Workaround for Error: Could not claim the USB device (-53)

Some people, including myself have pointed out that Shotwell Photo Manager is not able to import images and video files from some Android phones. The error reported is:

Unable to fetch previews from the camera:
Could not claim the USB device (-53)

Here is my workaround:

  1. Close Shotwell
  2. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable
  3. Check the USB connection type on your phone
    • Make sure you are connected as a "media device (MTP)", not a "camera device (PTP)"


  4. Open your file manager
  5. Unmount the phone by clicking on the button highlighted in the following image:


  1. Now open Shotwell
  2. Click on your phone's name under "Cameras"
    • You should see any images or videos on your phone
  3. Import using the "Import All" or "Import Selected" options



Just want to say thanks, I've been having this problem with Ubuntu Gnome 15.04 and it was driving me insane. I know this will get fixed in the future but have to stick with aged methods.

Thanks for the tip! I had done this before but totally had forgotten!

A simple and goal oriented work around. Thank you so much.

Awesome! This really works! Thank you so much for sharing this workaround!

Simple and effective solution. Thank you!

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