Prompt 2 review

The iPad can’t be used for real work, can it?

Even after all this time, there is still some debate about whether the iPad can be used as a real computer. I’d argue that even the iPhone can prevent me from having to pick up one of my Macs, especially now we have the larger screens courtesy of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

To me though, it’s not so much about the hardware, but rather the software that runs on it that will decide whether any iOS device is up to the task. The App Store is littered with word processors of all kinds, apps for shoving numbers into spreadsheets and even plenty of software that will help you give a presentation on a projector. That’s all well and good, but for me real work starts with a command line and an FTP server. Thankfully, Panic has my back on both counts.

Both Transmit and Prompt have been born out of the hard work that goes on inside Panic, and the latter has received a hefty update very recently indeed. So hefty in fact that this new 2.0 version is a whole new app that requires purchasing all over again and at $9.99, it’s not the cheapest app on the App Store.

But it is one of the best.

If you’re a system administrator, or just the kind of person that likes to tinker with servers in their spare time, then the idea of having a fully fledged terminal on your iPad and iPhone is sure to appeal. There are other apps that will give you a terminal window and let you SSH into servers left and right, but Panic’s Prompt has long been accepted as being the best around. This new 2.0 offering is building on that foundation while adding some iOS 8 flair along the way. If you’ve already splurged the money for the equally impressive Transmit, then you already know what to expect here.

Improvements are plentiful, including:

  • Panic Sync – It’s arguably taken too long to arrive, but Panic Sync takes all your servers, passwords, private keys and clips and then syncs them across all your devices. If you use an iPhone and an iPad in unison, then this is going to be huge for you.
  • Clips – Those clips that get synced? They’re your most-used commands. Stored either globally or on a per-server basis, Clips can save you time in the same way Text Expander does, by eliminating the need to keep typing the same thing over and over again. Have a command that you use multiple times a day? Make a Clip out of it.
  • Touch ID – Pretty self explanatory, that one. Now you can make sure that you and only you have access to your Prompt servers by turning Touch ID on.
  • Private Key Generation – Generate new keys without having to use a ‘real computer.’
  • A new visual design – Prompt now looks like it belongs on iOS 8. Once you’re in a session you won’t appreciate it, but the screens needed to get you there look suitably lovely. Prompt 2 also supports the new screen sizes offered by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – no huge status bars here!

That’s just the start. Customizable keys can be added to the already super useful keyboard bar, which will make even the most demanding of users happy. Prompt 2 really does have features coming out of its ears, which for something that seems as simple as a command prompt on a black screen is no mean feat.

In case it’s not already acutely clear, I’m quite the fan of Prompt 2. Frankly, Panic had me at the original Prompt, but the additions in this new version 2.0 are impressive and the need to buy the update rather than get it for free really shouldn’t put anyone off. Prompt 2 is well worth your ten dollars, especially if you’re already a fan of the first app.

With Prompt 2 and the excellent Transmit, Panic has given iOS users the tools they require in order to work with servers remotely and with little fuss. FTP and SSH access are the bread and butter of a system admin’s work, and being able to do them on iPhones and iPads is just awesome.

If anyone tries to tell you that iPads can’t be used for real work, then point them in Panic’s direction. They’ll put them straight.

Download Prompt 2 in the App Store. It is a universal app for both iPhone and iPad.

  • Ali

    Can you do a follow up, comparing it to Serverauditor, as it is free and pretty good as well.

    • xXGodpwnerXx

      I use server auditor and its amazing

  • I might just check this out since I own Transmit, Prompt is only Β£5 if I “Complete my bundle”. That’s a whopping Β£2 cheaper, 200 pennies I can’t believe it πŸ˜›

    Sarcasm aside I’ve been using ServerAuditor for SSH but have had my eye on Prompt for a while. I think I might just check this out after reading this review…

    • wiety

      i have both and both are great but i started to use prompt before the ServerAuditor and got really used to it. I can’t imagine using something else now and it was the best spent 10$ ever for me πŸ™‚ oh well… 20$ actually πŸ˜€

  • Zzyzxd

    I need MobileTerminal for accessing to localhost πŸ™

    • wiety

      well i use prompt to log into localhost and so i dont have to use mobileterminal πŸ˜‰
      there has even been a short tutorial from Jeff i suppose on how to connect to local host, but its obsolete anyway. There is quite an easy way how to get it work so if you’d like to know just let me know πŸ˜‰

      • Zzyzxd

        Oh, I thought accessing to localhost using sandboxed app should be rejected starting from iOS 7 due to some safety mechanism change. And I did experience some failure when I was on iOS 7. Maybe something changed? I will give it a try.

      • Beta382

        There is indeed a sandbox restriction new to iOS 7 that prevents access to localhost over certain ports (port 22 being one of those), however, there are two ways around it.

        You can change which port to communicate over to something that isn’t blocked and isn’t being used by something else (like 50022). Using iFile, navigate to /etc/services. Open it with the text editor. Scroll down until you see the lines:

        ssh 22/udp #SSH Remote Login Protocol
        ssh 22/tcp #SSH Remote Login Protocol

        WITHOUT DELETING those lines (don’t delete anything in the file), insert the following lines below them:

        ssh2 50022 #SSH Secondary
        ssh2 50022

      • wiety

        and dont forget for the launch deamon πŸ˜‰ i know its still possible to run the ssh without it, but i always create a new one just for the newly created ssh and control it through launchctl

      • Beta382

        I didn’t. Disqus is stupid and published my comment before I finished typing.

      • wiety

        πŸ™‚ yeah i see that in your comment now πŸ™‚

      • wiety

        well to say it first. its of course possible only on jailbroken devices… and that is why i understood your post in the way that for localhost you are using mobileterminal as prompt nor any other ssh soft officialy isnt able to do so

  • Ian Leon

    This is so messed up. I already had purchased prompt. Why should I have to pay for such an incremental little update. It’s not like they invented SSH

    • Alex

      I feel the same way. I shelled out $8 dollars just a week ago and it’s been taken off the market with the new version published under a different app ID so no update for me. There was no news of this separate update or I wouldn’t have purchased. Very, very pissed off and will never buy from them again. There are other apps, not as nice, but they get the job done, and I don’t like being burned twice.

      • Ashish Maheshwari

        Get a refund from App Store? I think you can request refunds before 30 days from the date of purchase. Try it.

      • $600 phone, yet bitching about $10 app. Pathetic.

      • Alex

        Like most people, we paid the subsidized monthly charge on our bill, not $600 up front. Also, some of us save for a long time before we can get a new piece of technology. You sound pretty pathetic commenting on a 6 month old post. My point still stands and is still valid.

      • Alex

        Not everyone pays $600 for their phone. Idiot.

  • czbird

    Sticking with iSSH…

    • BoxOfSnoo

      iSSH is gone.

      • czbird

        Yaiks, did not know that. Pitty πŸ™

      • czbird

        Maybe not updated anymore, but works just fine even on 8.1…

      • BoxOfSnoo

        For the moment, and some features are rather flaky, if not outright broken. I’m always uncomfortable with apps at that “gone” state, especially with something that I might need desperately in a pinch.

  • Nirvana

    staying jailbroken SSH

  • Sean White

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Attachmate SSH client (Reflection for UNIX). Pretty slick for a new app! And free… Sweet!! The UX is definitely a step above the others and so far I’ve not had any problems.