How to connect Android to the Linux desktop with KDE Connect

If you're an Android and Linux user, there's a very convenient tool for connecting those two operating systems, so you can send/receive SMS from the desktop, share files, and more. Jack Wallen shows you how it's done.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

One major benefit of using iOS is that it makes it incredibly easy to sync between your iPhone and your Mac desktops and laptops. On the other hand, Android isn't quite so embedded into other systems (besides, of course, Google). That doesn't mean there aren't ways to sync Android and your desktop or laptop…especially if your desktop/laptop OS is Linux. 

With the KDE desktop, there's a handy tool called KDE Connect that makes it incredibly easy to do things like receive notifications from your phone to your desktop, easily copy files between your desktop and phone, find your lost phone, view notifications from your desktop on your mobile phone, share and receive data, integrate your telephone to your desktop, and even run commands from your phone to your desktop.

KDE Connect does that and more.

But how do you get it to work? That's what I'm here for. Let's dive in and see how to connect your Android device and your KDE-powered desktop. I'll be demonstrating with a Pixel 6 Pro and KDE Plasma on Kubuntu.

Installing KDE Connect

The good news is there's nothing to do on the desktop, as recent releases of KDE Plasma include KDE Connect.

1. Install KDE Connect on Android

As far as Android is concerned, you need to install the KDE Connect app from the Google Play Store. To do this, open the Google Play Store on your Android device, search for KDE Connect, and tap Install (Figure 1).

KDE Connect found on the Google Play Store.

Figure 1: Installing KDE Connect on Android 12.

Image: Jack Wallen

2. Open the mobile app

After the installation completes, locate and tap the KDE Connect entry in the Android App Drawer. 

Connecting Android and KDE Plasma

1. Connect to the same network

The first thing you must do is make sure your Android device and your KDE Plasma desktop/laptop are connected to the same wireless network (as this won't work otherwise). 

2. Connect your devices

Once your phone is on the same network as your desktop, open KDE Connect on your desktop and then open the mobile app. In the desktop app and (as long as you have the KDE Connect app open on Android), your phone should automatically appear (Figure 2).

The KDE Connect app running on Kubuntu Linux.

Figure 2: The KDE Connect desktop app running and showing my Pixel 6 Pro.

Image: Jack Wallen

Click the device listed on the desktop version, and then you should see a Pair button (Figure 3).

KDE Connect has found a device on the same network.

Figure 3: The pairing process between KDE Connect and Android is very simple.

Image: Jack Wallen

Instead of clicking Pair on the desktop app, go to your mobile device KDE Connect app and tap the name of the desktop/laptop you plan on connecting with (Figure 4).

My Kubuntu desktop has been discovered by the KDE Connect app.

Figure 4: My Kubuntu desktop is available for connection.

Image: Jack Wallen

You will then be prompted to tap REQUEST PAIRING (Figure 5). 

The REQUEST PAIRING button on the KDE Connect mobile app.

Figure 5: You're about to request a pairing between Android and KDE Plasma.

Image: Jack Wallen

Tap REQUEST PAIRING and, back on the desktop app, tap Accept (Figure 6).

Accepting a pair request from the mobile KDE Connect app.

Figure 6: Accepting the pairing from my Pixel 6 Pro to KDE Plasma.

Image: Jack Wallen

You should then be presented with the options available to you (Multimedia Control, Remote Input, Presentation Remote, Find Device, and Share File -- Figure 7).

KDE Connect has successfully connected Linux and Android.

Figure 7: KDE Connect is ready for action.

Image: Jack Wallen

You'll also find another desktop app called KDE Connect SMS. Once you've given the mobile app permissions to access SMS, all of your SMS messages will appear in this app, so you can send and receive them from the convenience of your desktop.

KDE Connect is an outstanding option if you're looking for the best way to interact with your Android device from your Linux desktop. If you don't happen to use KDE Plasma as your desktop, you can install KDE Connect on other interfaces (such as GNOME) from your Linux distribution's app store of choice. 

And that's all there is to connect your Android device to your Linux desktop.

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