How to SSH Into Your iPhone

By , Mar 14, 2011

First, I will explain what SSH is and why we do it. SSH (Secure Shell) allows you to exchange data between two networked devices, using a secure channel. A jailbroken iPhone has the ability to connect with your computer via SSH, giving you read and write access to your iDevice’s hard drive.

You can repair damaged files, install games that aren’t in the App Store, and even turn your iDevice into a portable hard drive. I know it all sounds complicated, but we use applications to make the process as easy as browsing a folder on your computer. This is my quick and easy guide to SSH into your iPhone….

For starters, your device must be jailbroken. You must also have an active Wi-Fi connection on both your iDevice and your computer.

Step 1: Download Cyberduck. (Windows beta version here)

Step 2: In your jailbroken iDevice, open ‘Cydia.app’ and do a search for ‘OpenSSH’. Go ahead and install it, and jump back on your computer.

Step 3: Open the Cyberduck application we downloaded earlier and click the ‘Open Connection’ button.

Step 4: In the server field you are going to type your iDevice’s IP address. This can be found by launching your ‘Settings.app’, selecting ‘Wi-Fi’, and selecting the blue arrow next to your wireless network. You should now see your IP address.

Step 5: Select the ‘SFTP’ option in the drop down menu above where you just typed in your IP address.

Step 6: In the Username field type in ‘root’. In the Password field type ‘alpine’. Click connect! You are now looking at the file system underneath Apple’s iOS!

Note: The first SSH may take a bit, after that it should be fine. If you get an ‘Unknown Host’ message, just ignore it and click ‘Allow’.

See that wasn’t so bad, was it? My last piece of advice would be BE CAREFUL. Deleting or manipulating the wrong files can turn your iPhone into a paperweight.

Does anyone use a better SSH client? What ways are you using SSH? Tell us about it below!

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  • Jason Masters

    At one point or another you’ll need to ssh so this guides invaluable.

  • JoBerlin

    Security advice: open the terminal.app and type in:

    ssh root@ip.of.your.iPhone

    when prompted for your password type in alpine. Now you’re logged in into the shell of your iPhone. Type

    passwd

    and when prompted type in a new password! There was a virus that spread itself from iPhone to iPhone if the default login was still active.

    Start Cydia and install the ssh toggle for SBSettings or the small Toggle SSH app. I recommend the Toggle SSH app because with the SBToggle SSH is active after rebooting the device.
    Activate SSH only if you need for some extra security!

    • fgo;igkjnrtidfksdghfn

      You can just write su root instead of ssh root@ip address. And about the virus, Im pretty sure its gone by now.

      • Egon Freeman

        On the Mac, I’m pretty sure You can’t just ‘su root’. Besides, it’s extremely bad practice to implicitly run under root on local OS if all You need is for the remote login to be root. “ssh root@” is a WAY better AND safer way. (for the curious, to get root access on OS X, try “sudo su -“)

  • Johmcon68

    I use iPhone explorer but can’t open host file with notepad sorry new to this. Or ifile how do you open the host file to read it because when I right click to copy it it just says delete or remove Thanx advice would be helpful

    • tereaefrgi9rofhwrk

      There is something wrong with iPhone Explorer. It doesnt open the files, and the previews are only for .jpg or .png(i forgot which one) On iFile, just click on the hosts file and aa thing will come up, asking what to open with. Just press text viewer.

  • Mike

    Other notable windows SSH apps:
    WinSCP – GUI
    Putty – Command line only

  • JoBerlin

    My comment disappeared, 2nd try!
    Cody forgot to point you to some security and general advices:
    1. Install Toggle SSH from Cydia or use the SBSettings SSH Toggle. Enable SSH only if you need it. The SSH deamon will be started if a connection request is made to port 22. So leaving SSH enabled won’t drain your battery but may make your iPhone vulnerable.

    2. Open your terminal.app (or putty on windows), connect to your iPhone and change the default password:

    > ssh root@ip.of.your.iPhone
    When the password is requested type alpine
    >passwd
    Type in a new password twice.
    >su mobile
    This changes to the user mobile. The password is also alpine. This is the “normal” user on your iPhone.
    >passwd
    Type in a new password twice. You can use the same as for root.
    >exit
    >exit
    You logged off from your iPhone. Remember your passwords!

    3. There are 2 partitions (“drives”) on your iPhone: / where all the system stuff is and /private/var/mobile. If you copy something onto your iPhone use /private/var/mobile and it’s subdirectories. Any other location will fill your system partition and the phone might stop working properly!

  • George

    This is why I come here all the time…ive had iPhones 4 2 years and Never knew what ssh meant….I just found other ways like funbox or file….but now I know ssh!!!!

  • iFailiz

    I installed HDR Camera on my 3GS by using Cyberduck, actually works

  • Alex

    After installing Open SSH it´s a smart idea to change your root password, otherwise you´ll opened an additional security hole.

    • Matthew

      how do you exactly do that?
      ive been sshing for a while now (around 6 months) but i didn’t know that.

  • Ben

    I use i-FunBox. Best tool and it’s free

  • http://iphone4ever.eu tobiCOM

    Just use the iPhone Explorer its much more easier! Download, Plugin iPhone done!

  • ksego1982

    I just can’t make the connection.
    Constantly I see a message: CONNECTION FAILED
    PREMATURE CONNECTION CLOSE
    Can somebody help me?

  • http://www.ititothemes.wordpress.com iTito

    Winscp for windows is better, you can also use terminal to change your password.

  • thedude

    i recently had to restore my phone and i lost all my game data.
    is there a way to put my data saved from a backup onto my phone?
    i lost all my Angry Birds progress!!

    • tereaefrgi9rofhwrk

      Go to iTunes and press restore from backup

      • thedude

        i dont want the whole backup. i had a few bugs that i couldnt work out, thats why i restored.

      • anotheranon

        Restore from backup, then use DataDeposit from Cydia to backup AngryBirds to your Dropbox

  • N Gemma

    New to the world of MAC and Iphone? I have ssh working but I want to close the loop hole on the username and password. Which terminal app do you use? CythruTerm???? IfilethruTerm….etc, any suggestions or comments? If so…I install either from cydia then change in the iphone itself? Please let me know. Sorry if this sound like a basic question? Read the above post and I do not want to screw this up and lock out my phone.

    Thanks,

    Neal

  • http://www.facebook.com/leomanancial Leonardo Oliveira Santos

    Hello, I’m Leonardo

    I purchsed a Iphone 4 16GB ( Verizon), but I can’t connect any PC because is not recongnized =(

    According to the seller told me he changed some permissions through the AnyPlayer software on the phone, so my PC (iTunes) does not recognize it.

    I’ve done everything including locating USB ports on the computer and reboot it

    The question is: How can I get the Iphone and desbloquer this?

    Please help me!

  • Hazzan Zia

    Use WinSCP for SSH…

  • http://www.facebook.com/chengkimaun Sin Fu

    when i write ‘login root’ it issue ‘password’ but i can not type it . could you tell me please why?

    • Egon Freeman

      For posterity (and googlers’) sake: any sort of password prompt on the terminal will NOT show characters (or, in techspeak, echo is disabled for password input). Don’t worry, You are still typing it in, it’s just not showing up on the screen.

  • Arthi

    I do not have cydia, what can i use instead. I have a problem installing cydia after jail break.

  • Shawn Nunez

    chjj

  • Giordano Battista

    i use terminal on my mac

    • http://bit.ly/VomboMultimedia Liam

      Can you tell me how to ssh m iPhone 4 iOS 7.0.6 Jailbroken with the terminal. Hate using third party apps. Thank you!

      • Giordano Battista

        Ok so there is just one basic command to doing this with terminal. First of all your idevices must be jailbroken and must have open ssh installed from
        Cydia. After that is done plug in your idevice to your mac. Unlock the device and make sure it doesn’t auto lock. Then go into settings and choose wifi. Then press that blue arrow beside the network you are connected to. Note the wifi IP address. Now is the fun stuff. Open terminal on your mac and type
        ssh root@youripaddres. It may take a minute the first time you do things. After it’s done it will ask for the device password. By default its alpine. And you are done. You are now in your device!

      • http://bit.ly/VomboMultimedia Liam

        I’ve ssh my phone threw OS X terminal but all I can do is ls, rm some files and cd. How do I add more files from my Mac to my phone and reverse?

        Thank you!

  • SSantiago

    I have ssh on iphone 5, downloaded putty on windows 8 laptop. Putty commands asks me for iphone root# after entering password (I had changed default pw already). What # is it? where do I find it? thanks.