Integrating your Android phone into Gnome Shell pt. 1

Android, undoubtedly is the worlds most popular operating system for mobile devices, developed by Google is based upon the linux kernel. So would be safe to assume that interoperability with the Linux desktop would be straight forward….. Erm no.

Although it is possible, it’s not always straight forward. I have a habit of either leaving my phone in another room on charge or tucked away in my pocket, I find i get really annoyed whilst working on my laptop or desktop and constantly stopping to interact with my phone. The solution smash it with a hammer¬†interact with it through the desktop.

In this guide we will look at the following:


GSConnect is a Gnome Shell extension that provides complete KDE Connect protocol implementation for Gnome Shell without having to install any KDE dependencies Features it provides include:

  • Shared clipboard: copy and paste between your devices.
  • Share files and URLs to your computer from any app, without wires.
  • Virtual touchpad: Use your phone screen as your computer’s touchpad
  • Notifications sync: Read your Android notifications from the desktop.
  • Multimedia remote control: Use your phone as a remote for Linux media players
  • End-to-end TLS encryption: your information is safe.

In order for it to work both the phone and linux machine must be connected to the same wifi network.

So let’s install, firstly the dependencies, although not required but to enable all functions, open a terminal and enter:

sudo apt-get install sshfs gir1.2-goa-1.0 gir1.2-gdata-0.0 python-nautilus gir1.2-nautilus-3.0 gir1.2-gsound-1.0

Next, you will need to enable the gnome shell extension here

This should be everything that is needed linux side, next we need to install the KDE client on our android device. available from the Play store here (also available from F-Droid)

Connecting the devices

Open the KDE connect app and if both devices are on the same network then you desktop should show up as an available device. Click on this and then select “Request Pairing”

A notification should then pop up on the linux desktop giving you the option to accept the pairing request. Back on the Android device you now need to give KDE connect the permissions to access different features such as notifications, access to the filesystem and the ability to manage calls/SMS

Integrate your Browser(s)

GSconnect also provides Chrome and Firefox add-ons to enable 2 way sharing, for example, sharing/casting a website or youtube video between the desktop and Android device or the other way around.

You can add the Chrome extension from here

You can enable the Firefox add-on here

Do you connect your phone to desktop any other way? Let us know in the comments.

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