The Galaxy Nexus uses MTP which makes general use a bit of a pain. Luckily, Ubuntu comes with some drivers preinstalled so I can access my phones memory easily through nautilus, however Rhythmbox and Banshee don't seem to like it as much. Rhythmbox will crash when I try and sync and on Banshee I get a slew of errors. I am spoiled by the likes of DoubleTwist on Windows with which I could sync my iTunes library with wirelessly. Obviously neither iTunes nor DoubleTwist work on Ubuntu so I would like to find some alternative. Worst case scenario I can manually transfer all my music (trying to completely get rid of Windows here).

Now, I know a lot of my ID3 tags in my music library are not what I like them to be (when I first launched Rhythmbox I had to rename a lot of stuff) and I'm really OCD about all that. When I edit my song information will it edit the ID3 tag? If so then I can manage my musics ID3 tags via Rhythmbox, and then manually transfer it.

Loving Ubuntu and trying to get out of the grip Windows and OS X had on me for the longest time.

  • Hi as a Galaxy Nexus user I have the same problem. There are some other programs out there like gMTP and Clementine. They all seem to rely on a package called libMTP Since the release of 12.04 libMTP hasn't functioned as it should. Like you I am left to copying the files over by file browser and getting Rhythmbox to write the ID3 tags directly to the files. You can find work arounds for the libMTP errors that allow you to mount the nexus as a USB file system but I haven't found a solution that completely solves the problem.
    – user78558
    Jul 22, 2012 at 9:07
  • I own a nexus S and I use google music application to handle all my music operations.
    – topless
    Sep 4, 2012 at 7:40
  • Yeah, sign up for Google Music. It's free. Scans your library, uploads your tracks to your google account and makes them accessible from any of your devices. Can stream/download the songs from/to your phone using the Play Music app.
    – amanthethy
    Jul 26, 2014 at 4:01

3 Answers 3


You're right, MTP is a real pain under Linux. (Years ago) I used to update my Creative ZEN Mozaic with Gnomad2 but it was far from perfect.

My personal advice is to root your phone and install Samba Filesharing to have traditional Samba shares on your phone.

If you really don't want to root your phone, you can take a look to this thread. It seems that ASTRO File Manager plus its SMB Module can work even without root access (not tested by me, can't confirm). AirDroid could be another alternative to test.


Google the "SGS3 Easy UMS" app (Not available in the market). It makes the device read as a UMS device (Mass Storage). Make sure your Galaxy is rooted first!


I realize that this is an old question, but I found it when I was searching for a method to use for 4.4.2 KitKat, so others may as well.

The methods above worked great prior to Android KitKat 4.4.2. However, with the restriction on writing to the SD card by non-system apps, starting with KitKat, you're out of luck if you use an external SD card for your media. This is the workaround that I've come up with. It's not ideal, but it works without rooting your phone.

The workaround is basically two parts:

  1. Write your media to an external flash drive that has been configured as a Media Player. You can do this by creating an .is_audio_player file at the root of the flash drive. I've included a sample, below.

  2. Use rsync (or the graphical version, grsync (this is what I use)), to sync your media from your external flash drive to your Android, which has been mounted as an MTP device. I've included a sample rsync command line below.

Sample .is_audio_player file:

name="My Android"

Sample rsync command line:

rsync -r -v --progress --delete -u -s /media/$USER/[YOUR_FLASH_DRIVE]/Music /run/user/$USER/gvfs/[YOUR_DEVICE]/SD card/

Please note that for pre-Kit Kat Androids without mass storage (or if you write your media to the internal SD card), this same method will work by mounting your Android as an external SFTP mountpoint (i.e., by using a utility like SSHDroid) and pointing the destination directory to the SFTP mountpoint.

This is not an ideal solution. The ideal solution would be for the creators of Rhythmbox to rewrite their app to properly connect with MTP players that have been mounted by the OS. But this is an acceptable workaround - and it definitely works!

Note that this has only been tested under Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, but it uses standard Linux utilities, so it should work on earlier versions as well, as long as your player will mount via MTP and is visible by the OS.

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