PinePhone MMS with Matrix

From PINE64
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Screenshot of fractal displaying an MMS conversation

The one known way to get MMS fully (meaning pictures and group messages) working is by relaying all SMS and MMS to a matrix server and using a matrix client to interact with them. is the bridge used here

Outgoing messages over the max size are sent as a link. The link will not resolve if matrix is hosted on the PinePhone itself, so resize your images. An easy way might be to take a screenshot of your image viewer and send that image instead.

This method works with a local-to-the-pinephone matrix server but you could instead use a public one on the internet. Free accounts on should work fine for example. Sleep may need to be disabled for non-local servers or the bridge can get stuck.

Install packages


Start with a nice and up-to-date Danctnix' Arch ARM PinePhone installation, mine is from April 20 2021. SSH into the PinePhone and then run this to install all the needed packages

sudo pacman -Sy matrix-synapse fractal python-matrix_client python-gobject git meson ninja base-devel python-matrix-nio python-dbus

Start the service

sudo systemctl enable synapse
sudo systemctl start synapse


Flash a fresh mobian nightly (Tested September 28 2021) and install the following:

sudo apt install matrix-synapse fractal mmsd-tng python3-matrix-nio python3-vobject python3-aiofiles git

Set up Matrix Synapse on localhost

Skip this if you will be using a remote homeserver. Make a new config with the server name set to local host.


cd /etc/synapse/
sudo python -m --server-name localhost --config-path homeserver.yaml --generate-config --report-stats=no
sudo vi /usr/lib/systemd/user/matrix-synapse.service
Description=Multimedia Messaging Service Daemon

ExecStart= python3 -m --config-path=/etc/matrix/homeserver.yaml



Start the service

systemctl enable matrix-synapse --user
systemctl start matrix-synapse --user


cd /etc/matrix-synapse/
sudo rm homeserver.*
sudo python3 -m --server-name localhost --config-path homeserver.yaml --generate-config --report-stats=no
sudo service matrix-synapse start

Add new matrix users

in /etc/synapse/ (arch) or /etc/matrix-synapse/ (mobian)

register_new_matrix_user -c homeserver.yaml http://localhost:8008 # New user name and pw will both be pp
register_new_matrix_user -c homeserver.yaml http://localhost:8008 # New user name and pw will both be mm

Open fractal and log into the homeserver at http://localhost:8008 with username pp and password pp

Set up MMSD

from git (historical, no longer needed, mmsdtng commonly packaged)

Grab the git repository and install it:

cd ~
git clone
cd mmsd
meson _build
meson compile -C _build
meson test -C _build
sudo meson install -C _build
sudo vi /usr/lib/systemd/user/mmsd-mm.service

Description=Multimedia Messaging Service Daemon

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/mmsd -n -d


sudo chmod 644 /usr/lib/systemd/user/mmsd-mm.service
systemctl enable mmsd-mm.service --user
systemctl start mmsd-mm --user

Settings for T-Mobile

This config works for me

After starting mmsdtng the first time it should generate a config. Edit the following 3 options:

vi ~/.mms/modemmanager/ModemManagerSettings


Restart MMSD ModemManager service

systemctl restart mmsdtng

Install MMS bridge

Grab it from git and put things in places

cd ~
git clone
cd mmmpuppet
chmod +x
sudo cp mmm*.py /usr/local/bin/
mkdir -p $HOME/.config/mmm/
cp conf.json.sample $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json

Configure MMS bridge

This will mostly take care of editing the config for you if you are running a local matrix server.

sed -i 's^""^"http://localhost:8008"^' $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json
sed -i 's^""^"@mm:localhost"^' $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json
sed -i 's^"Change_me"^"mm"^' $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json
sed -i 's^""^"@pp:localhost"^' $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json

You actually have to fill these two out yourself. I put "US" and my +1 and rest of 10 digit number.

vi  $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json

"cell_number":      "+15554441234",
"cell_country":     "CA",

Now we need to run it once to process the config file and remove secrets (It will say it has done this and exit on first run)


check it out now

cat $HOME/.config/mmm/conf.json

If it doesn't change the file to remove all the linebreaks then it didn't like it. Figure out why by looking at the log file.

cat ~/.config/mmm/mmmpuppet.log

Go fix whatever went wrong. Which should be nothing. You should have seen a message like this as output before it returns you to a prompt:

Login successful. Config updated with token. Run again to start bridge.

Set up MMS bridge service

Make systemd unit

sudo vi /usr/lib/systemd/user/mmmpuppet.service

Description=Starts mmmpuppet interface

ExecStart=/usr/bin/python3 /usr/local/bin/


and start it

sudo chmod 644 /usr/lib/systemd/user/mmmpuppet.service
systemctl enable mmmpuppet.service --user
systemctl start mmmpuppet.service --user

done? see if services are running:

ps aux | grep mm

should show something like this even after reboot

alarm       6374  0.0  0.3 235364  7752 ?        Ssl  22:44   0:00 /usr/local/bin/mmsd -n -d
alarm       6825  9.8  2.7 224976 54188 ?        Ssl  22:52   0:05 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/local/bin/

Remove chatty

for arch do pacman stuff to remove chatty


apt remove chatty

Don't forget to enable data

You can get sms but not mms with mobile data off

Launch fractal

Log in with this homeserver




and password


Logins are not saved. You need to add a new item named login to the gnome keyring manually to fix it. See:

Basically apt install seahorse, open "passwords and keys" in the app drawer, click new (plus), select password keyring, and name it "login" (all lower no quotes). Then autologin will work as it should.


At this point if you get a message a new room should be created by the bridge bot which you will be invited to. You can start a new conversation by creating a new room, setting the topic with phone numbers of participants, and then inviting the mm user. See the mmmpuppet readme for examples.

Other clients

quaternion also seems to work but has clunky UI issues. Might work better with scaling