This guide explains what is KDE Connect and its features, how to install KDE connect in various Linux platforms and Android and finally how to sync Android phone with Linux desktop using KDE connect in order to access files and notifications from Android devices to Linux and vice versa.
What is KDE Connect?
KDE Connect is a community project from KDE to communicate across all your devices. KDE Connect allows you to
- transfer files between your smart phone and Linux desktops,
- receive your phone notifications on your Linux desktop,
- control music playing on your phone from your desktop,
- use your phone as a remote control for your desktop.
Using KDE Connect, we can do many cool things, such as:
- Clipboard sharing: Useful to transfer lengthy and complicated texts.
- File sharing: Access and share files to/from your Android devices.
- Notifications sharing: KDE Connect sends all your smartphone's notifications to your desktop computer.
- Send URLs to your Linux desktop from your Smartphone.
- Use your Phone as an input device (Like a mouse, touch pad, keyboard ) and/or a presenter.
- View your phone's battery level from your Linux desktop.
- Send and receive pings to/from devices.
- Find your lost phone by making it to play an alarm sound.
- Execute console commands remotely.
- Use your Phone as remote control to control the media players.
All of these can be done completely wirelessly, utilizing TLS encryption.
Install KDE Connect
You need to install KDE Connect in both your Linux desktop and your Android device.
Install KDE Connect in your Linux desktop
KDE Connect is available in the default repositories of most Linux distributions. If you're using KDE Plasma desktop-based Linux distributions, it is installed by default.
If you use a desktop environment other than KDE's Plasma, you can install it as described below depending upon the distribution you use.
Install KDE connect in Arch Linux, EndeavourOS and Manjaro Linux
$ sudo pacman -S kdeconnect
Install KDE connect in Fedora, AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux:
$ sudo dnf install kdeconnect
Install KDE connect in SUSE/openSUSE:
$ sudo zypper install kdeconnect
Install KDE connect in Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Pop_OS!:
$ sudo apt install kdeconnect
Install KDE Connect Indicator on Linux
If you desktop environments other than KDE Plasma, you might also need to install indicator-kdeconnect, which provides a system tray icon as a GUI for other desktops.
On Arch Linux, EndeavourOS and Manjaro Linux:
$ paru -S indicator-kdeconnect
$ yay -S indicator-kdeconnect
On Fedora 25 and later, run the following commands as root user:
$ dnf config-manager --add-repo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:Bajoja/Fedora_25/home:Bajoja.repo
$ dnf install indicator-kdeconnect
On openSUSE Tumbleweed run the following commands as root user:
# zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:Bajoja/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/home:Bajoja.repo # zypper refresh # zypper install indicator-kdeconnect
On openSUSE Leap 42.2 run the following commands as root user:
# zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:Bajoja/openSUSE_Leap_42.2/home:Bajoja.repo # zypper refresh # zypper install indicator-kdeconnect
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/indicator-kdeconnect $ sudo apt update $ sudo apt install kdeconnect indicator-kdeconnect
Install KDE Connect on Android
Allow KDE Connect ports via firewall or router
KDE Connect uses dynamic ports in the range 1714-1764 for UDP and TCP. So if you are behind a firewall or router, you need to open this port range for both TCP and UDP.
Open KDE connect via UFW:
$ sudo ufw allow 1714:1764/udp $ sudo ufw allow 1714:1764/tcp $ sudo ufw reload
Open KDE connect ports via firewalld:
$ sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-port=1714-1764/tcp $ sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-port=1714-1764/udp $ sudo systemctl restart firewalld.service
Open KDE connect ports via iptables:
$ sudo iptables -I INPUT -i -p udp --dport 1714:1764 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT $ sudo iptables -I INPUT -i -p tcp --dport 1714:1764 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
$ sudo iptables -A OUTPUT -o -p udp --sport 1714:1764 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT $ sudo iptables -A OUTPUT -o -p tcp --sport 1714:1764 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT:
Configure KDE Connect
After installing KDE Connect app, open it up from your smartphone. The below image shows how KDE Connect interface looks like in my Android device.
Now, you need to pair the Android device with your Linux desktop. Please note that your Android device should be connected with your Linux desktop either via a USB cable or WiFi. Also, both devices should be under same network. Once you paired your device, you can remove the cable. KDE Connect will work wirelessly.
If the Linux system shows up in the KDE connect dashboard, click on it to pair it up with the desktop.
If it's not, tap on the three vertical dots on the top right corner and choose Add devices by IP option.
Enter your Linux desktop's IP address or Hostname in the next screen and tap Add HOST/IP button.
Then, go back to the main dashboard and you will there see your newly added device under Available devices. Tap on it to pair it with Linux desktop.
Then, tap "REQUEST PAIRING" option.
You will see a notification in your Linux desktop. Click Accept to pair it with your Android device.
Congratulations! Your Android device has been paired with your Linux desktop. You will confirm it from the KDE Connect indicator icon on your Task bar.
As you see in the above screenshot, I have paired my HP Tablet PC with my KDE Plasma desktop.
You will also see your Linux desktop in the dashboard of KDE Connect app in your Android device.
As you see in the above image, there is warning message that says "Plugins failed to load". To fix it, tap on the "Notification sync" and then tap "Open Settings".
In the next window, check the box "KDE Connect" and tap on "Ok" to grant permission to access the notifications.
That's it. We have paired our Android device with Linux desktop and enabled the notifications. Similarly, you can add as many as devices you want to manage them all using KDE connect. From now on, you will see all your smartphone's notifications in your Linux desktop.
To pair a new device, open KDE Connect app from your Android device, and tap on the three horizontal bars in the dashboard and choose "Pair new device" option.
Access files and notifications from Android devices using KDE Connect in Linux
Let me show you some practical use cases.
Send files from Android device to Linux
From the KDE Connect dashboard in your Android Device, tap on "Send files" and choose the files you wanted to send to your Linux desktop.
All files will be send to the default download location (i.e
/home/user/Downloads directory) of your Linux desktop.
Send files from Linux desktop to Android device
Open KDE connect application on both your Linux desktop and Android device.
Click on the Android device in KDE connect dashboard in your Linux system.
Click "Share files" option on the right pane.
Select the file(s) you want to share with your Android phone. The selected files will be sent to the Android device.
We can use your Android device as an input device like a mouse or touch pad or keyboard.
To do so, tap on "Remote input" option. Move a finger on your Android device's screen to move the mouse cursor. Tap for a click, and use long press to drag and drop.
To enable right or middle buttons, use two/three fingers. Or, click on the three vertical dots on the top right and choose a option to send right click or middle click.
Another cool feature is we can use our Android device as a keyboard. To do so, tap on the Keyboard icon on the top and start typing from your Android device's keypad.
Control media players from Android
We can use our smartphone as a remote control to the videos and audios played in the Linux desktop. Launch SMPlayer or VLC and use the Android device to play, pause, change to previous or next tracks.
You can also enable or disable all these features either from your KDE connect app under Plugin settings:
Or from the "KDE Connect Settings" in your KDE desktop.
Integrate KDE connect with browsers
You can integrate KDE connect to your web browsers using the browser plugin. This allows you to share links directly from the context menu and lets you control media on websites.
- For Google Chrome, Chromium, and Vivaldi: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/plasma-integration/cimiefiiaegbelhefglklhhakcgmhkai
- For Mozilla Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/plasma-integration/
I find KDE Connect very useful. You can share files between your Linux PC and Android phone instantly. Also, you don't need to constantly check the smart phone for notifications. KDE Connect will do that automatically whenever a message or any notification is received in your smartphone.