When I plug in my Cannon 50D camera with a USB cable into my laptop (running Ubuntu 19.10) and Shotwell pops up. But when I click on the 'Cannon Digital Camera' entry on the left sidebar an error message pops up that says,
"The camera is locked by another application. Please close any other application using the camera and try again."
I don't have any other applications open. Any ideas? It's not a fatal problem since I can access all the camera's photos with the file browser, but it's much for convenient to just click the little 'Import' button and have all my pics sorted by dates. Thanks.

5 Answers 5


I had the same symptoms with my Android phone, trying to import from it.

In file explorer, I could see that the device was mounted as a disk. I ejected it (unmounted, leaving it physically connected), and from there, shotwell was able to import my pics.

  • 1
    This worked for me too! One more thing, it is better not to open the folder in the file explorer prior to ejecting it. Otherwise, it can still keep shotwell out of access even though the phone seems to disconnected in the explorer.
    – dojuba
    Apr 17, 2020 at 14:00

Worked for me too iphone 4s, ubuntu 20.04, shotwell 0.8.3

  1. connected the phone
  2. unmounted the two disk «Documents sur […]» and «Iphone» from the dash
  3. opened Shotwell, clicked on my phone and imported

So for those who might need a bit more direction and detail or different wording to understand,plug in your phone. Go to your files folder, you will see on the left hand side where it says 'document's and where it says 'iphone'. Press the triangle and line that is the symbol for 'eject' on both places.

Now when you open shotwell and click on iphone it will load up a preview of all your photos and videos :)

If you have shotwell open already while you are ejecting and it's not loading it's just because 'iphone' needs to be reselected. Meaning, just click on photos or trash, then click back onto 'iphone' and it will reset and start to read your photos for preview. You'll then get to either manually select what you want to import onto your computer or you can select all.


Tested right now with Ubuntu 22.04 and a Fairphone on Android 11:

  1. Plug the phone to the computer
  2. On the phone > parameters > USB preferences, set Use the connection for to File transfer
  3. On the computer: unmount the phone
  4. Start Shotwell, the import should start.

I.e. redmi android phone switches back to "phone charging", if unmounted on comp.

There should be a "don't clame USB interface if camera connected" or some more confusing shotwell setting for us, idiot users. In command line, if possible?

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