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How to transfer files from Linux to iOS wirelessly

Not all Linux fans are Android users. Some use iOS because though Apple produces non-free software, they make a significant commitment to respecting user privacy. Using iOS has a lot of benefits, though, if you’re a Linux user there are also some downsides. By far one of the most significant disadvantages is that putting files on iDevices can be tedious if you don’t use iTunes. The best way to transfer files from Linux to iOS is to do it wirelessly, over a local network connection.

Set up SSH server on Linux

For iOS to be able to interact with your Linux desktop or Laptop wirelessly to transfer files, an SSH server must be set up. The reason we need to go with SSH is that unlike on Android, the Apple App Store doesn’t allow apps that can host servers (we assume because of a security issue.) Thankfully, iOS supports the SSH protocol just fine, which includes a built-in FTP server feature.

Setting up an SSH server on the Linux desktop doesn’t take much time. To do it, you’ll need to install the OpenSSH server package and mess with the configuration files. If you’re not familiar with how to set up SSH, check out my step-by-step tutorial on the subject.

When you’ve got your Linux computer successfully hosting an SSH server on the network, take out your iPhone or iPad and move on down to the next section of the guide.

Install FE File Explorer on iOS

There are a few useful applications on iOS that let users set up network connections. In my research, I’ve found that the best one to use is the FE File Explorer. Mainly because it supports a lot of features, such as connecting to LAN NAS devices, Linux computers, FTP/SFTP, Mac, Windows, and even Google Drive!

FE File Explorer has both a free and paid version of the app. In this guide, I’ll instruct you to use the free version. However, if you’d like more features (such as multiple connections), the paid version is excellent as well.

To get your hands on FE File Explorer for your iOS device, go ahead and open up the App Store and search for it with the search function. Alternatively, load this guide up on your iDevice, then click on this link here. It should automatically launch FE File Explorer’s App Store page.

Set up an SFTP connection on FE File Explorer

The SSH protocol has a built-in FTP server component that users can take advantage of to do quick file transfers over a local network, or even the internet. In our use-case, we’ll be taking advantage of it totransfer files from Linux to iOS, or vice versa.

Before sending files however, a new connection needs to be set up. To do this, open up the FE File Explorer application on your iOS device. From there, look for the “+” icon at the top left of the app and tap it.

Upon tapping the “+” icon in FE File Explorer, a “New Connection” window will appear. In this window, look for a globe icon and tap on it to go to the FTP connection setup wizard in FE File Explorer.

The “New Connection” window in the FTP section has a lot of information to fill out. To start, tap “Display Name.” In this box, fill out what the new connection should be called. After that, move down to the “Hostname/IP” box and add in the hostname or IP address.

Once you’ve set the connections hostname/IP info, move down to “Protocol” and tap it to reveal a selection menu. In the menu that appears, choose the “SFTP” option.

Click the “Save” button to save your new connection to FE File Explorer.

Connect to Linux

Now that the new connection is set up, it’s time to use it to log in to the Linux computer over the SFTP protocol. To do this, find the “connections” section of FE File Explorer and tap on the connection you made earlier.

Tapping on the SFTP profile in FE File Explorer will automatically set up an FTP connection which will show all of the files on the remote Linux computer.

Transfer files from iOS to Linux

To transfer files or folders from your iOS device to a Linux desktop or laptop, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Look to the sidebar in FE File Explorer. Tap on “Local”, “Photo Library”, or “iCloud”. After making your selection, browse for the data you want to transfer from your iDevice to the Linux computer.

Step 2: Press the “Edit” button at the top right-hand part of the app. Then, once FE File Explorer enters edit mode, select all the files and folders you want to transfer to Linux

Step 3: Choose the “Copy to” option at the bottom of the screen to bring up the “Copy Files” dialog.

Step 4: In the “Copy Files” dialog, choose the Linux FTP connection. Then, look through the list of files for “Home” and tap on it. Then, tap on the folder bearing your username.

Step 5: Tap “Save” to transfer the data from iOS to Linux.

Transfer files from Linux to iOS

To transfer files or folders from your Linux desktop or laptop to an iOS device, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: On the FE File Explorer sidebar, tap on the Linux FTP connection. Then, browse to “Home,” followed by the folder bearing your Linux PC’s username.

Step 2: Tap on the three vertical dots under the file or folder you wish to transfer to your iOD device. This will bring up an action dialog within the app.

Step 3: Select the “Copy to” option to bring up the “Copy Files” dialog.

Step 4: In the “Copy Files” dialog, select “Local” to tell FE File Explorer to place data on iOS.

Step 5: Click “Save” to start the data transfer from Linux to iOS.

1 Comment

  1. I am not able to connect to Ubuntu even after enabling the port. I get the below message

    Cannot connect to the port
    Check the service on the server is started and enable port incoming on the firewall

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