in one of my OneDrive folders on my PC that was updated Dec 10, and its counterpart in my Phone hasn’t been updated since April 5. I’m not encouraged that at the OneDrive Support site for MS, it states, “The OneDrive app does not sync files automatically.” So, it seems they have once again decided that auto-sync is not something we need. However, it would be nice if we had a way to… Read more »

john carne
john carne
March 20, 2021 9:14 pm

I have tried steps 1 to 4.
Cannot do step 5
1 – applied update
2 – tried – no sync
3 – re-boot
4 – undid updates
5 – tried to delete – failed could only update or open
6 – tried multiple times
7 – app gives no hint to problem.

June 13, 2020 5:55 pm

None of the solutions worked for me. Bizarre. My Excel files are all there, just not the latest versions that have been updated and saved the past few days.

September 4, 2020 2:01 am
Reply to  Chris

I had the same issue. However, in addition to Force Stop, then delete cache and delete data in OneDrive, I did the same in the Excel app. This solved it for me.

June 13, 2020 6:04 pm

Solution 5 – clear cache and data from the app that is opening the OneDrive file.   This worked for me. I was accessing an Excel file. Though on the main file list, it says “updated 2 days ago”, when I looked at file ‘details’, it shows it was last saved yesterday, synced correctly with the time on my actual OneDrive account accessed via my desktop. So I wondered if Excel was pulling up a cached file. I cleared Excel cache and data and voila, now it pulled in the current version of the file from OneDrive.   Ridiculous that… Read more »

Amarjargal G.
Amarjargal G.
August 17, 2020 3:05 am
Reply to  Chris

This worked for me. I disconnected microsoft account from samsung account and all is ok now.

March 15, 2020 10:20 pm

Many thanks for this post. Solution 1 fixed it for me.

André Aranha
André Aranha
February 19, 2019 2:14 pm

I have tried the first solutions, without success. Arriving to the last one, since my OneDrive app comes built-in in my Samsung Galaxy J5, I cannot reinstall it. Which means I cannot troubleshoot OneDrive. Which means I pay for a service I cannot use. Congratulations

June 1, 2019 8:11 am
Reply to  André Aranha

Root your phone and uninstall onedrive