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I am attaching my phone via usb to my ubuntu box to charge it.

Unfortunately, every few seconds a popup appears with the following error:

Unable to open MTP device '[usb:003,009]'

I don't care if ubuntu is able to open the device or not, I just want to supress the error.

How can I do this?

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    I faced same issue with my Nokia Lumia. I bought a better data cable and now it connects/charges without those mounting error. – Manish Kumar Bisht Nov 20 '17 at 16:13
  • I think the best answer combines the actual answer below with the first comment by @ManishKumarBisht ... In a nutshell, you can and should select "charge only" in your (Android) phone, but a proper cable will also avoid the error message and allow data connection as well. – user692175 Nov 20 '17 at 17:54
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If you have an Android phone you can set the preferred USB connection type: for charging or for data access. Look somewhere in the USB options (depending on Android version and flavour). For iPhones I don't know.

example for Android 6.0

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