Monday, February 9, 2015

How to tranfer files between an Android tablet and Linux

I recently tried to connect an Android tablet to my Debian computer- and found the connection didn't work. Google told me the connection now uses MTP (older versions of Andoid, including my phone, used USB mass storage to connect) so I wondered if MTP was broken in Debian Jessie, but then I tried another tablet and it connected without a problem.

On the tablet that did connect, USB debugging was enabled, as well as MTP.

Now I certainly didn't enable USB debugging, because the menu option is hidden- you have to go to About tablet and tap Build number seven times which I didn't know about until just now, when I looked for the option and couldn't find it. (I discovered the information on

Nor did I enable MTP. (Go to Storage, tap the menu icon (three vertical square dots to the right), tap USB computer connection when it appears and tick Media device (MTP).

Enabling MTP on the tablet that wouldn't connect allowed it to connect. I also enabled USB debugging, which on this tablet wasn't hidden for some reason, although a subsequent test proved it wasn't necessary to connect.

However, on the second tablet, USB debugging is necessary.

Curious as both tablets run the same version of Android and are both from the same manufacture, although they are different models.

A useful reference from How-To Geek:

Android USB Connections Explained: MTP, PTP, and USB Mass Storage

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