Ever wished your Android device and Linux computer could work together more seamlessly? If that sounds like you, then you should try KDE Connect, as it alleviates the headache of the multiple device experience.
What is KDE Connect?
KDE Connect (or KDEConnect) is an Android and desktop app that acts as a bridge between your mobile device and your computer. KDE Connect offers a variety of useful functions, such as: For example, you can put Android notifications on your desktop, view the device's battery status on your computer, and sync your clipboard across devices.
With KDE Connect, you can also sync your contacts, control your multimedia apps remotely, and even turn your mobile device into a touchpad or keyboard for your computer.
If that's not enough, KDE Connect also supports sending files bidirectionally between your devices, as well as mounting your mobile devices to your computer's file manager for wireless browsing of your device's memory.
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Since not all users want to use all functions of the app, the developers of KDE Connect have developed a plug-in system with which you can deactivate all functions that you do not want to use.
There are currently no plans for an iOS version of the app in the near future, according to the KDE UserBase Wiki, but support for Linux-based mobile operating systems such as Plasma Mobile and PostmarketOS is under discussion. There are also early builds of Windows and macOS editions. KDE Connect is also available to F-Droid users.
Download: KDE Connect for Android | Linux (free)
How does KDE Connect work?
There are other tools like Pushbullet or Airdroid that offer similar functionality, but KDE Connect does this more seamlessly, reliably, and securely. KDE Connect uses RSA encryption to ensure that every endpoint in the process is secure, as security is an important consideration for virtually everyone these days.
By default, KDE Connect uses RSA encryption by sharing RSA keys in a public / private pairing system between your devices to ensure that the devices in use are the paired devices. In this way, KDE Connect can track every paired device, regardless of whether it is connected to the network or not. It also ensures that unauthorized devices cannot pair with your setup.
What can I do with KDE Connect?
KDE Connect offers a large number of available plugins. Here are some of the most useful.
Remote control for mouse and keyboard
Remote touchpad input is one of the coolest features as it allows you to turn your Android phone / tablet into a wireless touchpad for your computer. If you've always wanted to do this, you'll be pleased to see that the touchpad functionality not only works in all versions of KDE Connect, but works flawlessly on all Linux distributions as well.
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You can turn a 7-inch tablet into a touchpad at any time. The remote touchpad feature even supports the multi-finger functions provided by your device, including two-finger scrolling.
With remote keyboard input, you can use any Android keyboard, including keyboards like Swype that type gestures, as keyboard input for your computer.
Synchronization of the clipboard for multiple devices
The synchronization of the clipboard works immediately on all paired and connected devices. With this function you can not only synchronize your clipboard from your computer with your phone and vice versa, but also use KDE Connect to distribute the entry in the clipboard to all connected devices.
When you copy something to the desktop computer's clipboard, KDE Connect detects it and syncs it with the Android device, syncs it with the laptop, and syncs it with any other connected device.
Remote control of your multimedia applications
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The multimedia control function allows you to remotely control your computer's music and video player from your Android device. This feature supports a large number of audio and video players including Spotify, Amarok, VLC and many more.
To check if your player is supported, start something in that player and then open the Multimedia control Option on the Android app. If the player is supported, KDE Connect will automatically detect it and allow you to control the player via the app.
Mount your Android device wirelessly
KDE Connect uses SSHFS to securely and wirelessly host your Android device's file system on your computers. You can browse all the files on your device through your preferred file manager, whether it's Dolphin, Nemo, Nautilus, Thunar, etc.
This feature is available in virtually all versions of KDE Connect, but you must install it sshfs Package to use it.
sudo apt install sshfs
KDE's Dolphin file manager automatically detects the device. However, if you are using a different file manager in a different desktop environment, you will need to start that Search device Option from the Display menu.
If your desktop environment supports AppIndicator (e.g. GNOME, Cinnamon, Unity, MATE, etc.), you can install that additionally kdeconnect ad Package that is synchronized with the KDE Connect daemon. Once it's set up, you can use the indicator to request pairing for your device.
Install and get started with KDE Connect
KDE Connect is not exclusive to KDE desktops at all and is indeed widely used in some of the distribution's most popular repositories. Find it in your software library or download the package from the command line.
For Ubuntu based users, you can install it in the terminal with:
sudo apt install kdeconnect
On Arch Linux:
sudo pacman -S kdeconnect
sudo dnf install kdeconnect
sudo zypper install kdeconnect
Note that the functionality of KDE Connect depends on many KDE packages. Therefore, you are installing many dependencies on a non-KDE distribution weighing around 25MB.
Once it's installed on your PC, you can use KDE Connect by launching that KDE Connect App from the Application menu. You can change your plugins by starting KDE Connect settings. Also, open the app on your Android device and make sure you're on the same Wi-Fi network so you can pair devices and sync contacts and more.
KDE Connect all things
KDE Connect is a fantastic tool and one of the best solutions for connecting your Android device to your Linux computer. In fact, KDE Connect is just one of the many tools that users can use to wirelessly move files between a Linux desktop and other devices.
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About the author
(36 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 thing for hot tea. During the warm season he enjoys cycling on the hills of the Ozarks where he lives.
By Jordan Gloor
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