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KDE Connect Now Available on iOS

403 points19 hoursapps.apple.com
heavyset_go17 hours ago

KDE Connect is one of those unsung features that really should be front and center in Plasma's marketing, and elsewhere, since it is available on more than just Plasma Desktop.

sph8 hours ago

KDE Connect has the problem of having KDE in the front of its name, which really limits its adoption. I'm deep in the Linux world and I only recently found out this app exists, works on GNOME and works on anything which ain't a KDE phone - I don't even know if it's a thing.

KDE developers really like their brand name, or at least putting a K in front of their name.

WastingMyTime895 hours ago

KDE Connect really is a gem. It allows between a Linux desktop and both Android and Iphone a level of integration which you could only have sticking inside the Apple ecosystem or using both a Huawei phone and laptop.

With a bit more polish from a UX point of view regarding desktop integration and better branding it should be a killer feature.

dpacmittal7 hours ago

Should've named it konnect

M0r13n6 hours ago

That is actually a brilliant idea!

jeroenhd18 hours ago

I recommend this to all iOS users that are also on Linux (or run KDE Connect on Windows) because KDE Connect is an awesome piece of software.

I do find it interesting that they've published a GPLv3 application in Apple's App Store, though. I recall the App Store and GPLv3 not going together well, though I must admit that I never cared enough to read into the details.

dustyharddrive16 hours ago

They acknowledge the GPL conflict in the license file (https://github.com/KDE/kdeconnect-ios/blob/master/License.md):

> … we have committed not to pursue any license violation that results solely from the conflict between the GNU GPLv3 and the Apple App Store terms of service, including the FOSS-specific policies as outlined in sections 3.3.22, 5.1, and 9.1

geofft15 hours ago

Looks like it is based on the Mosh waiver https://github.com/mobile-shell/mosh/blob/master/COPYING.iOS, which went in about ten years ago. Blink Shell (which is of course also GPL'd) uses the Mosh code and is available on the App Store.

flatiron17 hours ago

Apple itself when I worked there was strict on having no gpl3. But everything on the inside is Linux. They even have their own version of arch (and Java and spring boot which is what I did)

jbhouse16 hours ago

why would they create their own version of spring boot? so they have more code to maintain and it takes longer for new devs to get ramped up?

flatiron16 hours ago

It’s really just the same. The name is escaping me. It basically rips out the parts they didn’t want people to use, configures it how apple wants, and is pulled from the repositories. Just like Java it’s the same shit with some patches. It’s not a true fork.

pabs316 hours ago

Why are Apple using Linux instead of macOS?

stormbrew16 hours ago

Darwin is incredibly poorly optimized for server workloads, and it would require a lot of developer resources in the wrong part of Apple. OS dev is all on the 'product' side, under Craig, the part that ships hardware -- Services, under Eddie, are where the server workloads are needed and the two orgs' reporting chains meet at Tim. This is also why Swift on Linux is kind of a (well-intentioned) afterthought that no one is really using on the server side even at Apple, since devtools is also under product.

Server workloads are almost universally run on RHEL of some variety, presumably because (as sibling post mentions) of long term support contracts.

+1
pabs312 hours ago
gh02t16 hours ago

Apple gave up on the serious server market ages ago, especially the enterprise market. What else other than Linux are they gonna use? Windows?

Maybe BSD would fit better with their lineage, but Linux has far better enterprise vendor support.

+2
KerrAvon14 hours ago
flatiron16 hours ago

So they can use servers? And those people who write that software for those servers can test.

You think iCloud is off Mac minis?

+3
pabs315 hours ago
oefrha16 hours ago

Well, in the old days Apple did use some Xserves.

heavyset_go14 hours ago

Lack of native Linux-like containers would be a big one, in the age of container orchestration and clusters.

+2
yjftsjthsd-h12 hours ago
heavyset_go17 hours ago

> I do find it interesting that they've published a GPLv3 application in Apple's App Store, though. I recall the App Store and GPLv3 not going together well, though I must admit that I never cared enough to read into the details.

If they're dual licensing it, it would make sense. GPLv3 has stipulations that Apple's App Store platform refuses to meet, making it otherwise incompatible with the license.

saagarjha15 hours ago

It's more that the GPL and the default App Store licensing are incompatible, because Apple essentially asks you to follow the usual DRM and not copy the app.

dhruvmittal16 hours ago

Reminder that the KDE Connect app also works with the Gnome Shell version GSConnect https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1319/gsconnect/

jonathannerat15 hours ago

Also reminder that it works with mconnect [1], an implementation in vala.

I'm linking a fork since the original repo hasn't seen any recent commits (at least in master, looks like the owner has been trying to rewrite it first in Rust and now in Go)

1: https://github.com/grimpy/mconnect

lordofgibbons12 hours ago

I can't find the extension on the gnome extensions website. Getting a 404 when following the readme link: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1272/mconnect/

rascul17 hours ago

I don't have much use for KDE Connect currently but I've used it in the past. It can be quite handy. It was very useful for replying to text messages when my phone wasn't around, for example.

I do like to see KDE software propagating outside of the KDE world (KHTML is a great example of that).

hsbauauvhabzb17 hours ago

I don’t see this function in the App Store app, I’d love to use my phone remotely, is this possible without a mac device?

zxspectrum198217 hours ago

There is also KDE Connect for Android, if that's your question: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kde.kdecon...

username19017 hours ago

Unfortunately this isn't allowed on iOS - Dell Mobile Connect is the only app I know of which has this functionality, and they access Messages via a Bluetooth connection between the computer and the iPhone.

pzmarzly4 hours ago

I implemented a daemon for reading notifications (including SMS) on Linux https://github.com/pzmarzly/ancs4linux

Adding support for sending SMS shouldn't be hard, but I don't have time recently to work on that. https://github.com/pzmarzly/ancs4linux/issues/10

flatiron17 hours ago

Allowing apps to read your texts is a can of worms apple isn’t willing to open.

hsbauauvhabzb16 hours ago

Unless you own a Mac…

+2
generalpf15 hours ago
bluedays16 hours ago

I get similar functionality from Google Voice

whalesalad3 hours ago

I repurposed a 2015-ish Macbook Pro as a "year of the linux desktop" dogfooding machine. I am running EndeavourOS (Arch under the hood) and it has honestly been an incredible experience. KDE has come SO FAR from the old days! (to put things in perspective when I first started using KDE, the Linux kernel was on version 2.4)

Really the only thing I miss is iMessage and all of the other "quality of life" things you get in the Apple ecosystem. Definitely going to start using KDE Connect now that I can run it on my iPhone. What a time to be alive!

rlopezcc15 hours ago

I use KDE Connect every day. I use it to control the volume and screen brightness of my laptop when it's out of reach and many other things.

The mouse cursor functionality is great and works flawlessly.

anyfoo17 hours ago

I hope this supports Shortcuts, that would make it even more awesome.

I have Shortcuts on my iPhone that issue commands over ssh and perform HTTP uploads and requests (works out of the box on both iOS and macOS), but if I could send e.g. results to a non-Airdrop desktop or would be even better.

nozzlegear17 hours ago

Just curious, can you give some examples of what you do with those shortcuts? I just purchased my first Mac and I’ve been looking for shortcut/automation ideas.

kdecomnect9 hours ago

I’m interested in what they’re talking about as well (non kde) sounds cool as heck

konart9 hours ago

Shortcuts are not yet implemented but on the list

xattt15 hours ago

The killer feature would be message integration, but their own Features page in the app says it’s unlikely.

Dell had a mobile connect app that’s artificially limited to Dell machines on Windows that somehow is able to accomplish this feat.

rahimnathwani14 hours ago

"somehow is able to accomplish this feat"

Via Bluetooth.

criddell2 hours ago

So, in theory, KDE Connect could do it as well? I wonder if it could be an AirDrop peer?

capableweb5 hours ago

Seemed great, until I installed it and tried to use it. Apparently, you need to keep the app in the foreground to work, making it relatively useless for now.

Looking forward to it getting a proper MVP/beta release in the future :)

burstmode4 hours ago

Is it possible to use this without a phone, just connecting 2 PCs ?

_Microft4 hours ago
diffeomorphism3 hours ago

Yes, any 2 devices, e.g. also 2 phones.

CommanderData8 hours ago

Intel had a similar keyboard/mouse app. The experience was seemless and elegant but it was scrapped.

I've tried KDE connect but it does not compare, and is often a little buggy.

pmontra8 hours ago

I don't know if that Intel software was only about keyboard and mouse but KDEConnect does much more than that. I'm using it with my GNOME laptop and my Android phones and tablet to send files from one device to another one, open browser tabs usually from phone to desktop and occasionally to ring my phone from the desktop when I don't find it. Keyboard and mouse, almost never.

Edit: it also mutes the audio of the laptop when I make or receive a call on the phone.

chupasaurus4 hours ago

Probably because KDE Connect was made originally on top of KIO [0] library, which wasn't designed for real time data exchange.

[0] https://community.kde.org/KIO

savant_penguin15 hours ago

Does it/will it support Bluetooth?

As is usually happens, the places I generally need kde connect are the ones with the worst internet connectivity

_Algernon_8 hours ago

Does it not work with a ad hoc wireless network? That seems perfect for situations without a wireless router.

jraph4 hours ago

Yes it does, I've done it in trains. Either by sharing the computer's wifi to the phone or the phone's wifi to the computer. It also works with when sharing the phone's connection via USB.

heavyset_go14 hours ago

Pretty sure it's IP based, but I haven't really looked.

nyanpasu6413 hours ago

KDE Connect is LAN/WLAN-based only. I have good experiences (no connection issues that I remember) using it between KDE and Android, and some trouble between Android phones, but last time I tried it would crash on Windows when I slept the computer.

diffeomorphism10 hours ago

IIRC there is a bluetooth build for Android since a few years ago. Too buggy/beta though.

jraph12 hours ago

It should work if you manage to share a network connection through Bluetooth between the devices.

starik3618 hours ago

Very nicely done. I can see that it's the first version and there are some discoverability issues. But the functionality is great!

My wish list would be to add the app to the Share sheet when sharing a photo. And on the other side (Windows in my case), it would be nice to have an indicator that the file has arrived.

sudhirkhanger8 hours ago

It seems when transferring pictures they are converted to jpeg/jpg and not as heif.

sph8 hours ago

When I tried the alpha version I remember they were transferred as HEIF files. Perhaps they've changed it recently, but AFAIR there's a setting somewhere on iOS to change the image format. Do you have it set to JPEG somehow?

johnwalkr6 hours ago

I made a shortcut for this, to convert to jpeg then send by airdrop.

lordofgibbons12 hours ago

This is super cool! I can't believe I haven't run into KDE Connect even after years of using Linux desktop

zikohh17 hours ago

Had used it on Windows. The functionality is good. Quite buggy though.

mmerickel8 hours ago

Is there anything like this on iOS for controlling macOS?

konart8 hours ago

Yes, Universal Control https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212757 (+ Universal Clipboard)

mmerickel8 hours ago

That's for using macOS input devices to control iPadOS. I was interested in using something on my phone to control my mac. From what I can tell "Switch Control" is probably it, but it looks pretty tricky to setup so far!

jbhouse16 hours ago

this is incredible, I'm so glad to hear it

captn3m015 hours ago

Looking for more apps designed for the Linux/iOS crowd. Firefox for eg syncs stuff well. Maybe BitWarden?

Karsteski14 hours ago

Damn never knew about this KDE Connect, seems very useful. Definitely gonna give it a try now

smegsicle11 hours ago

would be cool if it could emulate a joypad

konart9 hours ago

At the very least you can control your desktop cursor with your finger.

nabla917 hours ago

I have been using it few days. Promising but not there yet.

It loses connection after short time, don't get it back, makes it unusable after while. You can move only few images/files at the time or it hangs. Had some discoverability issues.

It has many cool features, but it's still alpha quality.

heavyset_go14 hours ago

I found it to be stable on rolling release distributions. I had issues with it on Ubuntu.

sithadmin17 hours ago

Those are the same issues that seem to plague the Android version.

BenjiWiebe15 hours ago

I've had issues like that too, but somehow at some point I seem to have everything working correctly for many months now.

Android <-> KDE though, so best case scenario.

Shared clipboard is the nicest feature for me.

eliaspro7 hours ago

Which only works in recent Android versions if you root your device and use hacks to give KDE Connect access to the clipboard.

soheil17 hours ago

> Remote presentation remote: control a laser pointer on the screen of your computer by moving your phone around.

How does it detect the phone movement and its relative position?

makeworld17 hours ago

I've used this feature. When you click the pointer button, the "laser pointer" overlay appears in the middle of your screen. When you rotate your phone, it moves on the screen, presumably detecting using the gyroscope. So the way it works is by assuming you are pointing at the center of the screen when you first click (and then hold) the pointer button. It's not a bad assumption, it my experience it works pretty well.

meibo17 hours ago

This is also how Nintendo Switch games "emulate" the Wiimote cursor in Wii ports. It's quite functional, even though you have to end up resetting the position of the cursor every 10 minutes or so.

bogwog14 hours ago

A lot of modern TV remotes have this exact feature too, including stock remotes that come with some LG TVs, and a bunch of cheap third party ones.

soheil17 hours ago

Very clever

bfung11 hours ago

Not intending to be dismissive, but what’s the use case of KDE Connect for iOS (and indirectly Apple users)?

On one hand, as an iOS user and also owning iPads and MacBooks, I already get all the notifications across all my devices.

I do also use Ubuntu (rarely) hooked up to my tv as a “cheap” media player.

Reading the KDE Connect descriptions, they all describe ways user can connect this and that and get notifications… but still a bit unclear of the value prop.

Could I now, install KDE Connect, and control my MATE/Gnome desktop, w/o converting it all to KDE? (Yeah, I know I can install packages and pick the desktop env… just asking what’s the value prop of and tell me a story of what I can do with this that I couldn’t before)

konart9 hours ago

>Could I now, install KDE Connect, and control my MATE/Gnome desktop, w/o converting it all to KDE?

Yes, yo just need to install Gnome extension https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1319/gsconnect/ It uses the same protocol. You don't need KDE on your desktop.

As for the "why" part: suppose you have both a macbook and a fedora desktop you want your phone (or an iPad) "integrated" with fedora just as well as with macOS? Here you go.

bfung7 hours ago

Thx, last paragraph is the best explanation!

The website (https://userbase.kde.org/KDEConnect#What_is_KDE_Connect.3F) nor App Store description gave such a clear, 1 sentence description as you just did.

If the project and other people here couldn’t explain it, how does this project have an audience beyond the already tech literate?

konart6 hours ago

>how does this project have an audience beyond the already tech literate?

linuxmasterrace...

aendruk11 hours ago

> owning iPads and MacBooks, I already get

Then it sounds like this isn’t for you. For those of us using Linux, it’s a precious sliver of interoperability.

diffeomorphism11 hours ago

First off, it is called kdeconnect, not plasmaconnect. Works just fine with any desktop environment.

> I already get notification on all my devices.

Really, you get iPhone notifications on your linux laptop? You can just drag and drop files between your devices? Get Mediaplayer controls for your PC on your phone? Chat notifications and replies?.....

Inb4: No, but between my mac and iPhone.

Yeah, were do you think apple copied these features from?

theamk15 hours ago

This looks great!

It is unfortunate that it is KDE based though.. I think having it be DM agnostic would give it more users and contributors.

(I haven't checked, but I assume that even if it can be started with other DMs, it will still require most of KDE's daemons, effectively forcing users to run two DMs at once)

seltzered_14 hours ago

KDE connect, from my understanding, is almost more of a protocol than needing the KDE Desktop manager. I've actually never used KDE Connect on a desktop yet use GSConnect on gnome, Soduto (https://soduto.com/) on mac, etc.

diffeomorphism10 hours ago

KDE!= plasma. It works just fine on any DE and even windows. Additionally there are reimplemtations like gsconnect,...

> I haven't checked, but I assume....

You assume incorrectly.

IceWreck10 hours ago

Other applications can implement KDE Connect's desktop API so that they all work with KDE Connect's app. Eg: Gnome's GSConnect

jcelerier9 hours ago

I use it with i3 and don't have a particular amount of KDE daemons running

shirro14 hours ago

GSConnect runs under Gnome and doesn't load any kde components. There are probably other implementations as well.