Media Transfer Protocol

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Revision as of 05:19, 16 March 2018 by Machu (talk | contribs) (go-mtpfs: added unmounting instructions and tips for multiple devices)
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MTP, or the Media Transfer Protocol, is a USB device class which is used by many mobile phones (all Windows Phone 7/8/10 devices, most newer Android devices) and media players (e.g. Creative Zen).



Linux MTP support is provided by installing the libmtp package. It can be installed on its own and used to access devices. However, a number of packages are available that use it as a dependency and add additional convenience (e.g. filemanager) functionalities and compatibility with particular device types - which includes improving transfer access speeds.

These packages to choose from all implement a Filesystem in Userspace:

All of them aim at better functionality and performance over libmtp. Since there are a lot of different USB devices, you might want to research first which one looks most suitable for yours.

Warning: libmtp does not handle newer Android devices well - hanging transfers and problems with remote file system browsing are very common, poor performance is expected with most devices. Furthermore, if you have a damaged USB cable, programs utilizing libmtp may crash or hang indefinitely until you disconnect the device. It is recommended to connect your device with the USB Mass Storage (if available), or using ADB (for example adbfs-rootless-gitAUR) to transfer files, which performs better on most devices and supports additional Android-specific features (like installing APKs, managing packages on the device, backing up data or accessing the device's shell).
Tip: It is recommended to reboot your computer after installing MTP related packages.

Integration with file managers

To view the contents of your Android device's storage via MTP in your file manager, install the corresponding plugin:

  • For file managers that use GVFS (GNOME Files), install gvfs-mtp for MTP or gvfs-gphoto2 for PTP support.
  • For file managers that use KIO (KDE's Dolphin), MTP support is included in kio-extras (dependency of dolphin).

After installing the required package, the device should show up in the file manager automatically and be accessible via an URL, for example mtp://[usb:002,013]/.


It might be required to create a mount-point directory first. The directory ~/mnt is used as an example below. Also do not forget to unlock your phone's screen before connecting it to the computer.

FUSE mounts can generally be unmounted using fusermount -u mountpoint.


Run mtp-detect to detect your device.

If an error is returned, make sure your user is in the see uucp group and see troubleshooting libmtp.

You can transfer files using the mtp-connect command. Run pacman -Ql libmtp to see the other commands provided by libmtp.


Run simple-mtpfs -l to list detected devices.

To mount the first device in the list to ~/mnt, run simple-mtpfs --device 1 ~/mnt.


Mount device on ~/mnt:

$ jmtpfs ~/mnt

Make this cohere to the rest of Linux (use regular mount/umount commands) by doing two steps

$# ln -s <actual mount command's path/name>  <a name consistent with Linux's mount convention>
$  ln -s /sbin/jmtpfs                        /sbin/mount.jmtpfs

add this line to /etc/fstab;

 #jmtpfs <mount path>        fuse nodev,allow_other,<other options>                             0    0
  jmtpfs /home/sam/run/motog fuse nodev,allow_other,rw,user,noauto,noatime,uid=1000,gid=1000    0    0

Now mount the device and see if the options "took"

 $ mount /home/sam/run/motog
 Device 0 (VID=22b8 and PID=2e82) is a Motorola Moto G (ID2).
 Android device detected, assigning default bug flags
 $ mount 
  jmtpfs on /home/sam/run/motog type fuse.jmtpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime,user_id=1000,group_id=1000,allow_other,user=sam)


Note: Mounting with go-mtpfs might fail if an external SD Card is present. If you try to access your device while having an SD card and go-mtpfs complains, try removing the SD card and mounting again.

Install android-udev, which will allow you to edit /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules and apply to your idVendor and idProduct, which you can see after running mtp-detect. To the end of the line, add your user OWNER="<user>".

Mount device on ~/mnt:

$ go-mtpfs ~/mnt

To unmount the device:

$ fusermount -u ~/mnt
Note: When using multiple devices you may want to use the -d flag to specify a device (id can be found by running mtp-detect)


Note: The following is likely to not work and you might have to resort to gphoto2 or a file manager with gvfs support like PCManFM.

First edit your /etc/fuse.conf and uncomment the following line:


Mount your device on ~/mnt:

$ mtpfs -o allow_other ~/mnt

Android File Transfer

FUSE interface

Mount your device on ~/my-device:

$ mkdir ~/my-device
$ aft-mtp-mount ~/my-device

If you want album art to be displayed, it must be named and placed first in the destination folder. Then copy other files. Also, note that fuse could be 7-8 times slower than ui/cli file transfer.

Qt user interface

Start the application, choose a destination folder and click any button on the toolbar. Available options are: Upload Album, Upload Directory and Upload Files. The latter two are self-explanatory. Upload album searches the source directory for album covers, and sets the best available cover.

Media players

You can also use your MTP device in music players such as Amarok. To achieve this, you might have to edit /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules (the MTP device used in the following example is a Galaxy Nexus). Run:

$ lsusb

Search for your device. It should be something like that:

Bus 003 Device 011: ID 04e8:6860 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd GT-I9100 Phone [Galaxy S II], GT-P7500 [Galaxy Tab 10.1]

And entry to /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules will be this:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="04e8", ATTR{idProduct}=="6860", MODE="0666", OWNER="[username]"

Also reload udev rules:

# udevadm control --reload


Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with udev.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: please use the second argument of the template to provide more detailed indications. (Discuss in Talk:Media Transfer Protocol#)

The gvfs-mtp is available in the official repositories.

With lsusb you can get information about your device where Bus and Device numbers can be used with gvfs-mtp and device ID for creating of an udev rule.

Bus 002 Device 018: ID 04b7:88a9 Compal Electronics, Inc.

To see detected device with enabled MTP

Use gvfs-mount:

gvfs-mount -li | grep -e ^Volume -e activation_root
Volume(0): MT65xx Android Phone

Use lsusb:

lsusb -v 2> /dev/null | grep -e Bus -e iInterface -e bInterfaceProtocol
Bus 002 Device 018: ID 04b7:88a9 Compal Electronics, Inc. 
      bInterfaceProtocol      0 
      iInterface              5 MTP

To mount all available connected MTP devices use inline script

gvfs-mount -li | awk -F= '{if(index($2,"mtp") == 1)system("gvfs-mount "$2)}'

To mount or dismount from a command with gvfs-mtp use Bus and Device numbers, e.g. to mount gvfs-mount mtp://[usb:001,007]/ and to unmount gvfs-mount -u mtp://[usb:001,007]/. The mounted device will be available in a directory that begins with mtp:host= and is located under /run/user/$UID/gvfs/.

Disable automount of MTP devises with gvfs you will need to change value true to false for variable AutoMount that is located in /usr/share/gvfs/mounts/mtp.mount.

Note: The file managers can have own options for automount. On start they checking for all available mountable devices.

If your device isn't showing up in the file manager then the libmtp is missing a native support and is not currently available in the list of the supported devices. If you will try to mount by using command line you may also get an error

Device 0 (VID=XXXX and PID=XXXX) is UNKNOWN.
Please report this VID/PID and the device model to the libmtp development team

The workaround to make it shown in the file manager is to write an udev rule for the device but it is no guaranty that you will be able to mount it with by using MTP connection.

Use ID number that represents by pattern vendorId:productID,e.g. 04b7:88a9, and make an udev rule by creating a configuration file

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="04b7", ATTR{idProduct}=="88a9", MODE="0660", GROUP="uucp", ENV{ID_MTP_DEVICE}="1", SYMLINK+="libmtp"

Reload the udev rules.

# udevadm control --reload

The file managers with support for gvfs will be able to show MTP devices and mount them if supported by libmtp but if has no support and cannot be opened then change settings in the phone to PTP and install gvfs-gphoto2 for having access at least to the photos, command line mounting of PTP is a little similar to mounting of the MTP devices: gvfs-mount gphoto2://[usb:002,019]/.

Note: If you getting limited access to the device and cannot use standard commands from command line such as e.g. cp,ls then look for gvfs own alternatives, ls -1 /usr/bin/gvfs-*.




Input/output error upon first access

Symptoms: jmtpfs successfully mounts, but as soon as one attempts to access files on the device (e.g. via ls), an error is reported:

 cannot access <mount-point>: Input/output error

This appears to be a security feature: MTP does not work when the phone is locked by the lockscreen. Unlock the phone and it should work again as long as the cord remains connected.


If you are not able to use the action "Open with File Manager", you may work around this problem by editing the file /usr/share/apps/solid/actions/solid_mtp.desktop.

Change the line Exec=kioclient exec mtp:udi=%i/ to Exec=dolphin "mtp:/".