The 7 Greatest Wi-fi File Switch Apps on Linux

Do you have some files that need to be moved between your Linux devices or between a Linux device and another platform, but you don't have or don't want a wired connection? As a Linux user, you have many options.

Wireless file transfer for Linux

We are going to highlight several apps in different file transfer protocols that you can use to connect to different platforms and transfer your files with ease.

1. Bluetooth

Connection to the phone via bluetooth under Linux

Okay, it's not actually an app, but it's a very viable option. As long as you have a working Bluetooth adapter, most Linux distributions come with a Bluetooth configuration and interface tool (e.g. Linux Mint uses Blueberry while Ubuntu uses Blueman). For more control, you can install the BlueZ packages, which contain additional tools to configure your Bluetooth connection.

Of course, not all devices have a Bluetooth adapter, especially with older devices. In addition, savvy users know that Bluetooth is not always secure. However, don't fret if this is your situation as there are many other wireless file transfer apps available for Linux users.

Bluetooth security risk

Connect to the phone on Linux using KDE Connect

KDE Connect is an open source project that enables a variety of remote connection functions between Linux and Android devices, including file transfer.

KDE Connect does its job over your local internet connection. The KDE Connect application must be installed on all devices, including the Android device.

Each remote function in KDE Connect has its own plug-in that must be activated on both devices in order to be used. So if you want to allow file transfer, but definitely don't want to allow remote terminal commands or mouse control, you can turn these plug-ins off.

Note: In addition to Linux, KDE Connect is also available for Windows and MacOS. However, you need to compile it yourself using the appropriate manual.

GSConnect for the Gnome Desktop

Gnome desktop users will find that GSConnect is a convenient alternative to KDE Connect because it performs the same tasks and uses the same framework, but without the KDE and Qt dependencies that KDE Connect requires.

GSConnect, however, still depends on whether you have the KDE Connect app on your Android device.

In addition to the regular functions, GSConnect also enables integration into your web browser. Extensions are available for Firefox and Chrome. There's also a handy extension for Nautilus File Explorer to make moving files easier.

File transfer with LAN share

If you use both Linux and Windows this might be the ideal app for you. As the name suggests, LAN Share works over your local Internet connection, and both devices must have LAN Share installed and running in order to use it.

This may be one of the quickest options on this list because entire folders can be moved at once and no confirmation or password is required on the receiving end to complete a transfer. Of course, some might view the lack of confirmation as a security hole. If you trust the LAN you are using to be sure, this shouldn't be a problem.

However, users should be aware that the latest version of LAN Share is more than three years old at the time of publication, and the GitHub project has had no development activity in almost two years. That said, there is a chance that security vulnerabilities actually exist, and there isn't much hope for additional features right now.

Magic carpet file transfer

Most of the apps we've tested so far rely on an active internet connection. However, Flying Carpet moves files between devices without Bluetooth or WiFi. The small, free, and open source app only requires both devices to have working Wi-Fi cards and to be physically close to each other.

It's cross-platform, so you can install Flying Carpet not only on Linux, but Windows and MacOS as well.

Flying Carpet temporarily disconnects you from any wireless network you are currently on and uses the wireless transmitter on the Wi-Fi card to connect directly to other devices sending the Flying Carpet signal.

If you are not aware of this, the transmission process itself is also encrypted. When you initiate a transfer, the receiving device generates a random password that must be entered into the sending device in order to complete and decrypt the transfer.

Note that you may have to open port 3290 in the firewall settings of your receiving device to ensure that the transfer is successful.

Transferring files with portal via pushbullet

Portal by Pushbullet allows you to transfer files between your Linux device and your Android or iOS device using your local internet connection. What's special about it is that you don't have to install an app on your Linux device. All you have to do is open the portal website and install the portal app on your phone or tablet.

The portal can be a very quick go for you as it just uses a QR code to connect your device and phone and you can start moving files right away.

It's worth noting that Pushbullet puts some limits on your transfer with the free version, including a 25MB limit for each file. You need to upgrade if you want to move larger files with Portal.

If you're a more practical Linux user and you like a good command line tool, you can use rsync to transfer your files. The most common task that rsync is used for is making remote backups. However, you can also use them to make simple transfers.

Rsync is one of the safer options on the list because it can use the SSH protocol to ensure your transmission is as secure as possible, no matter what network you're on. It's cross-platform too, so you can use coordinated transfers to and from your non-Linux devices as well.

Transfer your files wirelessly

As is often the case with Linux users, there are plenty of apps out there that you can use to perform a general task like wireless file transfer. A single option is unlikely to work for every user, and the final selection may depend on the devices you are using and your level of knowledge with the terminal.

However, if you frequently move files between devices, you can skip the back and forth by creating a self-hosted cloud service.


The 3 best self-hosted Dropbox alternatives, tested and compared

Are you looking for a Dropbox alternative that doesn't impose any restrictions? Here are the best dropbox self-hosted alternatives.

About the author

Jordan Gloor
(2 articles published)

Jordan is a tutor and journalist who is passionate about making Linux accessible and stress-free for everyone. He has a BA in English and a hot tea thing. During the warmer months of the year he enjoys cycling on the Ozark hills where he lives.

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