Wireless File Transfer between Android and Ubuntu
If you’re someone who finds file transfers with the USB cable inconvenient or just old school, then you’re at the right place. We’re gonna show you how you can quickly setup file transfers wirelessly between any android device and Ubuntu (Tested with Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 20.04) Should work for future versions too.
There are multiple ways to perform wireless transfer and we’re going to look at the easiest ones.
1. KDE Connect
KDE Connect is a free, Open Source software that works very well with Ubuntu. Additionally, it also supports Windows and MAC.
A. Install KDE Connect
To get started, you need to install the KDE Connect App on your Android device as well as the KDE Connect from Ubuntu Software or you could do it directly from your terminal too by the running the following:
sudo apt update && sudo apt install kdeconnect indicator-kdeconnect
Note: Before launching any of these applications, ensure that your computer and your phone are on the same wireless network (preferably on a 5Ghz bandwidth connection if you want faster transfer speeds, but even a usual 2.4 Ghz connection should do great).
B. Pair your Device
You can initiate device pairing either from your computer or from your phone.
To initiate it from your computer,
- Launch “KDE Connect settings” from the Dash
- When the window opens, you should see your phone listed. (Mine shows up as LM-G710). Select your phone from the left tab and then click on “Request pair” on the top-right side as seen below –
- This should send a notification to your phone to request you to accept the pairing (which you should accept).
That should be it. A similar process can be done via your phone where you could request pairing from your phone and then accept the request on your computer. It works both ways.
C. Update Settings
Once pairing is done, you should now configure settings. There are many things you can do besides transferring files, like sending/receiving sms’s, controlling your multimedia, seeing your phone’s battery level and so on which can enabled and configured to suit your needs.
For example, to set the default download directory on the computer, checkout the line for “Share and Receive“, you will see a blank button on the right. If you click on it, a pop-up will be displayed allowing you to set the default download directory.
The default directory is where the files sent/transferred from your phone will be stored. Similarly you can configure other settings which you plan to use.
D. Setup File Transfer
To enable File Transfer, you need to expose the folder which should be visible on your computer. To do so, launch the KDE connect App on your phone. If you click the 3 dots at the top-right corner, you should see an option to open “plugin settings“. Open the plugin settings and ensure that Filesystem expose is enabled/checked.
After that, click on “Filesystem Expose” to see its settings. Here, you should be able to “Add Storage Location“. Go ahead and select a folder on your phone that should be shared with your computer. In my case, I have exposed my entire SD card (as well a folder named “Series“). Once you expose a folder, you should see it in the list of Configured storage locations as shown below.
Now to see the exposed folders on your computer, open the KDE indicator from the top bar and then click on “Browse Device“.
This should open up the File Browser on Ubuntu with the exposed location. You can now copy new files from your computer to your phone or vice-versa simply by copy-pasting/drag-dropping.
- The KDE Connect App on android adds a persistent notification which (at least for me) is quite annoying. You can disable it from within the App’s Settings
- You can add the KDE Connect Indicator to your startup items so that your phone gets automatically connected each time it is in the same network as your computer.
To add KDE Connect Indicator to your startup items, search for “Startup Applications” in your DASH and launch it.
Then click on “Add” button on the right and point it to the KDE Connect Indicator executable as shown below:
Another way to perform wireless file transfer between android and Ubuntu is to use the application AirDroid. Airdroid needs only one of the following prerequisites to be able to perform file transfers.
- A common network. (Your phone and your computer needs to be on the same network)
- A hotspot (Your phone creates a hotspot and your computer joins it to ensure both are on the same network)
- Over the internet (This requires an Airdroid account)
A. Install Airdroid
Download and install the Android Application Airdroid from google Play store. Launch the App. On first launch, it may ask you to sign in or sign up, you can skip this by clicking on “skip” found on the top-right corner. Then grant the application permissions to access your media so you can perform file based operations.
B. File Transfer with Airdroid
You will be presented with a screen as shown below which is under the “My Devices” tab. If your phone and your computer are on the same network, then you should see the option “Android Web“. Click on it. Doing so will lead you to another screen which shows you an IP address to point to.
Open up your browser on your computer and type out the IP address seen in the previous screen (In my case it was http://192.168.1.45:8888) and hit enter. This will send a notification to your phone asking you for permission. Naturally, accept the same.
Upon accepting, you will see a screen similar to the one shown below granting you access to your phone. Here, you can do many other interesting things besides transferring files. Feel free to explore 😉
Click on the “Files” icon. A file manager as seen above is launched that allows you to upload files/folders or even download them. That’s it!
NOTE: Since you’re running Airdroid for the first time, you may not see the contents of your SD Card right away. This is because you haven’t allowed the application to access media on your SD card as yet. To grant access, click on the “Tools” Tab on the bottom and then on “Files”. A new screen will be displayed that has an icon “SD Card” as shown below. If you click on it, your phone will prompt you for granting access, (which you should) thereby allowing you to manage SD card files/folders from the web interface.
Hope that helps!