How to Get Android Notifications on Ubuntu Desktop Using KDE Connect

Imagine yourself reading an interesting article on your PC and chatting with your WhatsApp group on your phone simultaneously – not an unusual scenario, right? Now, you’d agree that not every WhatsApp message is worth replying to while chatting in a group, but in this scenario you’ll have to continuously switch between your PC and phone irrespective of whether the message is worth it or not.

What if you could get all your WhatsApp messages on your desktop screen in the form of notifications? Useful, right? This is one of several useful benefits that KDEConnect brings. In this article, we will learn how to download, install, and set up the package as well as discuss the features it provides.

KDE Connect is a project that allows your Linux PC and phone (Android or BlackBerry) to communicate with each other over Wi-Fi. It provides many useful features. For example, it lets you receive your phone notifications on your PC, use your phone as a remote control for your desktop, monitor your phone’s battery levels, and share files between your phone and PC.

Use the following commands to download and install the package on your Linux PC.

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

After the package is successfully installed on your PC, head to your phone and download the KDE Connect companion app from the Play Store.

Now on your PC, run the following command:

indicator-kdeconnect

When you run the above command for the first time, a small setup will be initiated that will introduce you to the tool. You should be able to run through it in no time, and when the setup completes you’ll see the following icon in your desktop notification area.

kdeconnect-desktop-icon

If you click the icon, you’ll see some options similar to the following.

kdeconnect-icon-menu

Here you can see the first option is “google” which is nothing. The second and third options are self-explanatory.

Moving on, if you open the app on your phone, it will automatically detect your PC. For example, here is the screenshot of the app on my phone.

KDEConnect-app-default-start

So as you can see, it was able to detect my PC, which is now listed in the “Available Devices” section.

Once you’re done with the setup, the first step is, of course, to connect your PC and phone. For this, select the “Request pairing” option from the KDE Connect menu on your desktop.

KDEconnect-request-pairing

This will send a pairing request to your phone. Accept that, and your PC should now be listed in the “Connected devices” section on your phone.

KDEConnect-app-device-connected

Now, if you click the KDEConnect icon on your desktop again, you’ll see several options similar to the following.

KDEConnect-connected-device-options

So, now you can monitor the battery levels of your phone and send a file, as well as browse your phone.

And in the app, if you click on the PC listing, you’ll see the following options.

KDEConnect-app-device-options

Click the “Remote Input” button, and you’ll be able to use your phone’s screen to control the mouse pointer on your PC. The “Send Ping” will test the connectivity between the devices by sending a ping.

kdeconnect-ping

The Multimedia Control button will let you control any audio/video that is being played through an application on your PC. For example, I was able to control the file being played on the Rhythmbox Music app running on my Ubuntu box from my Nexus 5:

KDEConnect-app-multimedia-control

You’ll also be able to select any file (image, text, video, etc.) on your phone and send it to your PC via KDEConnect.

Now, coming back to the example I mentioned in the beginning, here is a WhatsApp message notification.

KDEconnect-whatsapp-message

Similarly, KDEConnect will also display notifications related to calls and normal messages, as well as those from other apps.

The only problem I faced was that I was not able to browse my phone using the “Browse device” option in the KDEConnect desktop menu – clicking the option opened an empty directory in the file browser. I tried opening that directory from the command line using sudo, but couldn’t see its contents.

I found KDEConnect quite useful, for I get quite a lot of promotional messages and emails on my phone, and the app saves me a lot of time as I do not have to switch to my phone every time I get a useless message or email. The “Send file” feature also saves a lot of time as it’s quick, while the “Remote Control” and “Multimedia Control” features help if you aren’t near your PC.