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