Connecting to your Linux system with your Android phone

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While using your cell phone to log into your Linux system might not seem like a priority, it is possible and you might have a good reason to do it once in a while. If you have an Android cell phone, you can install a tool that will let you log in, open a terminal session to your Linux box, and run commands just as you would if you were sitting in front of the system. Well, almost.

The tool I recommend is called JusSSH. It installs easily and leaves an icon with the image of a lemon with its name underneath on your screen. Click this icon and select Quick connect to configure your connection.

Image JuiceSSH 1 connection Sandra Henry Stocker

You will need to enter something like [email protected]:22 with your Linux username, target system IP address and specified port 22. The form should by default save the login as shown in the image above. Enter your password when prompted.

Before you start serious work, you’ll probably want to make your font bigger. To do this, go to Settings and browse the menu for Character font and Font size to make your selections.

JuiceSSH 2 Image Settings Sandra Henry Stocker

As you change the font size, you can swipe to whatever suits you. Sizes range from 1 to 30 points. Keep in mind that the output of most commands will likely be looped, as your cellphone screen is quite cramped.

Image JuiceSSH 3 font size Sandra Henry Stocker

You can also change other settings (e.g. theme colors) if you want to further customize your sessions.

Once logged into Linux, you can query who is logged in on the target system using the who ordered. You might see something like this.

$ who
justme  tty2    2022-06-02 11:05 (tty2) 	<== console login
nemo    pts/0   2022-06-02 12:38 (192.168.0.12) <== login from another system
justme  pts/1   2022-06-02 12:43 (192.168.0.6)	<== login from your Android cell phone

If there are multiple connections, they will look very similar, but the most recent should be at the bottom of the list and will show your cell phone’s IP address.

To start doing something else on your phone again while leaving your JusSSH active session, press the home button. Mine is a small circle in the middle at the bottom of my screen. It looks like this:

        ◁                  ▢

Later, you can re-enter your Linux session simply by clicking on the JusSSH icon again.

Once back in your SSH session, you can repeatedly press the up arrow to repeat previous commands as you would when logged into the console or using putty. If you don’t see the arrow, tap on the screen part of the screen – above the keyboard. After pressing the up arrow several times, press the down arrow to return to more recently entered commands.

Image JuiceSSH 4 session Sandra Henry Stocker

Faucet CTRL in the row above your on-screen keyboard, then press “D” or just type “logout” in your terminal window to exit your SSH session.

REMARK: This article describes the free version of JusSSH. There is also a “Pro” version with additional features.

Wrap

Although you probably don’t need to do this often, it’s good to know that you can use your Android cell phone to log into your Linux system. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to do than you probably imagined. Hope you try it and find ways it can be useful.

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