GSConnect v15 Released With Rewritten Gnome Shell UI, Option To Send Keyboard Events From Desktop To Android

GSConnect, the Gnome extension which integrates Android devices with your Gnome desktop, was updated to version 15 recently, which includes a rewritten Gnome Shell UI, a new feature which allows sending keyboard events from the Gnome desktop to Android devices, along with some other improvements.

The update is currently awaiting approval to be pushed to the Gnome Shell Extensions website. Update: GSConnect v15 was is now available on the Gnome Shell Extensions website.

GSConnect v15 user menu

GSConnect v15 includes a rewritten Gnome Shell user interface "to better conform to design guidelines". By default (when the Display Mode is set to User Menu in the GSConnect settings), the extension no longer uses icons for actions such as sending files, locating the device, and so on, and instead a regular menu is used.

The latest v15 release also ships with a new feature which allows sending keyboard events from the desktop to Android devices.

This feature requires installing Caribou (gir1.2-caribou-1.0 package in Debian / Ubuntu; see all the optional dependencies here) for special characters, and setting a shortcut for the Keyboard item in the Keyboard Shortcuts GSConnect options, then using that key to launch a dialog where you can type on your phone from your desktop:

GSConnect keyboard

It's important to note that for this feature to work, you'll need to activate the KDE Connect Remote Keyboard in your Android phone settings, then switch to the KDE Connect Remote Keyboard when selecting a text input field, and finally start typing on the desktop, in the Keyboard window.

If you don't enable KDE Connect Remote Keyboard on your Android device, and also enable it for the current input field, you'll see a "Keyboard not ready" banner on the Keyboard window on your desktop:

GSConnect keyboard not ready

Other improvements and bug fixes GSConnect v15 include:

  • Most windows should save their size/location
  • Respect desktop settings for window placement
  • Fix legacy SMS receiving
  • Fix visibility of plugin settings when enabling/disabling plugins
  • Fix local battery stats switch not usable
  • Fix extension freezeing desktop in some cases
  • Improvements to PackageKit support, especially for Fedora

The release notes also mention that there's a bug in Fedora 29 packaging that affects some Nautilus users, which may be triggered by GSConnect (although not caused by it). See this for more information.

Install GSConnect

Update: GSConnect v15 is now available on the Gnome Shell Extensions website, so you can easily install it from there.

After installing the extension (or updating from an older release), logout, then login to restart the session (using Alt + F2, then entering r wasn't enough to update from v13 to v15 in my case).

You'll also probably want to install some optional dependencies. Without these, some GSConnect features will not work.