How to mirror your Android device on Linux, macOS and Windows


Looking for a way to interact with your Android device on your desktop or laptop? If so, Jack Wallen has just the tool for you.

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Image: Jack Wallen

How many platforms do you use? How many devices do you use? If you’re like me, the answer to those two questions can get a bit overwhelming. At any given moment I’ll have a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone open and in use. 

All in the name of content.

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Sometimes it’s nice when those devices can be consolidated. So, when I discovered a little tool called scrcpy, I was thrilled. Why? Because I could easily mirror my Android phone on my desktop and interact with it without having to always be picking up the device. 

Now, there are a couple of caveats to this. I can’t unlock my Pixel 6 phone from the desktop (because it requires a fingerprint). Nor can I take calls from the desktop. I can answer calls from the mirrored version of Android, but I have to immediately switch to speakerphone or pick up the device to actually speak to the caller. Unless said caller is spam … then I can just block ’em from within the mirrored window (which I always do).

Anyway, back to scrcpy.

This little tool is a real gem for those who multitask beyond what the human creature should be capable of. So, let’s get on with the how-to.

What you’ll need

To make this work, you’ll need an Android device, running at least Android 5. You’ll also need a desktop or laptop running Linux, macOS or Windows (Chromebooks need not apply). I’ll be demonstrating on Pop!_OS, so you’ll need to adjust the scrcpy installation instructions as needed. Finally, you’ll need Developer Options enabled on your Android device.

How to enable developer options

Before you can use scrcpy, you’ll need to enable Developer options. To do this, open Settings and locate About Phone. Scroll down to Build Number and tap that entry seven times. After the seventh tap, Developer options will be enabled.

Next, you must enable USB debugging. To do that, go to System | Developer Options. In the resulting window (Figure A), tap the On/Off slider for USB debugging until it’s in the On position.

Figure A

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USB debugging must be enabled for this to work.

How to install scrcpy

We can now install scrcpy. Although the application is available via the default app repositories, that version is out of date and broken. Because of this, we’re going to install via snap. Open a terminal window and install scrcpy with the command:

sudo snap install scrcpy

Once the installation is complete, close and re-open the terminal window. 

How to use scrcpy

Plug your Android device into your desktop or laptop. You should see a popup on the display asking if you want to allow USB debugging for the device (Figure B).

Figure B

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Allow USB debugging for your Android device or scrcpy won’t work.

Next, go back to the terminal window. Issue the command:

scrcpy

A new window should open, mirroring whatever is on your Android device (Figure C).

Figure C

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My Pixel 6 is now being mirrored on my Pop!_OS desktop, displaying the TechRepublic site alongside Firefox.

You can now use your mouse to point and click your way around Android. One thing to note, to drag down the notification shade you click and hold the left mouse button and drag down. The same thing holds true for any action that requires a swipe up, swipe right or swipe left.

The scrcpy tool is a great (and simple) way to interact with your Android device on Linux, macOS or Windows. If you’re as busy as I am, you’ll greatly appreciate this tool.

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