The perhaps slightly odd requirement is this:

  • I have a computer/laptop running Ubuntu
  • I have an iPad from which I can SSH into said laptop sitting right next to it
  • I'd like to use the iPad as an extra terminal screen

Things I don't want:

  • I don't need full VNC. It's laggy and relatively low res. I don't need a mouse pointer or sound.
  • There's apparently an iOS app called iSSH that can forward X11, however, it doesn't appear to be available in the UK Apple app store.

I can see, using the who command, the iPad's pts session, and I can echo to it from a session on the main desktop. I could instead screen from the iPad session into a session in the currently active desktop window, but then I'm just mirroring, and don't have any extra terminal 'real estate'.

My ideal would be able to ctrl-tab to and from terminal running on the iPad. One hack I thought might work is to somehow have an 'off screen' xterm session that the iPad attaches to.

(NB Originally questioned in askubuntu.com but realised there's nothing Ubuntu-specific about my question, other than it's the distro I happen to be using.)

EDIT - In response to comments, some clarification:

@SpecialBomb - I don't need to monitor an X11 application. I'd like to be able to have my Linux laptop and iPad on a desk next to each other, and to use the iPad merely as an extra terminal window. I can almost get this by SSHing in from the iPad, but then I can only use the iPad's on screen keyboard to enter commands. I know I can 'exec' commands in that session from a terminal on the main laptop screen, but I'd like to switch the keyboard to and from the remote iPad session. I feel like it should be possible, as the connectivity is there.

@Radovan Garabik - x2x and x2vnc are full remote windowing and mirroring protocols respectively. I just want a really simple setup where I can SSH from my iPad, into a laptop sitting next to it, and just use the keyboard to enter commands on either the laptop or the iPad SSH PTS.

The connectivity is there, as I can echo from the laptop to the SSH session, and I can even run commands in the SSH session, from the laptop. But really I'd like for the iPad session to be useable as if it were an extra 'tab' on the laptop's xterm terminal.

  • What specifically are you trying to do? Do you just want to monotor your X11 applications using your iPad? Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 14:56
  • Also, tell what application(s) you are using, as there may be a simple console version to monotor using plain SHH. Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 15:15
  • 1
    You want (on the Ubuntu computer) x2x or x2vnc, depending on what protocol you prefer (and what is available for the iPad) Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:29
  • Thanks for looking at the question - I've added some details. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


One possible (hacky) answer to my own question:

  1. On iPad (or whatever tablet), SSH into laptop
  2. On iPad, run screen -S ipad
  3. On laptop, open a terminal window
  4. Run screen -x ipad
  5. Make the terminal window as small as possible, and move it off to the side

Now you can effectively capture your laptop's keyboard entry by just tabbing to the almost-minimised terminal, but see it on your iPad/tablet, thus using it as a second terminal screen.

What I'd really like is some way to be able to get this effect without the need for the small window on the laptop. If I minimise it completely, it of course won't capture keyboard input.

EDIT - Another downside to this is that ctrl-a screen commands are only interpreted by the laptop's screen session.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .