How to Manage Android Devices on Linux

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Android is one of the most popular mobile operating systems around. In just a short span of time, this Linux-based OS has soared to popularity thanks to its amazing features and ease of use. When pitted head-to-head against its archrival, that is none other than Apple’s iOS, Android usually gets the upper hand thanks to the freedom that it offers to users.

While iOS requires iTunes and a Windows or Mac operating system, an Android device can be managed from any device, be it Linux, Mac, or Windows. Moreover, managing the device, or transferring songs, videos, and documents, doesn't take much effort at all; all you have to do is simply plug in your smartphone or tablet to the computer and drag and drop. That said, not all are comfortable with that method of 'softwareless' management, especially people who switch over from other devices -- mostly Nokia-based and iOS devices -- feel that they need a dedicated software for managing their phones and tablets.

So, if you’re a Linux user, and just purchased an Android device, here are some tips that will help you manage your brand new Droid with ease:

Method 1: Managing Without Additional Software

First plug in your Android device using the cable provided in your box. Then, on your device, turn on mass storage mode, which will then pop up the device on your computer. Simply open it with your file manager (Nautilus, Dolphin, or whichever you use) and create separate folders for the files you want to put. For example, you want to transfer Excel spreadsheets, create a folder called Documents, and in there, create another folder called spreadsheets wherein the file will go. It is important that you keep everything organized into proper folders because over time the file system tends to get overly crowded as different apps create their own folders.

When it comes to transferring music, simply open Rhythmbox or Banshee on your Linux desktop. The device will show up in the left pane wherein you could drag and drop all your songs. Sometimes, however, the files show up in folders other than the main Music folder, in that case, you can safely drop them to the designated folder without losing the playlists you created on your device.

Method 2: Managing Using Additional Software


AirDroid is one of the best Android-managing tools out there. Though not a complete Linux-based software per se, it works perfectly well across all platforms, as it needs nothing but your web browser. With AirDroid you can wirelessly transfer files, manage SMSes, apps, and media right from your desktop. You can also copy and organize your music, and even set a song as your ringtone. The software is incredibly easy to use, even easier than iTunes. To get started, all you have to do is pair your device with the web-based version of AirDroid.


QtADB, as the name suggests, is a Qt-based Android manager for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Written in C++, the application can be used for managing files, apps, and more. Furthermore, you can use it for taking screenshots, flashing bootloader, boot recovery, Nandroid backup, and more complex tasks. Though the app is more suited for rooters and advanced users, enthusiasts can use it for managing files and apps. The application requires Qt 4.7 libraries to be installed on your computer (libqtgui4, libqt4-network and libqt4-declarative).

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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