Terminal and SSH Apps for macOS and iOS

This is an addendum to my series of posts on ssh on macOS:

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So far we have used ssh entirely from macOS’ built-in Terminal application. In most cases Terminal is entirely useful and sufficient. However, there are some really useful terminal/ssh applications from third parties. There are also applications for iOS you can use to connect to other computers with ssh.

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Panic’s Prompt 2

Prompt 2 (vendor page) is my favorite iOS application to connect to a shell. (Together with Edovia’s Screens, it forms the backbone of my admin toolkit on iOS.)

Prompt supports external keyboards and keyboard shortcuts. It also supports key based authentication and agent forwarding. It can optionally sync server bookmarks, clips and credentials through the Panic Sync cloud server. Prompt can also detect SSH hosts in the local network that advertise via Bonjour.

Prompt 2 is a one time-purchase for iPhone and iPad, available at the AppStore.

Termius

Termius is a cross-platform SSH solution. It has apps for iOS, macOS, Android, Linux and Windows, so if you need to move across many of these platforms it may be very useful. (I have only tested iOS and macOS.) It is free for basic use, but you can unlock ‘premium’ features for a subscription fee. The premium features include a bookmark and key sync service, clippings, sftp and agent-forwarding.

It has some interesting features such as port forwarding and a the ability to send a public key to a server (like ssh-copy-id) on iOS.

iTerm2

iTerm2 is an alternative terminal application for macOS. It has many features that Terminal.app is lacking or added much later than iTerm2.

Cathode

Cathode is an alternative Terminal application for macOS and SSH client for iOS. Its main claim to fame is to emulate the appearance of old-style cathode ray displays, including 8-bit fonts, distortion and flicker. Cathode is a one-time purchase for macOS and iOS.

Mosh and Blink

mosh (mobile shell) is a protocol for remote shells that is designed for modern mobile connections. mosh can maintain connection to a server even when the client’s ip address and/or connection method changes (i.e. a device switches from Wi-Fi to cell data or vice versa). It uses ssh to establish the connection and security, but then uses its own connection. So you can use ssh keys to authenticate. However mosh requires a server component to be installed on the host.

The iOS mosh client is called Blink and commercially available on the AppStore. Though, since the project is open source, you could also compile the client yourself.

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