How to get BitPim to detect your cellphone in Ubuntu Linux

31 08 2008

I have always used bitpim in windows, because for some reason I could never get it to detect my phone in Ubuntu Linux, the program would run fine, it would just ‘fail’ to detect the phone. I recently found a way to get bitpim to detect my phone (a Verizon Wireless LG VX8350 ) in Ubuntu.

What you need:

  • Ubuntu
  • Your cellphone
  • A usb cable that connects your cellphone to a computer.
  • double check that your phone is supported, check this site, under the dropdown ‘phones’ for more info:

First off, install bitpim. It is in the ubuntu repos, but the version was so old (version 1.02 vs 1.06) that it didn’t even have my phone model. So i went to:

and downloaded the Linux DEB. Simply double click it to bring up GDebi, which will install the dependencies and then install bitpim.

The bad thing about the BitPim deb is that it doesn’t create an icon for our menu. However, the command is simply bitpim, so we can create a menu entry.

First off, download the BitPim Icon here:

the BitPim Icon

the BitPim Icon

and save it to your desktop. Then, open up the terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal ) and then type

cd ~/Desktop
sudo cp bitpim.png /usr/share/pixmaps/

and enter your password.

This will copy the picture file into a folder that is used mostly for icons.

Now, go to System > Preferences > Main Menu. Click on “Accessories” and then on the right, click on the button that says “New Item”

In the box that pops up, put “BitPim” under Name, put “bitpim” for the Command, and under description, i just put “A program that interfaces with your cellphone.” Now for the picture, click on the spring icon, and it will open up a file chooser dialog. If its not already there, type


in teh address bar above the icons and press enter. Then scroll down until you find ‘bitpim.png’ and select it, and double click it to select it.

Now it should take you back to the launcher creation dialog, just press “OK” and the menu entry will be created. You can click “close” to close the main menu dialog.

Now, we need to install a program to make it so Ubuntu detects and sets correct permissions to your cellphone when you plug it in.

Download this file to your desktop:

When it is finished downloading, right click the file, and select “extract here”.

now, if you closed the terminal, time to open it back up again (Applicatons > accessories > terminal). Type:

cd ~/Desktop
cd Mobile-Phones-on-Linux
chmod +x

Now, it will ask you some questions in the terminal before it installs. after entering your sudo password, it will ask you what kind of installation to do. you need to type in “1” and hit enter, just so it installs hotplugging for your cellphone, as we already have the latest version of BitPim installed.

Then, after that, it will ask you what kind of phone do you have. I have a LG phone so i selected “1” for LG. select the correct brand of your phone, type in the number and hit enter. If your brand is not listed, then just type in “5” for OEM USB and hit enter, and it will install the files.

It prompts you to restart your computer before the changes can take effect, so we will do that now.

After your computer has restarted, now your phone should be detected. Plug in your phone, and start BitPim. (Using the menu entry we just created, Applications > Accessories > Bitpim ) Once it has started up,  click the Icon of the silver cellphone on the right hand side with the magnifing glass to start the detection process. If all goes well, it should detect your cellphone and ask you to name it. if it does, then congratulatons! everything worked. If it didn’t work, you might want to check the helpfile or the bitpim wiki ( for help and to see if your phone is supported

I hope this helps!




18 responses

9 09 2008

Thank you so much for making this guide! I originally installed the bitpim deb and everything, but my phone wouldn’t get detected. Did a few minutes of searching and to my luck, found this page! I appreciate it a alot :))

9 09 2008

glad i could help =)

12 09 2008

OMG THANK YOU. I have the same phone as you and have been trying in vain to get it to work with BitPim in Linux for almost a year now. Custom ringers for my phone; now one less reason to have to use Vista. Officially geeked over here.

13 09 2008

glad i could help, having custom ringers is fun isnt it =)

20 11 2008

Thanks so much for this walk-thru. I was becoming frustrated in my attempt to install Bitpim on my Ubuntu box (my experimental setup). Looks like you’ve covered all the bases; I look forward to setting this up tonight!

12 12 2008

Hey man
thnx so much for this tutorial it is one of the best i’ve ever seen you go into such good detail and best of all it worked 🙂 thnx

9 03 2009

im new to using linux i followed the insturtions to the t and i have the application icon but it tells me no valid dir if u could give me a hand it be well appreciated thanx

24 03 2009

Wow, this is one of the clearest tutorials I’ve ever seen! Thanks!

24 03 2009

thanks mimzy =)

10 06 2009

Thanks a lot for the info it worked perfectly. Now i can do all the things to my phone without using windows..

6 07 2009

Great tutorial… I couldn’t get it working, though. The MoPoL script ran just fine, I rebooted, and plugged in the phone (a Verizon LG VX-8300, which BitPim supports). I continue to have the following problem:

In BitPim, I try to detect, it fails and takes me to the Setup page. When browsing COM ports, the phone shows up in two places (once as a modem, once as “Diagnostics Interface”), and they’re both active but not “available for use”.

This same symptom happened before installing MoPoL. I’m running 64-bit Ubuntu 9.04 on AMD hardware. Any idea how to get it working?

7 07 2009

something changed in ubuntu 9.04 that i could not get bitpim to detect my phone either. I think the script might need to be updated cause of some new version of udev (or whatever its called)

10 09 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

16 11 2009

hey, having some troubles, but got everything working in the terminal, but when i selected the lg button to install it, it says

–2009-11-16 13:11:49–
Connecting to||:80… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 404 Not Found
2009-11-16 13:11:49 ERROR 404: Not Found.

ERROR: Download failed. Please try again later.


my phone broke and i need to see if this place called me.

16 11 2009

Brilliant. Cheers mate.

16 11 2009


to download a more recent package, visit this link, its the bitpim deb from ubuntu Karmic’s repository:

simply select a mirror from there and download and install.

the script is most likely trying to pull its own version of the bitpim package from some site that does not exist anymore, just simply select the option to enable hotplugging for your LG phone, but NOT to install bitpim, that way it won’t error out.

23 11 2009
jonny rocket

if i run bitpim as root/sudo it works fine. i open a terminal and type:

$ sudo bitpim

everything is detected and all the features work. when i shut down the terminal it also shuts down bitpim.

thank you and have a nice day.

23 11 2009

First off, that is interesting that running it as sudo makes it work. I’m thinking its a permission issue, that the port is owned by root, so it does not work when bitpim is run as a normal user, but when you run it as a super user, it works magically.

And second off, yeah when you shut down the terminal and it has ANYTHING running inside of it, killing the terminal will kill the application.

You can get around this by making a launcher either on the panel or by going to system -> preferences -> Main Menu, and making the command be ‘gksudo bitpim”, and when you run it, it will ask you for your password with a pop up window and it will be run under root.

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