Control your Android smartphone from your desktop

Remote Control

With guiscrcpy, you can open the connection to the smartphone directly with the START SCRCPY button (Figure 2). The program should automatically detect the Android smartphone or tablet connected via a USB cable. The DEVICE LGH87094110190 IS CONNECTED field is where the application reports the mobile phone it detected. If problems occur detecting the device, run the adb devices command in a terminal window to directly check whether the system has really found the smartphone (Listing 5).

Listing 5

Checking for Attached Devices


Figure 2: All the functions of the scrcpy command-line tool can be controlled using the guiscrcpy GUI. Click START SCRCPY to initiate the connection.

Guiscrcpy transmits the content of the phone display at a bit rate of up to 16000KBps (8000KBps in the default setting, which is totally fine). As options, you can enable a full-screen mode (Fullscreen), Always on Top, and Keep display off (only screen mirroring). The latter option turns off the device's screen during transmission, but the touch screen input still works.

If you are making a video that demonstrates an Android app (or if you as a developer want to explain an app function to your users), you can record the events on the display with the Record screen option. The recording is stored as an MP4 file in the current user's home directory. The Show touches option is also available for recordings: It visualizes finger taps on the display with a circle.

To capture actions typical of Android (such as pressing the Home, Menu, or Back buttons), guiscrcpy displays horizontal and vertical toolbars (Figure 3). You can use these buttons to change the display orientation, adjust the audio playback volume, or exchange texts between the smartphone and Linux desktop via the clipboard. You can position the toolbars freely on the desktop by holding down the right mouse button.

Figure 3: An Android smartphone screen on the Linux desktop: Guiscrcpy transfers mouse and keyboard input directly to the mobile phone. The toolbars can be used to trigger additional actions, such as rotating the display.


Installing guiscrcpy, scrcpy, and Android tools is still a little more complicated than necessary, but the program comes with major benefits for Android developers in particular. With a few clicks, you can create videos of your smartphone screen, with which you can demonstrate your program's functions. The achievable data rate is so high that even videos played on a mobile phone can be played back on the desktop PC with practically no jitter (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Even videos played on the smartphone appear practically jitter-free on the Linux desktop.

Even non-programmers will find uses for guiscrcpy. Not every program offers a web interface like WhatsApp or Messages. Since guiscrcpy forwards mouse and keyboard input from the PC to the mobile phone, you can write a text message for an Android app on your desktop and forward it to your smartphone.

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