Linux Blog

iPhone SSH Client

Filed under: General Linux — at 2:34 pm on Monday, June 9, 2008

For those of you that have been following me for a while may remember my post titled Phones Meet Linux on iPhone alternatives and how I probably would not buy an iPhone. Today the iPhone has another alternative: its self. Apple announced the release of a new version of the iPhone. I’m sure your all familiar with this by now since its been rumoured for months but now its been announced.

So, with the announced release of the iPhone I’m happy to see that developers can now develop and distribute applications for the iPhone. Now I’m wondering how long it will be before there is a SSH client in the application database for the iPhone. System monitoring applications would also interest me. Among this they have also dropped the price, it will only be a matter of time before they run out.

What does this mean for open source developers? I cannot say I know the answer to this question yet. Is Apple going to allow open source projects to be distributed through their network? Wouldn’t it be nice? Free applications for the iPhone that are better than paid versions would be killer. What are your thoughts on this?



Comment by phil

June 9, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

the lack of a SSH client was also keeping me from getting an iPhone. I need to be able to remote admin servers and a ssh client is an absolute must on my phone. Here’s hoping that such an app is in the works.


Comment by Owen

June 10, 2008 @ 10:31 am

@Andrew, yes with jailbreak, or by other means.

I for one would not like to void my warranty and like ease of use. I don’t want to brick a phone I paid for and risk it not being under warranty because I modified it.

However, there will be an ssh client for iphone available in the application directory as soon as Apple releases it. If some one else doesn’t write one, I will & it will be free.


Comment by kevin

July 10, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

So Owen, have you made an SSH app yet? I’d love to download it!


Comment by tie

July 10, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

@owen: No SSH client yet on the appstore… want to step up for us? :)


Comment by Thorsten

July 11, 2008 @ 7:31 am

Well, AppStore is open, but no SSH client in sight yet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, though. Got my iPhone 3G today – shiny!


Comment by Owen

July 11, 2008 @ 8:11 am

I have no iPhone so I will not be able to create one. Should some one donate me an iPhone I’d be glad to make create and SSH client. Thing is, I’d probably release it for free. Any companies have some pull here?

– Owen


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Comment by Sergio

July 11, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

Where is the ssh client for iphone?


Comment by tom

July 13, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

Anyone tried WebShell on iP3G? To ssh to servers you manage and are willing to install it on, it ought to fill the gap until a client appears in the app store.


Comment by Phillip

July 13, 2008 @ 8:53 pm


You don’t need a physical iPhone to develop apps. The SDK comes with the simulator.



Comment by Owen

July 13, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

@PHILLIP I need a physical iPhone for motivation to develop an application :)

– Owen


Comment by Owen

July 14, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

There are many “webshells” available for use which should work with the iPhone. An ssh client for the iPhone is highly desired because it is more secure than a web based shell, and more reliable. Why go out to the web, over insecure http (unless ssl is available) and use it when you could have an ssh client right in front of you with all of the available options.
I in vision something along the lines of putty. I do think it will bridge the gap until a ssh client comes out. I would recommend using SSL and authentication though.

– Owen.


Comment by Michael

July 15, 2008 @ 8:02 am

I would love to create an SSH client, but my knowledge falls a little short for something on that level. If anyone is willing to offer advise or direction I am willing to try though. I will even pay the $100 Apple fee to get it in the App Store.


Comment by Owen

July 15, 2008 @ 8:33 am


To be honest I don’t know enough about the iPhone development platform to know if its possible. The iPhone may not have the required algorithms available for it to even use SSH. If Sun and Apple work on a JVM for the iPhone I’m sure a client will pop up.


Comment by GreggB

July 15, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

The jailbreak tools have previously facilitated SSH client (and server) functionality by simply installing OpenSSH. I wonder, to what extent, Apple would permit this…even as a client-only implementation maybe?

Another possibility is helping with the OSX port of PuTTY ( ).

I’d also bet good money, that the folks behind MobileSSH are working on an SSH client at this very moment ( ).


Comment by DaveE

July 19, 2008 @ 4:50 pm


Why in the world would anyone port putty to OS X? You can ssh directly from just like any *nix.


Comment by Tim

July 19, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

Dont need an IPhone to do development.. the Iphone SDK has a built in Iphone simulator which runs along side the SDK. Just need a mac to run the SDK tho.


Comment by tom

July 20, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

@OWEN: Yes, indeed, a real ssh client would be better than webshell. But there isn’t one and I still have a pressing need. So in the mean time, webshell-like things remain about the only option for those who don’t want to crack their iPs. Hence my question:

Has anyone tried webshell or similar things on iP? If so, how usable was it?


Comment by Owen

July 20, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

@TOM claims to be iphone friendly. Usability probably depends on the user. What works for one, may be irritating for another.


Comment by tom

July 20, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

today i loaded that webshell on a server and walked over to the apple store to try. i didn’t manage to log on. i spent about 15 minutes but couldn’t make it accept my password. i suspect my problem was with the iP ui but i really don’t know.

i had the impression that i had to switch between a keyboard text entry ui mode and a looking at the tty display ui mode. if so then i can forget it. i can’t see myself living without command an filename completion.


Comment by GreggB

July 23, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

@DaveE …right, and everyone is comfortable dinking around with bizarre and cryptic commands and configuration files, just for securely connecting to remote systems, instead of simply picking the name (plus pre-configuration) out of a GUI list. Especially, when some folks touch SSH terminals only long enough to start a menu or X11 GUI based app, SOCKS tunnel, or to simply complete basic terminal routines. How about configuration of port-forwarding, tweaking terminal nuances, enabling SCO-TERM support, changing function-key or backspace/delete behavior, establishing remote-controlled printing, enabling/disabling remote terminal resizing, or for simply dealing with buggy server implementations – where is the GUI for these? Further PuTTY has boasts 256 color mode support, has sensible and adjustable (the Character classes bit on the selection pane) copy/paste, and presents an interface that many Windows-switchers are already accustomed to.

To put it quite simply; built-in OSX tools rarely satisfy the most basic of needs, hence why many third-party apps even exist. When speaking of the iPhone, the AppStore should be a shining illustration of that fact.

Further, iPhones run a derivative of OSX…meaning apps written for an OSX sever/desktop have a far greater likelihood of porting to the iPhone over…say…a win32 app. Since is not in the AppStore, then PuTTY seems, at minimum, a logical suggestion.


Comment by Owen

July 23, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

@Greggb I agree with you in this aspect. Pointing and clicking is nice if you are doing lots of different things with SSH (that system administrators do.)

The putty port that is in the works can be found in the subversion / cvs repository for anyone that is interested. I myself don’t have enough time :(


Comment by GreggB

August 11, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

PuTTY for the iPhone:


Comment by Owen

August 18, 2008 @ 8:11 am

The ssh clients that are out there are still not up to par with what I would expect. Its good to see preliminary support but features that I would expect from an ssh client such as tab, alt, ctrl, multitap input (for ssh session handling) are not available in any of current available ssh clients for the iPhone.


Comment by Owen

August 21, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

The new TouchTerm has been released, and I have to say that this is a major update. It has added features that make it usable, not that it wasn’t before but now SSH on the iPhone is a whole lot better. Stay tuned for screen shots, a review and possibly a video. I’ve already used ssh from the iPhone a bunch and intend to use it more. In fact, with the SSH and VNC client I don’t think that the desktop is needed as much.

Comment by Robert

September 30, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

anyone know if at&t block port 22 in their network for internet access? An SSH client would be a lot less useful if you cant get to serves over the cellular network.

Comment by

September 30, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

@ROBERT Hey, I believe that AT&T blocks all ports on the phone incoming (unless jailbroken) BUT, I am able to SSH out over Edge, 3G and wireless with one of the available SSH clients. Jailbroken you should be able to SSH inbound over wireless, but I’m not sure about over Edge or 3G. I assume that they use some sort of proxy or gateway for this, but could be wrong. Does any one else know?

Comment by LowHelyx

February 19, 2009 @ 3:16 am, yes. All incoming traffic is filtered due to the proxy or “proxy like” system they use for security and accounting (tracking/blocking useage). Wifi is wide open but is restricted by the router at the current location, in other words port forwarding is needed to allow for it. The only way as of now to have an incoming connection on edge/3g is to have a “middle man” server that your phone constantly checks with to see if there is a request pending, but is still an outgoing connection reguardless and is a persistant connection. This method is being used by many programs now as a reliable way around firewalls (eg VIOP applications, logmein dot com ….) on PCs, not cellular devices where signal is often interupted.

Comment by

February 19, 2009 @ 10:57 am

@LOWHELYX, excellent information.

I had figured that was the case. If you jailbreak there are a ton of things you could do to keep a persistent connection.

– Owen.

Comment by Andrew

January 30, 2010 @ 12:58 am

Your grammar is terrible and it makes you sound like an imbecile, I don’t want to read anything you have to say.

Comment by

January 30, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

@Andrew Thanks for the comment, I’ll keep that in mind.

Comment by Doc

July 7, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

Iphone is crap. Use android, maemo etc

Comment by

July 7, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

@Doc Android wasn’t readily available when this post was written.

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