Android Candy: Never Plug In Your Phone Again!

Last month, I showed you an awesome audiobook player app for Android, but I didn't share my frustration in getting the audio files on to my phone. When I plugged my phone in to the computer, I couldn't get the SD card to mount, no matter what settings I changed. It was very frustrating and forced me to come up with a better way. Enter: FolderSync.

First off, it's important to note that FolderSync isn't free. There is a free version, but it's limited to a single account and has ads, and although it works, it really isn't the same as the full app. If you're like me, you don't think twice about spending $5 on a fancy cup of coffee, but if you have to pay for an app on your phone, you debate internally for hours. I've never been so happy I spent $2.29 on an app.

Basically, FolderSync works on your phone sort of like Dropbox works on your desktop computer. Instead of syncing only your Dropbox files, however, FolderSync supports a wide variety of data sources. At the time of this writing, data can be synchronized with Amazon S3, Google Docs, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, SugarSync,, Ubuntu One, NetDocuments, FTP/FTPES/FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV/WebDAVs and Samba/SMB/CIFS.

Image from the FolderSync Home Page:

In my case, I keep an Audiobooks folder on a share at home, and every night the files are synced up. With the paid version, synchronizations can be forced as well. Although the Audiobook syncing is the only thing I use FolderSync for, it's the perfect tool to keep music, photos, documents or anything else synchronized on your phone without ever plugging it in to the computer. Because FolderSync supports two-way synchronization, it is possible to delete files from your home server, so be careful!

Image from the FolderSync Home Page:

After configuring FolderSync to sync my Audiobooks automatically, but only over Wi-Fi and only while plugged in, I realized it had to be Editors' Choice for this month. That means two Android apps in a row win the coveted title, but once you try it, I suspect you'll agree. Check out FolderSync at the Google Play Store:, or if you'd prefer to keep your pumpkin latte money, try out the Lite version:


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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beccon's picture

As Linuxers we can always use sftp - no need to create shares, secure and encrypted data transfer.

I have SSHDroid for incoming as well as AndFTP for outgoing connections on my phone - so I can access my files from whereever I go :-)

All these apps are free. With the SSDroid I could set up a sync mechanism using rsync on the Linux side.


connect your tablet to a PC

ROP's picture

Has no one but me used Airdroid. Airdroid is the best thing since sliced bread and it is FREE. I think this is one of the best kept secret apps around

Your phone works like Dropbox

alex brown's picture

Your phone works like Dropbox sort FolderSync on your desktop computer. Rather than just sync your Dropbox files, however, FolderSync supports a variety of data sources.


Leona's picture

I have created a SMB Share on my Linux PC and used Astro to connect to it on my phone, seems to work well, oh and its free :)

Another for AirDroid

Chrisj's picture

I can't get my tablet to connect to my laptop running Debian. However I use AirDroid with almost no problem. The only problem I had, was when I dropped wireless, and had to start over. Didn't know that half the files had already transferred. Overall not a big issue.

Check out AirDroid

Lambchopper's picture

AirDroid creates a mini Webserver on your phone, then you connect your device to Wi-Fi and go to it via a web browser using the key it provides. Not only does it give you file management capabilies in the web browser, you can do the following to:

Check storage space
View the devices Connection strength
manage device photos
manage device calendar and contacts
send SMS text messages

And the price is right, it's free!


Anonymous's picture

I use Foldersync free version to backup videos, pictures from my phone to my linux server via sftp. Works Great! Great app everyone should have.

Its likely a kernel issue

Anonymous's picture

There are certain options you need to have configured in your kernel in order to mount the external SD card and the internal storage on some phones (my Samsung Galaxy S2 required this).

I documented this here

The key option is to enable multi-LUN support as the two storage devices are on different LUNs of the same SCSI device (USB devices are really spoofed as SCSI devices, see here)

Device-drivers --->
SCSI device support --->

Hope that helps someone as its actually really handy being able to plug a phone in via USB.

Why would I want to sync to cloud space provider?

Anonymous's picture

I mean, if I had trouble mounting my Android phone as an USB mass storage device I could just use Google Drive directly. I can see the appeal if I want to sync to a private server but, frankly, data I don't want in the cloud I don't want on a mobile phone.

wireless connection

Anonymous's picture

I use the free version of foldersync to keep one file sync'ed and it does work well. However, I find that putting files onto my phone or downloading them from the phone to the computer is best done using an app called WiFi File Explorer by dooblou. It is a free app. On my phone I turn it on and it gives me an ip address that I enter in my browser on my desktop. This gives me a file browser that I can use to wander through the files on my sd card and I see everything on my desktop with the larger screen and easier to use keyboard.

Just My Opinion,