How to Connect Your Android Phone to Gnome Desktop with GSConnect

Linux and Android users will probably be familiar with the KDE Connect app that allows you to connect your Android phone to your Linux desktop. If you are a Gnome user, GSConnect now provides the ideal way for you to integrate your mobile devices with your desktop as an alternative to KDE Connect. GSConnect gives users a wealth of options such as sending files between the desktop and the device, syncing the clipboard for those important notes taken in a hurry, browsing files over Wi-Fi and more.

GSConnect is an extension that sits within the GNOME Shell and uses the KDE Connect protocols written in GJS for GNOME Shell 3.24 and above. The concept is that it allows users to avoid the KDE dependencies, although the KDE app is still required for your mobile device. Just as with solutions like Airdroid, both the GNOME device and mobile device need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network in order to work correctly. GSConnect integrates with the file manager and Chrome or Firefox through extensions.

Just as with KDE Connect, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Sync notifications between your GNOME Shell desktop and mobile device. You can choose to only send or receive notifications or both
  • Receive notifications for phone calls and SMS messages
  • Send/receive files or links from a GNOME Shell desktop to a mobile device and vice-versa
  • Display the mobile device battery level and charging state on your GNOME Shell desktop
  • Define local commands that can be executed by remote devices

By far the easiest way to install GSConnect is via the GNOME Software Store, or in this example, the Ubuntu Software Center. Open the store and execute a search. It should appear, allowing you to click on it to install.

gsconnect-software

gsconnect-software-install-min

Once installed, it will allow you to set some options. You can access this directly through the Software Center, or you can use the small icon which appears next to the notification icons for networking, mail, the clock and the like.

gsconnect-settings-min

The options let you tune GSConnect to your liking:

  • Shell changes the appearance, with sliders for Display, Show Offline Devices, Show Unpaired Devices and Show Battery Icon.
  • Service lets you configure whether the device is set for discovery or not and to restart the service.
  • Other gives you access to additional features where you can install the necessary files for Remote Filesystem, Sound Effects, Desktop Contacts or Files Integration. You can also find the extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

With everything set up, it is time to connect your phone or tablet so you can take advantage of GSConnect. If you haven’t already, visit the Google Play store and install KDE Connect. Once this is installed, open it, and providing you are in the same network, it should find your GSConnect extension.

kdeconnect

If it doesn’t, you can press the “Find Device” button to search for it. After a short while, KDE Connect should locate the GSConnect and offer to pair devices. Click this to agree, and on your PC you will find an acceptance message. This message will show the fingerprint and name of both devices so you can be sure that it is not a rogue device you are connecting to. The process is similar to that of a Bluetooth connection.

Once connected, you will be presented with the following screen where you can use some of the features.

kdeconnect-connected

Now you can connect your phone or device to your PC. Here is my Wileyfox connected with all the options specific to the device.

gsconnect-phone-min

How do you use GSConnect? Do you stick with the full KDE Connect installation, or do you find this to be useful for Ubuntu and the like? Let us know in the comments section along with any other way you prefer to connect.

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