In the relatively limited number of years that I have been enthusiastically and intensively working with Linux and kept a close eye on everything related to this platform, I saw some Linux distributions rapidly growing into more and more user-friendly platform that move towards operating system that in my opinion should undoubtedly appeal to regular non tech savvy users who just want to do regular stuff on their computer or be creative on their computer without going through technical hurdles. In the first years I mainly used Linux Mint, a beautiful Linux distribution for both beginners and advanced users. But as a blogger I want to support a broad target group of starting Linux users, so I also look at other Linux distributions that I think could be very suitable for beginning and non techy users. One of those distributions, which I now also use as my primary platform, is Zorin OS 15.3. Zorin OS is a beautiful and very accessible and friendly operating system and offers a lot of functionality directly out of the box, which in other distributions often has to be installed or adjusted afterwards. One of these functionalities is the connection between your Zorin OS computer and your Android phone, which is supported in an impressive way through Zorin Connect. In this blog I will explain How to Connect your Android phone to Zorin OS with Zorin Connect.
About the free Zorin OS tutorial series
Through a number of short Zorin OS beginner tutorials, I want to offer a simple starters guide for those who have never done anything with Linux in general or Zorin OS specifically and do not know exactly where to start and where to find the necessary information. In an accessible way it guides you through among others the principles of Linux, finding and downloading a Linux distribution, creating a live medium, finding software, up to the installation of software and executing updates. This article is part of my Zorin OS tutorial series. You can find an overview of the complete tutorial series via the link below:
Note: Linux version used in this article: Zorin OS 15.3 Core
What is Zorin Connect
Zorin Connect is a software solution that provides convenient and intelligent functionality to integrate your Android mobile phone and your Linux Zorin OS based pc or laptop. Zorin Connect is designed and created and in active development by the team behind the Zorin OS Linux distribution and is based on GSConnect and KDE Connect. Zorin Connect is a software solution that makes wireless communication possible between your Zorin OS device and your Android mobile phone, as long as your computer is connected to your network and your Android phone is connected to the same network via WiFi. If this setup has been arranged and the software has been installed and configured on all devices involved, you will have a great experience.
With Zorin Connect it is possible to receive the notifications that normally appear on your phone on your desktop as well. So when there is a WhatsApp or Telegram messages coming in, a pop up will also be visible on your desktop, that you even can react to or remove without touching your phone. But you also can browse the photos on your phone, share both files and links between your devices, get notifications for incoming phone calls and SMS messages on your computer and you can even use your Android phone as a remote control to control some software on your computer. And that’s not all. You can see the battery status of your phone on your desktop, you can browse the file system remotely, launch the camera app to take and transfer images, find your Android Phone via your computer, send SMS messages from your desktop, use your Android device for changing slides in a presentation or the pages in your LibreOffice document, it provides a remote control function for your media player and you can use your phone as a touchpad or keyboard. That’s all pretty great in my humble opinion.
To follow the following steps please note you will need to have Zorin OS 15 installed on your computer.
How to download and install Zorin Connect
Zorin Connect needs to be installed and configured on all devices involved. So let’s start with your Android device.
1) On your Android phone go to Google Play and search for Zorin Connect or just click on the following button:
2) Install Zorin Connect on your phone.
That’s it for now for your mobile…but for the desktop as well. Zorin Connect is already been integrated in the Zorin OS operating system, so no separate installation is required. Really great!
How to initially setup Zorin Connect
1) First start the Zorin Connect app on your mobile phone.
2) Now go to your computer. In your Zorin OS installation on your desktop or laptop search in your applications for Zorin Connect.
3) Start Zorin Connect.
The next pop up appears on your screen.
4) Click on Next.
The following screen appears.
In my case Zorin Connect sees my Motorola phone, as the app was already started in step 1.
5) Click on your device under Devices.
The following screen appears.
6) Click on Pair.
7) On your mobile phone click on Accept.
Now the connection is active and can we have a look at the different settings.
How to use the Zorin OS Connect application
First have a look at the Zorin OS Connect application.
The Zorin OS Connect application offers different screens: Sharing, Commands, Notifications, Telephony, Keyboard Shortcuts and Advanced.
In the Sharing screen we can clipboard sync to a device or from a device. Further we can enable the sharing of media players, mouse, keyboard and volume control.
In the Commands screen we have the option to add specialized dedicated command line options.
In the Notifications screen we can enable the option to share notifications. When enabled you can individually activate or disable notification sharing for applications installed on your desktop computer.
Under Telephony you can setup the volume and the option to pause for incoming calls. And you can set the options for volume, pause and microphone for ongoing calls.
Under Keyboard Shortcuts we can enable and set our own preferred keyboard shortcuts for functions like messaging, mounting, photo and share.
In the Advanced section we can activate or deactivate the different plugins, set experimental legacy SMS support and you can unpair and remove all settings and files for the connected device.
How to use the Android Zorin Connect application
1) Open the Zorin Connect app on your mobile phone.
2) Tap the hamburger menu icon (3 lines) to be able to open the settings.
3) Select Settings.
Here you can change the device name, switch between light and dark mode and change settings for persistent notification. In the settings for persistent notification you have options to allow notification dot, make a distinction in importance (urgent = make sound and pop on screen, high = make sound, medium = no sound and low = no sound or visual interruption), the sound type, vibrate on or off, settings for your lock screen and override do not disturb.
4) Now go back to the Zorin Connect Devices screen.
5) Tap the hamburger menu icon (3 lines) again.
6) Tap the name of your Zorin OS computer.
The following screen will be visible.
Here you have the options to send files, use your phone as a remote for your presentation, control your multimedia, run commands and use your mobile screen as a navigation pad to move the mouse cursor, emulate click, right and middle buttons, scroll and drag and drop. In this screen you also see some plugins that need some permissions. Click on them to change the permissions.
In the right top corner you see a menu with 3 dots.
7) Tap the 3 dots.
A pop up shows again extra options.
Here you can ring on your desktop or laptop, send a ping, go to the plugin settings, show encryption info and unpair your device.
First of all I think Zorin Connect offers great functionalities and integrates the desktop into the modern mobile world. And the fact that at the side of Zorin OS the necessary software is already integrated from the moment of installation, is another plus to choose for this great distribution. Zorin OS is modern, clean, stable and offers the right balance of looks and functionalities from both a beginner and advanced user perspective. And Zorin Connect makes this user experience even better by showing all kinds of messages based on your mobile apps and the possibility to react to them without touching your phone. You can browse the photos on your phone, share files, get notifications for incoming phone calls and SMS messages and use your Android device as a remote to go to the next slide in a presentation. Zorin Connect is in my opinion a very mature connectivity solution.