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Have you ever wished your Android devices and your Linux computers worked together more seamlessly? KDE Connect is something you should check out because it alleviates the headaches of the multi-device experience.

KDE Connect is an Android app and a Desktop app that acts as a bridge between your mobile devices and your computers. KDE Connect provides a ton of useful features such as pushing Android notifications to your desktop, viewing device battery status on your desktop, and clipboard synchronization. KDE Connect also provides remote control tools for multimedia control, typing with your device keyboard and even turning your mobile device into a Touchpad for your computer.

If that wasn’t enough, KDE Connect also supports sending files bi-directionally between your devices as well as mounting your mobile devices to the file manager of your computer to wirelessly browse your devices.

kde-connect-android-front-and-plugin-settings

Due to the possibility that not all users will want all features, the developers of KDE Connect thought of this and built a Plugin System so you can turn off any feature you do not want to use. I typically use it all because I’m kind of addicted to this tool. My issues aside, if you want to turn off any of the features you can do so from the Android app.

At the time of this article, KDE Connect provides an Android version available from the Google Play Store or F-Droid and a Blackberry version. iOS support is on the roadmap for a future release.

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KDE Connect Sets Itself Apart

kde-connect-plasma-5-style-banner

There are other tools out there, like Pushbullet Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength Find out how you can keep your Android perfectly synced with your PC -- push your phone's notifications to your desktop, share files, and much more! Read More or Airdroid AirDroid - Send SMS, Share Links, Transfer Files & More [Android 2.1+] AirDroid - Send SMS, Share Links, Transfer Files & More [Android 2.1+] In the past, we have reviewed many apps that could make your Android phone even more spectacular. We do, in fact, have a great list of the best 100 Android apps we have encountered up... Read More , that provide some of the same features, but KDE Connect does it more seamlessly, reliably, and securely. KDE Connect uses RSA Encryption to ensure each end point in the process is secure, and these days security is an important aspect on the minds of practically everyone.

KDE Connect utilizes RSA Encryption by default via sharing RSA Keys in a public/private pairing system between your devices to ensure the devices being used are the devices that are paired. This allows for KDE Connect to keep track of every device paired, whether it is connected to the network or not. It also ensures that rogue devices can’t pair themselves to your setup.

Remote Input Control for Mouse & Keyboard

kde-connect-android-remote-touchpad

Remote Touchpad Input is one of the coolest features because it allows you to turn your Android phone/tablet into a Wireless Touchpad for your computers. If you’ve ever wanted to do this then you’ll be happy to see that not only does the touchpad functionality work in all versions of KDE Connect, for all distros, but it works flawlessly.

I can’t accurately describe how cool it is to have a 7″ tablet turned into a touchpad anytime I want. The remote touchpad feature even supports the multi-finger functionality provided by your device, including Two Finger Scrolling with more features on the roadmap.

kde-connect-android-remote-keyboard

Remote Keyboard Input allows you to use any Android keyboard, including keyboards like Swype Swype Keyboard 1.6 Updates With Bilingual Support, Customizable Layouts Swype Keyboard 1.6 Updates With Bilingual Support, Customizable Layouts Nuance has enhanced Swype Keyboard with plenty of new features. One of the biggest features in Swype 1.6 is the ability to type in two languages at the same time. Bilingual support is also offered. Read More that utilize gesture typing, as the keyboard input of your computer. This feature requires version 0.7.3+ to be installed on your computer but the installation for 0.7.3+ is a bit weird right now for Ubuntu related distributions, so if you are interested in having this functionality then scroll down to the installation section. I address how to get this there.

Multi-Device Clipboard Synchronization

kde-connect-clipboard-synchronization

The multi-device clipboard synch feature is freaking cool. No wait, make that Awesome!

The Clipboard Synchronization works across all paired & connected devices instantaneously. This feature not only lets you sync your clipboard from your computer to your phone and vice versa but it also allows you to use KDE Connect to spread the clipboard entry to all connected devices. If you have connected and paired a desktop computer, an Android device, and a laptop computer you will be able to use the KDE Connect as a middle man to sync the clipboard of all devices.

If you were to copy something to the clipboard on the Desktop computer then KDE Connect will detect that and sync it to the Android device, sync it to the laptop computer, and sync it to any other connected device. You may not be amazed by the feature at first, but once you start using it, you will instantly love KDE Connect.

Remote Control Your Multimedia Applications

kde-connect-android-remote-media

The remote control feature allows you to remotely control your music players and video players from your Android device. This feature supports a large number of audio and video players including Amarok Control The Music Your Way With Amarok [Linux] Control The Music Your Way With Amarok [Linux] Music players come a dime a dozen on any operating system, and it's easy to lose sight of those that are actually worth something. Amarok is probably one of the most feature-rich music players I've... Read More , Clementine Need A Lightweight Music Player Without Sacrificing Features? Clementine! [Cross-Platform] Need A Lightweight Music Player Without Sacrificing Features? Clementine! [Cross-Platform] Sometimes you don’t really know what you want until you’re holding it in your hands. There are not-so-resource-intensive music players out there that are bland and there are monster RAM hogs that provide tons of... Read More , VLC and many more. If you’d like to check if your player of choice is supported then all you need to do is start playing something in that player and then open the Multimedia Control on the Android app, if it supports it then KDE Connect will automatically detect it and allow you to control the player from the app.

Wirelessly Mount Your Android Device

KDE Connect utilizes SSHFS in order to securely and wirelessly mount your Android device’s file system to your computers. You will be able to browse all of the files on your device via your preferred File Manager whether that be Dolphin, Nemo, Nautilus, Thunar, or etc.

This feature is available in practically all versions of KDE Connect but you will need to install the sshfs package in order to utilize it. KDE’s Dolphin file manager will automatically detect the device but if you are using a different file manager on another desktop environment then you will need to launch the Browse device option from the Indicator menu.

sudo apt install sshfs

Getting Started with KDE Connect

The setup process is different depending on your particular computing experience, so there are differences in which distro you are using, which version of the distro, and which desktop environment you are using. It won’t be possible to cover all configurations in this article so if you have a question please make a comment below and I will be happy to help you get KDE Connect setup.

Kubuntu Users and/or Other KDE-based Distros

KDE users won’t need to do anything special, simply install the “kdeconnect” package from your repository and you are ready to start pairing. KDE users will also have the ability to request pairing from their Android devices. KDE Connects supports all desktop environments but naturally the most seamless experience is going to be for KDE users since they won’t need to use the indicator package.

kde-connect-android-pair-new-device

Non-KDE Users such as GNOME, Cinnamon, Unity, MATE, etc

You will need to use an indicator applet for KDE Connect in order to connect your preferred DE to the KDE Connect daemon. This isn’t hard to do but it does add a couple extra steps to get KDE Connect setup. As an overview, you will need to add the indicator ppa, then install indicator-kdeconnect (which installs kdeconnect automatically), and finally you will need to use the indicator to request pairing for your device.

KDE is the only Desktop Environment (DE) that supports full interaction with System Notifications, based on my testing, so the Accept/Reject options in the notifications will only work inside KDE. Non-KDE users will need to request the pairing from the desktop indicator/applet instead of the Android app.

kde-connect-desktop-pair-new-device

KDE Connect Installation Guide

Ubuntu & Ubuntu-based (except Mint)

Ubuntu has two different versions available in their repositories depending on which version of Ubuntu you are using. If you are using Ubuntu 15.04 or newer then you’re ready to install, but If you are using 14.04 then by default you will be presented with kdeconnect version 0.7.1 which will work fine for almost everything but if you want to have the Remote Control Keyboard feature you will need version 0.7.3 or newer. This isn’t that big of a problem but it means you will need to add a PPA to get a later version.

All Users:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vikoadi/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install kdeconnect

Non-KDE Users Only:

If you don’t use KDE then you will also need to install the KDE Connect Indicator which is also available from the previously installed PPA.

sudo apt install indicator-kdeconnect

Debian & Other Distros

Debian by default has 0.7.2 in Jessie so if you want Remote Keyboard support you’ll need to install kdeconnect from Stretch or Sid branches for version 0.8.

openSUSE, Fedora, Arch, Mageia, and OpenMandriva have version 0.8 available in their default repositories.

Linux Mint Users

linux-mint-package-priority-too-damn-high

Linux Mint is considered one of the easiest distros to use, but ironically Mint users have more to do for setup. For some reason, The Mint Team decided to make their repository packages set with a priority of 700 in order to overwrite Ubuntu’s priorities but they kind of screwed up because it doesn’t stop there. PPAs typically issue a priority of 500, so due to the priority that Mint set, which is too damn high, the PPA package gets ignored, forcing the user to take extra steps.

In order to get the PPA version of kdeconnect in Linux Mint you will have to first Download the .deb file for your computer (32bit or 64bit), launch the .deb and install it with Gdebi, and you’ll be ready to launch indicator-kdeconnect.

KDE Connect All The Things

KDE Connect is a fantastic tool and in my opinion is by far the best solution for bridging your Android device to your Linux computer. It might be worth noting that KDE Connect depends on many KDE packages to function, so you will be installing a lot of dependencies on a Non-KDE distro but in my opinion, this is not a problem at all. When was the last time you worried about how large an application file was?

KDE Connect is also not feature complete so they are continuously adding new features with each release and I, for one, am extremely excited to see what comes next. I know that sending a text message from your computer 3 Ways to Send and Check SMS Messages from Your PC 3 Ways to Send and Check SMS Messages from Your PC Do you often get distracted by SMS alerts on your mobile while working on the computer? Switching from one device to another is major interruption of your work flow, so tools that help you stay... Read More via KDE Connect is a feature on their to-do list.

KDE Connect is an awesome tool provided by an awesome team of developers and I look forward to the future. What are your opinions of KDE Connect? Am I hyping it too much or do you agree that it deserves the hype? Let me know in the comments below.

  1. sagar
    August 4, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    how can i use kde connect on xubuntu..it has xfce.

    • Michael Tunnell
      August 4, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I described how to in the article. The guide provided in the section, "KDE Connect Installation Guide ; Ubuntu & Ubuntu-based (except Mint)" applies to Xubuntu users.

      • sagar
        August 5, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        thanks a lot !! things working now.

        • Michael Tunnell
          August 6, 2016 at 7:33 pm

          You're welcome. :) - Please, let me know what you think of KDE Connect after you've tried it out.

  2. Jerry
    May 1, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Totally agree, KDE Connect is a best in kind application. Thanks for the article.

  3. Matthew
    April 3, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I installed the deb on Linux Mint.
    I'm not very familiar with .deb files. Do I need to manually re-download the .deb occasionally to check for updates, or will the updates by automatic (with apt-get)?

    • Michael Tunnell
      August 4, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      If you have the PPA installed then it will automatically update with that PPA. The manual install of the DEB is just to bypass Mint's terrible decision of breaking package priorities. When you use the DEB to fix the issue in Mint, then the PPA should take priority back from Mint's mess.

  4. Sam P.
    March 15, 2016 at 1:28 am

    I installed everything into Linux Mint:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vikoadi/ppa
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install kdeconnect
    sudo apt install indicator-kdeconnect

    Then I installed F-Droid and kdeconnect on the phone.

    Indicator-kdeconnect just says to "connect", but I run out of clues at this point. I did try to create some rules in Gufw to open port 1714-1764 for TCP and UDP. This might be where I am doing things wrong (tinkering and not understanding for sure).

    Kdeconnect on the phone sees no device (wireless or USB), but I thought the connection was supposed to be initiated from indicator-kdeconnect on the computer anyway.

    Am I close enough that you could help me to get it running? (maybe to understand any requisite Gufw setup)

    • Michael Tunnell
      August 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      You have to initiate the request from the Desktop indicator on Mint. The Android app should see that the device exists but it can't properly request connection. You also need to make sure both devices are on the same network. If the phone is on LTE for example it won't work.

  5. Luigi Provencher
    March 7, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Has anyone been able to explore the Androids file system with Dolphin or whatever else you've been using for an explorer?

    • Necklace
      May 11, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      I've been able to use Dolphin, but ATM I'm tring to figure out how to use it with Thunar..

    • Michael Tunnell
      August 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Dolphin support is automatic with KDE Connect and I use it all the time. :)

  6. Luigi Provencher
    March 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

    I don't really have too much experience with Linux so a screen shot of gufw with the required rules would be nice. I know that there is at least three different applications in the report that say kdeconnectd but I don't know if there's anymore applications in there that have to be given a rule.

    • JPB
      May 1, 2016 at 1:54 am

      Luigi,

      Kinda off-topic, but you can run an FTP server on Android -- it's an app on Google Play Store -- FTP Server (Demo). Dolphin can be used with it (IIRC, Konqueror was better). You can allow Anonymous access for easier operation, but do remember to close the ftp server after using it. You have to take note of the cellphone IP on your home network.

  7. fireboy
    December 13, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Thx Michael, good article on KDE!

    • Michael Tunnell
      March 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. :)

  8. Colonel Angus
    October 14, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I only recently discovered this little gem, and I love it!

    • Michael Tunnell
      October 14, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      I feel the same. I wish I had tried it long before I actually tried it, I feel like I wasted so much time with other inferior solutions. :)

  9. Marcel Hoppe
    October 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

    @Micheal Tunnell
    Sounds great, but then it should renamed ???? when I read about KDE connect in other media it always sounds like a KDE tool, not like a service with a KDE frontend/integration ???? story, when I understand you right, the kde indicator is not necessary on gnome? So, when I got you right there is no problem to write a gnome shell extension, which uses KDE connect? I hope I get enough freetime this semester ????

    • Alex L.
      October 6, 2015 at 10:43 am

      In fact KDE isn't a DE, KDE is a community and KDE Connect is a tool developed by KDE community. The KDE's DE is Plasma. If KDE Connect was named "Plasma Connect" you was right. Your mistake is considering KDE a DE. KDE Connect could be used by non-Plasma user as they use other KDE softwares like Krita.

      • Marcel Hoppe
        October 6, 2015 at 11:57 am

        Thanks, i see, you are right. It's confusing, that earlier KDE was the K Desktop Envirement^^ so i thought Plasma is the pendant of the Gnome-Shell ;)

    • Alex L.
      October 6, 2015 at 10:46 am

      @Michael Tunnell please update the article using "Plasma" as KDE's DE name and "KDE" to refers to the KDE community.

      • Michael Tunnell
        October 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        This is an issue of intent of what the terms mean. I used the term KDE in reference to the DE because I consider the DE more than just the desktop shell. Just like I consider GNOME 3 more than just GNOME Shell. I think my usage of referring to it as KDE is correct even though I understand how you can see it differently. KDE has a long road ahead of them in their restructuring and getting their terms defined the way they want. I think the KDE Project should use the opportunity of 4 -> 5 to change all of the awful names that plague the project. Kontact is a great example because you would think it is a contacts app but it isn't, it's an personal organizer app. You would think KOrganizer is a personal organizer app but it's not, it's a calendar and to-do list app. KAddressbook should be named Kontact, Kontact should be named Korganizer, KOrganizer should be named Kalendar and the list goes on.

        • Alex L.
          October 7, 2015 at 3:51 pm

          @Michael and why do you need to use an ambiguous term like "DE" when "Plasma" simply fit what you meant in the article? If an user use XFCE/LXDE/GNOME Shell he can't use Plasma. But he can use KDE software and/or GNOME software. So, no excuse please, in that context you had to say "non-Plasma users" instead of "non-KDE users". Additionally, there isn't a thing named "KDE Project" cause, as I said, KDE is a community with a lot of projects, some of them aren't desktop software, i.e. WikiToLearn. So please, stop using this ancient meaning of these terms. Respectful, the confusion is only in your mind cause you can't think about "KDE" as a totally different thing from a software collection.

        • Kurt Risser
          October 15, 2016 at 3:12 am

          When it comes to software tools, or even method declarations in programs, it is important to choose names that accurately impart function, particularly as parts of a larger system.

    • Michael Tunnell
      October 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      @Marcel as Alex said, KDE Connect only refers to it being a part of the KDE Project vs for KDE the desktop. I think KDE needs to work on their naming scheme quite a bit though because they have a lot of applications with names that just don't make any sense at all.

      • Alex L.
        October 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        @Michael can you please provide some example of "applications with names that just don’t make any sense at all"?

        • Michael Tunnell
          March 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm

          I thought I already answered this question, so sorry it took so long for me to notice that I hadn't.

          @Alex, there are quite a few that don't make any sense in their naming scheme but I will just focus on the batch that annoys me the most.

          Kontact suite has the worst naming scheme in terms of logic for KDE project.

          Kontact = you'd think this is address book app but it's not, its a personal organizer app.

          KOrganizer = you'd think this is a personal organizer app, but it's a Calender, Journal and ToDo List app . . . Calendar can be argued to be an organization tool but the rest? Nah.

          KAddressBook = is obviously an address book app but Kontact is a much better name for this app wasted on something that makes no sense.

          Akregator = is a good name for an RSS reader but it could easily be consolidated with KNode to be even better.

          KNode = is a news app, that name makes no sense at all.

          KJots = I get it but it's bad. Jotting down notes, ok sure but there's also the Journal in KOrganizer and KNotes . . . just messy.

          KMail = this is fine but could be better

          ------

          My suggestion would be:

          Korganizer replaces the name for Kontact.

          KOrganizer is split into different apps with Calendar becoming Kalendar, Journal merging with KNotes and KJots to become one tool, ToDos tool becoming a separate app.

          KMail is renamed to Karamail (it's cute, admit it)

          KAddressBook is renamed to Kontact.

          Akregator stays with this name but merges purpose with KNode

          KJots merges with KOrganizer's Journal and KNotes. It could also be renamed as well.

  10. Marcel Hoppe
    October 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Why this tool have only full support for KDE? I hate this, every DE do their own things :-/ they should work more often together... why is KDE connect not "only" a daemon or a service with an nice API. Then any DE can use this deamon and integrate it into the DE's workflow

    • Alex L.
      October 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      In fact is a DE-agnostic tool

      • Michael Tunnell
        October 5, 2015 at 10:22 pm

        You are correct, indeed it is, just another reason why it's awesome. :)

    • Michael Tunnell
      October 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      This is not because of something KDE or KDE Connect did, this is an issue of the other DEs not building functionality into their DEs to support it. KDE Connect is in fact a daemon/service that runs with a nice API and can function with any DE that wants to support the features it provides. It just so happens that, KDE is the only DE at the moment that has support for all of these features. I think that most people are not aware of why KDE Connect is awesome so that could also apply to developers of other DEs and that could be why they don't support these features, they just don't know they are there to support. :)

      • Red Onion
        October 6, 2015 at 4:49 am

        Well said, Michael!

        • Michael Tunnell
          October 6, 2015 at 6:44 am

          Thank you. Be sure to check out my next article on Wednesday. :)

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