How to Transfer Android Files to a Linux Desktop

Keeping your android device synced with linux isn’t hard

Android runs on the Linux kernel, so it would make perfect sense that the two should be able to pair with one another out of the box. That is, unfortunately, not the case. The good news is it’s actually quite easy to pair these two systems, with the help of two third-party tools.

Once you have these tools installed, you’ll be able to transfer files from your Android device, to your Linux desktop, like a pro.

What You’ll Need

You’ll obviously need an Android device and a Linux desktop to make this happen. The Linux machine will need to be running the GNOME Desktop Environment. On your Android device, you’ll need the KDE Connect app (found in the Google Play Store).

Installing the GNOME Shell Extension

To make the connection between Android and Linux, a GNOME Extension must be first installed. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Install a necessary dependency with the command:

    sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell
  2. Point your web browser to the GSConnect GNOME Shell Extension page.

    If prompted, select Click here to install browser extension.

    GNOME browser extension.
  3. When prompted, press Add.

    GNOME Shell Integration extension.
  4. Slide the On/Off slider so it’s in the On position.

    GSConnect software on GNOME
  5. When prompted, press Install.

    Install prompt for the GSConnect extension installation.
  6. The GSConnect extension is ready to use.

Set Up Your GNOME Desktop to Connect

Before you connect your phone to transfer files, you'll need to do a bit of configuration on your Linux desktop.

  1. Connect your Android device to your computer with the proper USB cable.

  2. Select the GNOME System Tray in the upper right corner of the desktop.

    Mobile settings option in the GNOME System Tray.
  3. You should now see a new entry in the drop-down, labeled Mobile Devices.

  4. Select it to expand that entry. Then, select Mobile Settings.

  5. Your Android device should appear in the GSConnect window.

Install KDE Connect

On your Android device, install KDE Connect with the following steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device.

  2. Search for KDE Connect.

  3. Locate and tap the entry by the KDE Community.

  4. Tap Install.

  5. Allow the installation to complete.

Connecting Android and Linux

  1. Once both components are installed, go back to your Android device, open KDE Connect and tap GSConnect (under AVAILABLE DEVICES).

  2. In the next window, tap REQUEST PAIRING. This will send a pair request to the GNOME desktop. A popup will appear on the desktop. Press Accept to OK the pairing.

    KDE Connect request pairing prompt.
  3. With the connection made, tap Filesystem expose in KDE Connect and then tap OK and Allow. Then tap Share and Receive and (when prompted) tap OK and Allow.

Sending Files

  1. You should now see an entry (in the KDE Connect) app, labeled Send Files. Tap that entry to open the default Android file manager.

    KDE Connect send file to Linux prompt.
  2. From within the file manager, tap any one of the files and it will automatically be sent to your GNOME desktop. All files sent from Android to Linux will be found in your Downloads folder.

Sending From Linux to Android

You can also send files from Linux to Android, by opening the GNOME file manager, right-clicking the file to be transferred, and choose Send To Mobile Device > PHONE NAME (where PHONE NAME is the name of your Android device). All files sent from Linux to Android will be found in the Android Downloads folder.

Linux drop-down menu.
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