How To Use Nautilus To Connect To The Raspberry PI

Browse your Pi's files from your Linux file manager.

Raspberry PI Nautilus
Raspberry PI Nautilus.

The Raspberry PI and other single board computers have taken the world by storm.

Initially designed to be a cheap way for children to get into software development, the actual take up of the Raspberry PI has been astounding, leading it its use in all sorts of weird and wonderful devices.

If you use the Raspberry Pi with a monitor, you can turn on the Pi and access it straight away, but many people use the Raspberry PI in headless mode which means that there is no screen.

The easiest way to connect to a Raspberry Pi is to use SSH which can be switched on by default by adding an empty file called "ssh" to the boot directory right after you flash the operating system on the Pi.

This guide covers a graphical alternative that lets you access your files on the Pi using the Nautilus file manager and the same SSH connection you'd access form the command line.

What You Will Need

The Nautilus file manager is very common in the Linux world. It's the default file manager for the GNOME desktop, the default desktop choice on Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and many more.

If you don't have Nautilus installed then you can install it using one of the following terminal commands:

For Debian based distributions (such as Debian, Ubuntu, Mint):

sudo apt install nautilus

For Fedora and CentOS:

Use the dnf command:

sudo dnf install nautilus

For openSUSE:

Use the zypper command:

sudo zypper -i nautilus

For Arch based distributions (such as Arch, Antergos, Manjaro)

sudo pacman -S nautilus

Run Nautilus

If you are using the GNOME desktop environment you can run Nautilus by pressing the super key (windows key) and typing "nautilus" into the search bar.

An icon will appeared called Files. Select it.

If you are using Unity you can do a similar thing. Again, press the super key, and type "nautilus" into the search bar. Select the files icon when it appears.

If you are using other desktop environments such as Cinnamon or XFCE you can either try using the search option within the menu or look through the individual menu options.

If all else fails you can open a terminal and type the following:

nautilus &

The ampersand (&) allows you to run commands in background mode thereby returning the cursor back to the terminal window.

Find The Address For Your Raspberry PI

The easiest way to connect to the PI is to use the host name that you gave the Raspberry PI when you first set it up.

If you left the default host name in place then the hostname will be raspberrypi.

Linux nmap

You can also use the nmap command to try and find devices on the current network as follows:

nmap -sn 192.168.1.0/24

Connect To The Raspberry PI Using Nautilus

To connect to the Raspberry PI using nautilus, select Other Locations at the bottom of the left menu.

Now, use the Connect to Server field at the bottom of the window to enter the following:

sftp://pi@raspberrypi

If your Raspberry PI isn't called raspberrypi then you can use the ip address found by the nmap command as follows:

sftp://pi@192.168.43.32

The pi before the @ symbol is the username. If you didn't leave pi as the default user then you will need to specify a user which has permissions to access the PI using ssh.

Linux Nautilus other locations

When you press the return key you will be asked for a password.

Enter a password, and you will see Raspberry PI (or the name of your Pi or IP address) appear as a mounted drive.

Enter your password Rasberry Pi Nautilus

You can now navigate around all of the folders on your Raspberry PI and you can copy and paste between other folders on your computer or network.

Linux Nautilus Raspberry Pi mounted

Bookmark The Raspberry PI

To make it easier to connect to the Raspberry PI in future it is a good idea to bookmark the current connection.

To do this, select the pi on... tab at the top of your Nautilus window.

Bookmark Raspberry Pi Nautilus

When the drop-down opens up, choose Add to Bookmarks.

A new drive called pi will appear (or indeed the username you used to connect to the PI) on the left side menu in Nautilus. You can connect automatically in the future by selecting it.