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How to connect to a Linux server from iPad

The single best tool to work with a server running Linux on iOS for the Apple iPad is Termius. With it, iPad users can connect to a Linux server and get an excellent remote experience, including terminal access, file access support,  and much more!

Note: only have an Apple iPhone to use? Good news! Termius also works on there as well!

Set up an SSH server

Termius is an excellent app, and you’ll be able to do a whole lot with it but keep in mind that it’s only a remote access application, and doesn’t work without an SSH server to connect in to.

Setting up an SSH server on Linux works by installing the OpenSSH package, configuring the server system, outgoing ports, etc.

Unsure about how to install, set up and configure an SSH server on your own? We can help! Check out our in-depth post all about hosting your how SSH server on Linux.

Install Termius

The Termius SSH client needs to be installed on iOS before we continue talking about how to use it. To install it, unlock your iPad, and open the App Store app.

Once the App Store is open on your iPad, make your way to the search box, and look for “Termius” to bring up search results.  Look for the Termius app icon and tap on it to go to its app page on the App Store. Then, select the “install” button to start the installation on your iPad.

Don’t feel like using the App Store to search for Termius on your iPad? Another way to install the app is to go directly to the app’s website in your favorite web browser, scroll through the page to the bottom to find “Download” and click on the ‘iOS” link. It should take you directly to the link in the App Store.

Sign up for a Termius account

The first time you launch the Termius application on your Apple iPad, you’ll be asked to create a Termius app. Do so. With it, you’ll be able to quickly sync your SSH server settings to other platforms running the app, such as an iPhone, Android device, or web browser. It’ll also give you 14 days to check out the app’s premium features, free of charge.

Create a new connection in Termius

After setting up a new account in the Termius app, you’ll next need to create a new host connection. This connection is how you will remotely access (over the SSH protocol) your Linux server and use the command-line, interact with the file-system, etc.

To create a new host connection, find the + icon in the top-right of the app and tap on it to reveal options. Then, look through the options menu that appears and select the “New Host” button.

Tapping on the “New Host” button will bring up a vast menu that will let you fill out all of the information required to connect to an SSH server. To fill it out, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1:  Under “Alias,” write out a nickname you’d like to give your remote SSH session.

Step 2: Under “Hostname,” add the IP address of the remote SSH server, or the hostname/domain name if it is more convenient to you.

Step 3: Tap “Use SSH,” then, fill out the remote Linux system’s username, password and add the SSH key if you have one.

Step 4: Tap “Save” in Termius to save your connection information to the app.

Log in to the remote Linux system

To access your remote Linux session over iPad in Termius, tap on the connection in the list. Then, allow it to open up in a terminal tab.

Once a new terminal tab is open, you’ll be prompted to log in using your user’s password and accept the host as a new connection. Do so.

If the login is successful, you’ll have full access to the remote Linux system right from your iPad!

Access files

Need to transfer data from your iPad to the remote Linux system? Tap on the “SFTP” tab on the right, and you’ll be brought to the Termius file-transfer area.

In the file-transfer area of Termius, you’ll see two file managers. On the right-side, tap on “local” and swap it to your remote server. It should instantly launch an FTP connection over SSH and give you full access to your Linux system’s files.

Copy files

To copy files in the Termius file-transfer window, click “edit.” Then, tap the check-box next to each file you want to transfer to/from your iPad. They should instantly transfer to the location you’ve specified.

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