Retention of files

Nextcloud’s Files Retention app allows to automatically delete files that are tagged with a collaborative tag and have a certain age.


After installing the Retention app as described in Apps management navigate to the configuration and locate the Workflow settings.

Sample rule to delete files after 14 days after creation.

The rule from the example will delete all files tagged with Temporary file 14 days after the creation.

You can also use the “Notify owner a day before a file is automatically deleted” option to make sure the file owner will get a notification before a file will be deleted.

Common misconfigurations

Public collaborative tag

Similar to Files access control retention should use restricted or invisible tags. Otherwise any user can remove the tag and the file is not removed after the given period. Use Automated tagging of files to assign such tags to newly uploaded files.

File age

Currently retention is based on the creation date of the file. The sync client sends the original creation date to the server, while uploading through the web interface will create a new file with a new creation date. We hope to be able to add a upload date to the filesystem soon, which would make more sense. Until then this potentially unexpected behavior has to be taken into account.