Since I updated from Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) to Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin), I am unable to access the device connected in /ttyUSB0 if I don't have root access.

To be more specific, I use a USB-to-serial com port converter to access and configure Cisco equipment with software called PuTTY. It happens that, since I upgraded to 12.04, PuTTY only sees the connected device when I run it as gksudo putty. If not, it says "unable to connect to port /ttyUSB0".

I have managed to change the permissions via chmod 666, and it works, but if I disconnect the USB device and reconnect, it goes back to root only. How do I permanently allow non-root access? I have a clue it might be via udev rules, but I have no idea how to do it.

Obs.: Manufacturer and drivers are "PROLIFIC"


10 Answers 10


The device is most likely attached to user group dialout. Just add your user to the dialout group so you have appropriate permissions on the device.

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER

(You may need to logout and back in for the new group to take effect.)

No need to mess around with permissions or udev rules.

  • 2
    no success... still no acces to ttyUSB0 without root... any other ideas???
    – yurividal
    May 11, 2012 at 16:16
  • 1
    @tom-hennen I guess you should add it first as a comment rather than edit it directly.
    – MadMike
    Oct 29, 2014 at 13:33
  • 3
    This doesn't work for Debian
    – Mike
    May 16, 2015 at 16:51
  • 2
    Kudos for including "may need to logout and back in". Jul 26, 2018 at 13:57
  • 3
    In Ubuntu (I'm on 18.04), logout/login doesn't work. we have to reboot after doing usermod. Mar 2, 2019 at 6:42
sudo adduser <the user you want to add> dialout
sudo reboot

Mentioned by "Try now" worked for me. Check that You have dialout as group for ttyUSB0:

ls -l /dev/ttyUSB0

in my case the output is:

crw-rw---T 1 root dialout 188, 0 Feb 12 12:01 /dev/ttyUSB0
  • in Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon I get this error when calling ' ls -l /dev/ttyUSB0 ' ls: cannot access '/dev/ttyUSB0': No such file or directory Dec 8, 2016 at 22:56

It's possible this is related to modemmanager, as detailed here.

I removed that (sudo apt-get remove modemmanager) and it fixed my problem.

You still need to be in the dialout group though.

  • 2
    What if I can't remove modemmanager? I have a friend that has a 3G modem, and it seems he can't remove modemmanager because of that. How can he access /ttyUSB0 on 12.04 without root, but without removing modemmanager? Jul 19, 2013 at 12:22
  • You can try by stopping it? sudo stop modemmanager It worked for me.
    – Aleks
    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:19
  • Been a few years, but this is still the case in Ubuntu 17.10. Had to do a sudo apt-get purge modemmanager before sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER had the desired effect.
    – Stéphane
    Nov 6, 2017 at 3:29
  • 2
    Please note: being in dialout group is sufficient if you do not use modemmanager in any way. The modemmanager removal is very case-specific to OPs situation, and is not a requirement every time. Dec 15, 2019 at 1:44
  • Thank you bro. That solved my problem. I got access denied fron non-root user while the permission of /dev/ttyUSB0 was 777 !
    – SuB
    Aug 1, 2021 at 7:29

As reported by Rinzwind, start by typing:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER

But that is only part of the solution, as then you must reboot the system:

sudo reboot
  • 7
    1) Please don't post comments as answers. 2) No need to reboot; just log out and log back in.
    – gertvdijk
    Sep 11, 2014 at 12:07
  • 2
    I had to reboot to get this to work. A Logoff didn't propagate the change. Jun 3, 2019 at 20:19

This worked for me. Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command below.

sudo adduser <the user you want to add> dialout
sudo reboot
id -Gn

Try now.


I tried both

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER #(worked perfectly)

And sudo chmod 666 /dev/ttyUSB0 (worked but had to type the command again)

I also removed the mode manager but did not really help. Therefore, the best command that worked for me was

sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER

On Ubuntu 18.04 I had to add myself to the tty group.

I got hinted by the minicom command output:

minicom  /dev/ttyUSB0
minicom: cannot open /dev/tty8: Permission denied

ls -la /dev/tty8
crw--w---- 1 root tty 4, 8 juil. 31 08:27 /dev/tty
  • @PeterMortensen Because in this particular situation minicom application also opens /dev/tty8 which is handled by entirely different group than dialout. Issue isn't directly related to /dev/ttyUSB0 in this particular scenario and adding to dialout group won't fix the problem. But it does prevent one from using /dev/ttyUSB0 , hence it is one of the possible answers to the question Dec 15, 2019 at 1:47
  • Checking the group associated to /dev/ttyUSB0 (group uucp on Arch Linux) and adding my user to that group was the solution for me. Thanks.
    – Paolo M
    Jul 1, 2020 at 8:22

I had this problem with /dev/ttyS0 in Mint Rosa. Adding the user to the dialout group is required but in my case the device access was restricted and I had to expand it to give r/w access to group level also.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! I recommend editing this answer to expand it with specific details about how to do this. (See also How do I write a good answer? for general advice about what sorts of answers are considered most valuable on Ask Ubuntu.) Sep 4, 2016 at 18:42

On Ubuntu 18.04:

  1. sudo adduser <user> dialout
  2. Full reboot, for some reason mere logout/login is not sufficient (bug report.).

navigate to /etc/ folder and edit the group file add your username like this dialout:x:20:USER

worked perfect for me :)

  • 5
    It is generally considered bad practice to edit these files directly as some simple mistakes can cause loss of access.
    – flickerfly
    Apr 10, 2015 at 20:49

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