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I want to copy some movie files from my Linux PC to my Android phone, however, it is much more easy to copy from Windows to my Android phone.

In Windows, my phone would mount its internal memory card and SD card automatically, allowing me to transfer files between them.

With my Linux distro, it always shows an error whenever I plug my phone in to the PC with a USB cable, then it may take some minutes to mount the internal memory card and SD card. Sometimes it fails to mount them too.

I am wondering is this really a pain to do files transfer in all Linux distros, or if some other distro would perform better. I am using Linux Mint 13 Mate. If a newer distro could make my day easier I might switch over to it. My phone is an HTC One SV without rooting.

P.S. As I remember, the first error message is "Error initializing camera: -60: Could not lock the device". Really it said camera even I am connecting a phone to it. Then I need to wait for some minutes and hope the SD card would mount successfully.

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Which error message do you get? What means “it fails to mount”? Any related messages in the syslog? If mount takes several minutes somthing is definitely wrong. –  Marco Aug 22 '13 at 9:38
I think the error message is meaningless. Maybe the problem will solve itself when I switch to a newer linux distro. Anyway I will update the question later when I get home. Thanks. –  lamwaiman1988 Aug 22 '13 at 9:47
I'd say that problem lies with hardware, not with software, especially not Linux or your distribution. –  Bananguin Aug 22 '13 at 10:47
My ancient Android 2.3-based phone is seen as an USB storage device. What version of Android you're using? –  Renan Aug 22 '13 at 13:29
I am using android 4.1 –  lamwaiman1988 Aug 22 '13 at 16:41
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6 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Newer versions of Android mount storage as an MTP device instead of mass storage. The benefit to this is simultaneous access on the Android device and the PC. Unfortunately, while Windows supports it natively just fine, linux solutions are fairly buggy as of right now. Currently, the most reliable (and it still is a little flaky to get going, but once connected is fine) that I have found is go-mtpfs. Here is a link to help you get it set up. You have to mount/dismount from command line. There is also a unity launcher in that thread if you're on Ubuntu unity, however.

The best option, though, unless you are transferring a lot of data, is to use something like AirDroid. It is a free app in the play store for local network transfers, and provides a web interface to use with your computer's browser. It even provides a drag and drop file interface, as well as even allowing access for sms messaging, call logs, app installs, and many other things.

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I installed the latest version Linux Mint 15 Olivia as the team stated they made effort into android connection. I tried the usb connection it is working just fine. Much better than Linux Mint 13. So I think it is just problem of linux with MTP transfer and the performance varies between distros. –  lamwaiman1988 Sep 6 '13 at 6:30
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Basically this should be as easy as using a memory stick. Unfortunately this is not the case. But like other integrations Linux will catch up.

In the meantime you could use WiFi and sshd on Linux and an sftp-client on the smartphone side.

Or use the Linux adb CLI to use usb-transfers.

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Assuming you're using a USB connection, I found it works, but you need to do things in a specific order:

  • Don't plug in the phone to start with.
  • On the phone, go into Settings -> Wireless and Network -> USB Utilities, and click the "Connect store to PC". The phone will say "Connect USB cable to use mass storage".
  • Now plug in the USB cable to the phone. It should show the "green android" icon and USB connected message.

(I think my phone has an older version of Android, hopefully this works in the general case).

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You could try using the free (gratis) ES File Explorer file manager on your Android phone:


Among a lot of functionality, it has an FTP server. So, if you can network your phone and your computer, you can easily transfer files both ways from your computer. I do it all the time from Ubuntu and Fedora machines (via Thunar).

The FTP server mode in this app is called "Remote Manager", it's under the Tools section.

Most modern file managers will accept the following syntax (remove the spaces because this site wouldn't allow me to post the link without them).

ftp : // phone_ip_address : port

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mtpfs - FUSE filesystem for Media Transfer Protocol devices

apt-get install mtpfs

Done. Works as with Windows in Linux Mint/Ubuntu/etc.

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To see what happen in your phone you can try to use ADB. ADB is a tool with SDK from Android. You can see everything in your phone. And look LogError.

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