I am wondering how to best connect Android smartphones with Linux boxes.

The best thing would be a program like Samsung's Kies, but Samsung seems to target Windows and Mac OS.

Is there such an application like Kies that runs on linux natively (not wine), so the user can connect Android devices with linux boxes over USB without doing all the low level USB and MTP stuff by hand.

(Any hardware vendor is OK, Samsung is only an example)

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    Welcome to Android Enthusiasts! When you say "Connect", I'm assuming you mean something like "Mount" for file manipulation, or perhaps just get a standard MTP connection for MTP actions. Non-MTP devices should be mountable as USB Mass Storage. Linux also supports mounting MTP devices through any of several packages, such as libmtp or mtpfs. libmtp has a cli interface for accessing devices using the MTP protocol, if you want to do more than just mount.
    – dotVezz
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 12:56
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    Speaking more generally, Linux and OSX have excellent interoperability with Android - generally not needing drivers or software that's necessary on Windows. Of course, there are exceptions - Samsung phone flashing often needs something to replace the Windows-only Odin - so Heimdall was developed.
    – dotVezz
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 13:01
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    I use many Android devices with Linux, and I'm really happy I don't need a thing like Kies for that (which, as I read, causes at least as many problems as it's intended to solve). As dotVezz already pointed out: no special drivers etc. needed here. I don't even use MTP, and rarely UMS (USB mass storage, if supported by the device), but rather adbfs (see my answer here for details), but that's a personal preference.
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 15:45
  • Than you for the comments, they help a lot. Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


You don't need any special software. On recent Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 13.04, all the right drivers for MTP are installed by default. When you plug your phone in, you get a file manager window that shows the contents of your phone. The phone appears as a normal directory, so you can drag-n-drop files, use rsync to sync files, or anything else you normally do to move or manage files.

Some apps, such as Shotwell (for photos) and Clementine (for music) also detect that your phone acts as a media player, and offer specific functionality for syncing a music collection, transferring and processing photos, in a high-level interface that works on playlists and albums instead of just files. You don't need to use this kind of software, but it's there if you prefer not to worry about exactly where each file is stored.

On older Ubuntu versions and some other distributions, you might need to install one or more MTP-related packages through the package manager to make this work. You still don't need any hardware-specific software, and the forum or manual for your distribution will explain exactly what setup is needed.

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