Do you want to cut the cord, and connect your Android phone to your Ubuntu Linux PC by Wireless connection? Nah, Bluetooth is old school, I prefer Wi-Fi. Not just file transfers, how about knowing phone and battery status right from the Ubuntu desktop? You also get extra perks like be able to send SMS and even ability to ring and find your phone hiding under a pillow or in your jackets.
Let me introduce you to KDE Connect. It is a handy utility that can be installed on your Ubuntu, Linux Mint, elementary OS, and derivatives for free, and lets you manage your Android phone wirelessly via Wi-Fi connection.
KDE Connect Features
Here are the most important features of the utility.
- Shared clipboard: copy and paste between your devices
- Share files without wires on a fast Wi-Fi connection, not the snail pace Bluetooth anymore
- Send SMS to phone
- Find your phone by ringing it from your PC
- Start SFTP and open a file browser
- End-to-end TLS encryption means your information is safe
Installing KDE Connect
KDE Connect will work out of the box straight away in Budgie, Cinnamon, LXDE, Pantheon, Unity, and many other desktop environments. For GNOME desktop environments (Ubuntu 17.10) you need to install a Chrome extension for it to work, detail steps will be covered in Section 2 of this article.
1. On Ubuntu 16.04, 16.10, 17.04, Linux Mint 18.1, and elementary OS
Step 1) Launch “Terminal”.
Step 2) Enter the following command to add PPA.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/indicator-kdeconnect
Step 3) Update sources in your computer.
sudo apt update
Step 4) Install the utility:
sudo apt install kdeconnect indicator-kdeconnect
2. On Ubuntu 17.10 (GNOME environment)
For Ubuntu 17.10 and above, we don’t use KDE Connect, but instead we use a GNOME extension “GSConnect”, which is actually the KDE Connect integration for GNOME desktop environment.
Step 1) Install GNOME shell extensions. Refer to our detailed guide on how to install GNOME shell extensions in Ubuntu 17.10. Once you are done, get back here and follow next step.
Step 2) Download the latest stable zip file. It should like similar to gsconnect.andyholmes.github.io.zip.Download GS Connect Extension
Step 2) Launch Terminal and copy paste this command to create a directory to store the extension system files.
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions
Step 3) Navigate to the downloaded directory. I’m assuming default “Downloads” location in this example below.
Step 4) Copy and paste the following command to unzip the downloaded file and copy it to the system directory created in Step (2).
unzip -o gsconnect.andyholmes.github.io.zip -d ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/[email protected]
Step 5) Log off and login again for the settings to take effect.
Step 6) Launch Firefox or Chrome browser (whatever you used for settings up GNOME extensions in Step #1) and go to https://extensions.gnome.org/local/
Step 7) Enable GS Connect.
Step 8) You should now see new icon in the Status bar. Click on that and you will see “Mobile Devices”.
Integrating Android Phone and Ubuntu
I have tested this on Ubuntu 17.10 with GSConnect extension (Section #2 of this article). KDE Connect and GSConnect provide the same functionality between Android Phone and Ubuntu PC.
Step 1) On your Android Phone, install KDE Connect app from Google Play.
Step 2) Launch the KDE Connect app on your phone and tap GSConnect to pair. Note that your Ubuntu PC and Android Phone must be on the same Wi-Fi network.
Step 3) Tap on “Request Pairing” on your phone.
Step 4) On your Ubuntu PC, you should see a notification pop-up whether to accept pairing. Click “Accept”.
Step 5) Congrats! Your Android phone is now connected to your Ubuntu PC.
3. Sending and Receiving Files and URLs between Android Phone and Ubuntu PC
To begin sending and receiving files, you must activate some features on your PC. Go to “Mobile Settings”.
Step 6) Click on your phone name in the left pane of Mobile Settings. Enable “Share” to start sending and receiving files and URLs from Android Phone and Ubuntu PC. Additionally, you can enable “Locate Device”. Using this feature you can give a ring from your PC to find your phone hiding on a book shelf or tucked in your couch!
Step 7) Click “Preferences” > enable “Nautilus Integration” and “Web Browser Integration”. Also click on “Chrome Extension” or “Firefox Add-on” depending on which browser you used to setup GNOME extensions. Go ahead and add the extension to your browser to start sending URLs from your PC to your Phone.
Step 8) To start sending URL to your phone, launch a website in your PC browser and then click “Open in Browser”. The website will magically open in your phone!
Did you try connecting your phone? Do let us know your feedback in comments below.