How to Connect Your Android Phone to Linux via Airdroid

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Airdroid is a unique and useful application that lets you transfer files, send SMS messages and control your phone through your PC. It is available within the Google Play store and the iOS App Store and provides a useful alternative if you need to grab a file but don’t have a USB cable at hand. While Windows has a full rich client that allows easy access to the features, those of us on Linux have to use the web-based interface, but this doesn’t make the application any less useful.

For the purposes of this article, I will be demonstrating using Airdroid on Android and connecting to a Linux PC, in this case Ubuntu 18.04.

First, you will need to open Play Store and search for the Airdroid app. Once found, you can download and install as normal.

Open the app, and after the short introduction, you will be presented with the following screen. The free version is ad-supported.

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Click on “AirDroid Web” to set up the connection between your Linux PC and the handset. You’ll see two options: you can either use the web client or navigate locally to the IP address given – in this case mine is 192.168.1.68:8888.

If you take the latter option, then your PC and phone need to be on the same network; you can’t mix Wi-Fi with cellular and vice versa.

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Whichever option you pick, you will need to verify your handset. The web interface needs you to scan a QR code on the screen, whereas the IP address option needs manual verification on the handset. Once you have done this, you will be presented with the following screen.

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You can see an arrangement of icons that let you interact with your device. On the right side you can see your device details – in my case my Wileyfox Swift and the amount of space used so far.

In order to create this tutorial, I needed to grab some screenshots from my phone. Click on the icon called Photos. Airdroid will connect and bring up a GUI window with the images on your device. Once you have selected the images, click Download, and Airdroid will zip them and offer this format to save.

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Other functions are available like Files, which gives you a file manager, again allowing you to download or upload images, documents or anything you like to your device.

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Clicking App will bring up a window that allows you to install APK files directly onto the device. This is useful for countries where the Google Play store is not available or if you simply want to experiment with APK files that are outside of this ecosystem, such as F-Droid, an alternative, free, open-source software app store. Do note that you will need to allow “Unknown Sources’ within the Settings first.

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A word of warning: installing APK files can lead your device to becoming compromised. Always check where they are being downloaded from, and please use verifiable sites like APK Mirror. If you have any doubts, then do not install the APK.

Airdroid also lets you call someone from your desktop.

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Click the small phone icon at the top menu bar, and it will open a dialpad. As you start to type numbers, Airdroid will run through your contacts and let you pick whichever person you want to call.

There are many other things that Airdroid can do with your Android device, so download it and experiment, but this gives you some ideas. Let us know in the comments section how you use Airdroid.

4 comments

  1. I’ve been relying on AirDroid for years now, it’s a great alternative to connect a mobile device to a computer without having to use a USB cable. With AirDroid all that’s necessary is for the mobile device and the computer to be connected to the same local network. Your mobile device just needs the AirDroid app installed and nothing needs to be installed on the computer, you just use any web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, Seamonkey or whichever browser is your favorite). As for the computer, it can be running Linux, MacOS, Windows, or whatever OS.
    When using a USB cable, you might have to install a device driver so the mobile device will be detected and mountable on the computer, or you might have to work past various mass storage, MTP, or PTP settings depending on what version of operating system is on that computer, issues that will be easy enough to take care of on your own computer but if you frequently exchanged files on multiple computers and/or in different locations, those can be real hassles (i.e. installing a system driver on a Windows PC that you don’t have admin privileges).
    This isn’t advised to connect to computers in general because of the security issues involved but if you’re only connecting to your own computer at home, you can do a couple of things to streamline the process. In the AirDroid app Settings menu there’s a ‘Require confirmation’ option to enable/disable so you don’t get prompted each time you want to connect your device to your computer. Also, if you give your mobile device its own, reserved IP address (i.e. 192.168.1.68) in your home router than it’s just a matter of setting a bookmark in your browser ( http://192.168.1.68:8888 ) so when you do want to connect to your device it’s just a matter of one tap to launch the AirDroid app (on your device) and one mouse-click on that browser bookmark (on your computer) to get to that browser window showing your device’s storage.

  2. good application, but I prefer KDEConnect because:
    KDE Connect is a project that enables all your devices to communicate with each other. Here’s a few things KDE Connect can do:

    * Receive your phone notifications on your desktop computer and reply to messages
    * Control music playing on your desktop from your phone
    * Use your phone as a remote control for your desktop
    * Run predefined commands on your PC from connected devices. See the list of example commands for more details.
    * Check your phones battery level from the desktop
    * Ring your phone to help finding it
    * Share files and links between devices
    * Browse your phone from the desktop
    * Control the desktop’s volume from the phone

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