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Receive Android SMS & Call Notifications in Ubuntu 16.04 with KDE Connect (or Not?)

September 15th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

I often miss calls, and I may be slow to answer SMS on my Android phone, but I’m often in front of my computer, so I decided to look for solutions to show SMS and call notifications on my computer running Ubuntu 16.04. I first found LinConnect, but it does not seem to be developed anymore, and after some more research I discovered that KDE Connect should do the job. The developer just released KDE Connect 1.0 a few weeks ago with add encryption, the ability to reply to SMS from your computer and more… One person posted instructions for Kubuntu 16.04. There’s just a problem it won’t work with Unity desktop, only KDE Plasma, due to a lack of support for Qt 5.6.

You can still use the older version without encryption and other new features by “simply” running:


However the installation failed for me:


An “apt install -f” did not help, so I uninstalled kde-l10n-th package:


Ran “sudo apt install -f”, and the installation went through. It’s possible it’s an error specific to Thai language only. I’m unclear whether the bug is due to that package, or KDE Connect.

Now you can install KDE Connect Android app on your phone, and start KDE Connect Settings on your computer and enable the server in order to pair your phone.

Click to Enlarge

KDE Connect Settings (Ubuntu) – Click to Enlarge

kde-connect-android-app

I could connect to the server, and set notifications for apps. You can also set several options in KDE Connect in Ubuntu 16.04, and the program seems quite powerful.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Sadly, I only manage to get a notification once in the top right corner for an upcoming call (I was not fast enough for a screenshot), and after it I did work anymore. You can also open KDE Connect Monitor to have a look at notifications, but in the case of calls it will only show you the missed called, not when the call starts. The Blue button on the top right is used to make your phone ring in case you can’t find it.

android-smartphone-notifications-ubuntu-computerIt’s not really ideal, so I decided to go ahead and install the latest version.

The first step is to install the Kubuntu backport.


Sadly I canceled it, because I went through many dependencies errors during installation, maybe I did something wrong.

In case it works, you can use the PPA for Kubuntu 16.04 / 16.10, and install KDE Connect 1.0:


Overall, this was a time consuming experience, and KDE Connect did not work reliably for me. Any tips are welcomed.

  1. Tomek
    September 15th, 2016 at 20:09 | #1

    Hi
    you should check Desktop Notifications for Android a chrome plugin https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/desktop-notifications-for/giicnncicnopjohcpamieklkiacdoeni

    I used to use it and remember it worked very well 🙂

  2. jkx
    September 16th, 2016 at 03:44 | #2

    I use the PushBullet app on phone & chrome extension. It works really fine.

  3. September 16th, 2016 at 09:43 | #3

    @Tomek
    @jkx
    Thanks. It looks like most people use Chrome for this. Somebody on G+ talked about Hangouts doing something similar.
    I’m a Firefox user, so I’d rather not use Chrome just for Notifications… I’ll see what to do.

  4. Dal
    September 16th, 2016 at 10:13 | #4

    I got the 1.0 working (after about 2 hours) but there are lots of issues. Not worth. Im thinking of forking it to port to unity proper.

  5. maurer
    September 16th, 2016 at 13:50 | #5

    @cnxsoft
    there is a android-desktop-notif as firefox add-on – just search for it

  6. September 16th, 2016 at 14:17 | #6

    @maurer
    Thanks, it seems to work well. I’m still hoping for a KDE Connect 1.0 port to be able to reply to SMS from my PC.

  7. rebeL
    September 16th, 2016 at 14:47 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    How does this firefox-addon exactly called, I didn’t found it?

  8. Oogy-Spoogy
    September 16th, 2016 at 20:37 | #9

    If it is just notifications you want then install an older version of kdeconnect along with indicator-kdeconnect and it works fine to share notifications between devices, share a clipboard, send files between devices and usesthe phone as a keyboard/mouse – plus browse device if it on kittkat or lower (doesn’t seem to work for android 5 or 6.

    https://code.launchpad.net/~vikoadi/+archive/ubuntu/ppa/ has upto version 0.8, along with the indicator required for unity/gnome/pantheon/anything else not kde.

  9. September 16th, 2016 at 22:28 | #10

    I played with this some months ago – local linux notification is also interesting.
    http://www.bitkistl.com/2016/04/linux-desktop-and-android-interworking.html

  10. beerendlauwers
    September 17th, 2016 at 16:08 | #11

    @cnxsoft

    There’s a pushbullet indicator application for Ubuntu, see “Instalación”: https://www.atareao.es/apps/pushbullet-indicator-para-enviar-archivos-entre-ubuntu-y-android/#more-9791

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