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How To Change the iPhone’s Root Password

MobileTerminal iPhone app

This week we ‘ve seen stories all around the web about a Dutch hacker ‘s demo of how easy it is to gain access to an iPhone when it is jailbroken, running the SSH service, and has not had its default admin-level passwords changed.

These stories were a great reminder that we should all make a habit of changing the default passwords for the iPhone ‘s two primary admin accounts (usernames mobile and root) “ as once somebody gains root level access to an iPhone, all sorts of bad things can happen.

Read on for some easy instructions on how to change your default passwords on the iPhone

How To Change The iPhone ‘s Default Admin Account Passwords:

*** These instructions assume you are running iPhone OS 3.0 or above on your device “ other firmware versions may vary in their default passwords.  You also, of course, need to be jailbroken, and running the SSH service if you wish to use one of the methods that connect to the iPhone via a PC to make the changes.

You can use applications on the iPhone itself or on your PC to make these password changes.  Please note “ you only need to use one of these methods, not all three. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are three walk-throughs for three common apps on iPhone, Mac, and PC:

On the iPhone:

The app to use on the iPhone is called MobileTerminal and it ‘s available for free in the Cydia store.

Once you have MobileTerminal installed, launch it and you should see a prompt saying this or similar:

iPhoneName: ~ Mobile$

  • At that prompt, type: passwd
  • You ‘ll be prompted for the ‘old ‘ (current) password for the mobile user.  Enter this as the old password: alpine
  • You ‘ll then be prompted to enter the new password “ so just type in your desired new password.  Use good password principles if possible (long and stong).  You will not see characters appearing on the screen as you type “ that ‘s normal, not a concern.
  • You ‘ll then be prompted to re-enter the new password.  Do that.
  • You should then be returned to the Mobile$ prompt that you started on when opening the MobileTerminal app.  There ‘s no success message to say the password was changed “ but if you ‘re returned to the prompt and do not get an error, the change was successful.  And you ‘re done with change for the mobile account.
  • The second primary admin account for the iPhone is called root “ so now you need to change that as well.
  • Type this to switch to the root user: login root
  • You ‘ll be prompted for the root user ‘s current password.  Enter this: alpine
  • Type this to start the password change routine again: passwd
  • Enter the old password for root (it is ‘alpine ‘, same as for the mobile user) and enter your desired new password twice, just as you did for the mobile account


change iPhone root password

On a Mac:

  • Find your iPhone ‘s IP address so that you know where you need to connect to.  To do this, go to the Settings app > WiFi > tap on the blue arrow to the right-hand side of the WiFi network you ‘re currently on (the one with a check next to it) > make a note of the IP Address entry listed there.
  • On many home WiFi networks the address will be something like 192.168.1.x “ so we ‘ll use that in the command instructions below “ remember to use your own IP address when doing this though.
  • Use the Terminal app or your favorite replacement for it (I use iTerm) and open a new window
  • Type this to connect as root to your iPhone: ssh root@192.168.1.x
  • You ‘ll be prompted for the root user ‘s current password.  Enter this: alpine
  • Type this to start on changing the password for the root user: passwd
  • Type the old password (alpine) and new password (twice) as per the instructions above for the iPhone.
  • Once you have changed the root user ‘s password, type this to switch to the mobile user: login mobile
  • Type this to start the password change for this user: passwd
  • Type the old password (alpine) and new password (twice) as per the instructions above for the iPhone.
  • Type this to end your remote session with the iPhone: exit


On a Windows PC

  • Find your iPhone ‘s IP address so that you know where you need to connect to.  To do this, go to the Settings app > WiFi > tap on the blue arrow to the right-hand side of the WiFi network you ‘re currently on (the one with a check next to it) > make a note of the IP Address entry listed there.
  • On many home WiFi networks the address will be something like 192.168.1.x “ so we ‘ll use that in the command instructions below “ remember to use your own IP address when doing this though.
  • Use Putty (free to download on the web) or your preferred app to make an ssh connection to the iPhone
  • Use 192.168.1.x (your iPhone ‘s IP address) as the host name or server name to connect to.  Choose ssh as the connection method, SFTP as the protocol, and 22 as the port number.
  • Use the username root to connect with and alpine as its password
  • When you have connected and have a terminal window open type this to start your password change for the root user: passwd
  • Type the old password (alpine) and new password (twice) as per the instructions above for the iPhone.
  • Once you have changed the root user ‘s password, type this to switch to the mobile user: login mobile
  • Type this to start the password change for this user: passwd
  • Type the old password (alpine) and new password (twice) as per the instructions above for the iPhone.
  • Type this to end your remote session with the iPhone: exit
  • Done.

    As you can see, these are easy and fast steps to take.  If you ‘re running your iPhone jailbroken and using the SSH service it ‘s very worthwhile to make these changes to the default passwords.  Even if you do not use SSH, keep in mind that other core iPhone services may have security holes and exploits in future “ so the password change is a good idea all the way round.

    If you are using SSH, another good practice is to keep the service always toggled off except when you are using it for file transfers or similar activities, and to get in the habit of shutting it off as soon as you ‘re finished working with it.  The easiest way to do this is to use the excellent SBSettings app, to have a quick one-tap toggle on/off for SSH and other key services.

    Continue reading:


    • I also read all over the web about the "hacker" and the default password. I find it quiet 'weird'. If someone knows how (well .. more what it is) to install SSH from Cydia then you would think that they would be tech savy enough to know to change the root password as well – as they must've logged in with it surely. Otherwise what use would it have been to install SSH in the 1st place. You know what I am getting at. Sysadmin rule #1 change root password from default.
      Great article to tell people how to do it in a variety of ways.

      • Good point, but … I'm ashamed to admit, I've been lazy with this subject. I had experienced issues in a previous firmware with root password changes (major ones) and had lately been shying away from this necessary task, preferring just to keep the SSH service always off except when using it for a quick file transfer. Very glad to have rectified it this week.

      • Will Galan

        Well you’re right, but sometimes you install a package and the ssh thing comes as a dependency so, you don’t really know is there, and not everybody check the list of packages when you asked to install a theme

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    • Thanks for this tutorial. I sent it to several of my friends with jailbroken iPhones.

      • My pleasure – glad it was helpful.

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    • Why doesn't whoever is distributing the jailbreaks include a "required to change root password" and make the user change the password as soon as it's installed….that would prevent alot of this necessity…..just my $.02

      • I think it would be nice if they offered it as a strong suggestion, but I think linking it in any way to the actual jailbreak might just complicate things un-necessarily and open a can of worms for them.

    • I did all of this and it seemed to work fine but now the terminal comes up wanting to edit iPhone:~root. whereas originally it came up mobile$
      Is that a problem? how to I get it back to saying mobile$ ? Do I even need to?
      Sorry despite Mike CTZA's comment I have not got a clue what I'm doing, I just jailbroke my phone using blackra1n which requires zero understanding of what is going on and then I read the stuff about the Dutch hacker and thought this article made sense. Thanks for the informative post and sorry for being a techno numpty!

      • No need for apologies – we're all new to things at one stage or other. To change the prompt back to read Mobile$, and to be logged in as the mobile user, which is what that prompt indicates, just type this at the prompt:
        login mobile
        Then type the password for mobile when prompted and that's it – you're back to being logged in under that account..
        Glad the post was helpful for you.

      • help

        or just type~ exit

    • Brilliant post. This blog is incredibly high quality and continues to help me with my newly JB 3gs daily.

      • Thanks very, very much for the kind words. We'll strive to keep it that way ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dutch

      Well, I’m new enough to iPods/phones and jailbreaks that this was all fresh new info to me so I appreciate the guide immensely!

      • Cool – very glad to hear that.

    • Awesome tutorial man.

    • Kevin

      I just did this on my ipod touch 1st gen and I think when I was changing the root login password I had to put in the password 'alpine' before I could type in 'passwd'. The post has it the other way around. Just in case anyone else is having a 'why is this not working' moment. Thanks for the post!

      • Just double-checked the steps for Mac and PC and it mentions the need to enter root's password in both places, and I hope it's also clear within the MobileTerminal instructions.

    • mark

      do you NEED the phone to be on a wifi in order to change the root password, or can it be done in another way? i share a wifi network with my neighbors (for my pc) and they would need to let my iphone on. however, since they are doing me a favor, i'm not going to ask…

      also, will changing these (root and mobile) passwords have any effect on itunes?

      thanks, from a jailbreak newbie ๐Ÿ™‚

      • If you are jailbroken you can just do it on the iPhone iself with the MobileTerminal app, as per the first set of instructions.
        No, this change should not have any effect on iTunes.

        • needs glasses (mark)

          i feel like such an idiot lol. i just jumped straight down to: "on a windows pc" and completely overlooked the "on the phone" instructions… thanks for not flaming me for the oversight.

          • No worries. Hope it all worked well for you.

    • Personal

      HELP !

      I can't seem to be able to change the password…

      MobileTerminal crashes so I can't use that.

      Following OSX instructions I get the following error from Terminal :

      personal-macbook-pro:~ personal$ ssh root@
      root@'s password:
      dyld: lazy symbol binding failed: Symbol not found: _login
      Referenced from: /usr/sbin/sshd
      Expected in: /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib

      dyld: Symbol not found: _login
      Referenced from: /usr/sbin/sshd
      Expected in: /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib

      Connection to closed by remote host.
      Connection to closed.
      personal-macbook-pro:~ personal$

      Is there something I can do about it ?

      Sorry, I'm obviously not tech savvy…


      Thanks for the article anyway !;)

      • I haven't seen this issue before but Googled it and found a few forum posts that seem to point at OpenSSH having been installed via Icy rather than Cydia. Did you by chance install via Icy? If so, worth uninstalling and installing via Cydia I think.

        • Personal

          that's exactly what I did; trying now with Cydia…

          …oh,man, you're totally right. Even MobileTerminal is working for me right now.

          Thanks for the heads up.

          You rock.


          • Excellent – glad to hear it.

      • old fart

        first of all thanks for the support you offer… i'm essentially an other not under the hood guy

        on a 3GS, running 4.0.1, jailbroken and unlocked so that i could connect US phone to canadian network…

        like the above post i downloaded mobileterminal, click on it in springboard, get a flash of black screen and keyboard, which immediately disappears and returns me to springboard

        tried uninstalling and reinstalling mobileterminal to no avail

        will go to instructions for doing on Mac if i can't get beyond this issue

        however i do wonder what is preventing use of terminal mode fully engaging?


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    • Allen

      Everything was great for the password change of the mobile. But when I followed your instructions for the login root, I started to have some real trouble. I type in login root. Enter alpine. And the terminal is asking for this iphone:~ root#. What am I supposed to put in there??
      And when I typed in Login mobile I now have a repeating message: -sh: fork: resource temporarily unavailable. I was successful in changing the first password but I can’t do the secondary protocol. Is there anything I am doing wrong? Or something I am missing?

      • Bryan

        That should just be like the "C:" in dos, prompt for the user "root."

    • allen

      Never mind. Your commernter Kevin has it right. You have to type in the alpine password before you are allowed to change the password. done and done.

      • Glad you got it done. I've added a single line to that MobileTerminal steps section to make clear the need to enter the root user password before using the passwd command, as follows:
        "You’ll be prompted for the root user’s current password. Enter this: alpine"

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    • Thanks again, Patrick. I had already changed my passwords when I re-jailbroke, but I always appreciate your timely, thoughtful posts and this one is no exception; precise and clear as always. You've been a real asset to the JB community.

      • Thanks very much for the kind words – much appreciated!

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    • Dryata

      I don't use Open SSH, so shoulda I be okay? Or do I still need to change pw?

      • Well, a few thoughts on that:
        — If you do not use SSH at all on the iPhone, then you are not vulnerable to the two recent high-profile exploits (the Dutch hacker asking for 5 pounds / euros / whatever and the more recent Rick Roll one).
        — There's no guarantee though that future exploits will not be developed that use other core iPhone services. From that standpoint, if you are jailbroken and have the ability to do the password change then it is still a good practice to do so, in my view.

    • Danazman

      GREAT info…. BUT… I have a 3G… JB and unlocked… 3.1.2 and 05-11-07 baseband.

      Tried loading MobileTerminal…. reboot…. open the app and get a blank screen for about 3 secs then returns to springboard…. can't type anything on the black window.

      So…… I go into PuTTy… piece of cake!!! change the ROOT password without incident~ Then it gets interesting….

      After I change the ROOT password went to the instructions as stated above also which I pasted here:

      1. Once you have changed the root user’s password, type this to switch to the mobile user: login mobile
      2. Type this to start the password change for this user: passwd
      3. Type the old password (alpine) and new password (twice) as per the instructions above for the iPhone.

      Once I get to #2….I type passwd and get this msg: CANNOT CREATE LOCK FILE!

      That is as far as I get…. any help would be GREAT!!!!

      • Did you enter the password 'alpine' for the mobile user after typing login mobile? If not, try doing that before using the 'passwd' command. If you still get the same, try a reboot of the iPhone.

      • Thomas

        same thing happened to me…i solved problem…just login as "root"
        then "passwd mobile" ….it worked for me.



    • Danazman


      Thanks for the quick reply! once I type: login mobile, it automatically asks for 'alpine' BEFORE allowing access to the mobile$ directory. Once into mobile$ , I type passwd and get a msg: CANNOT CREATE LOCK FILE. Rebooted the phone…. still same issue.

      also… this is all thru PuTTy…. I still cannot get MobileTerminal to work on my iPhone… I gave up on it… something is wierd..

      • Hmmm, I imagine this may well be a permissions issue – but I don't know enough in that area to have other suggestions here. Perhaps others have thoughts?

      • Corbinhillis

        I am currently on an ipod touch 4g running ios 5.1.1 and couldnt open mobileterminal. after doing some searching i found and downloaded BigBoss Recommended Tools. now i can open and use MobileTerminal without any problems

    • Danazman

      As far as permissions…. I don't know…. I haven't messed with any permissions whatsover or done anything I shouldn't have… I'm pretty careful.

      Others should feel free to post up what they think could be related issues…. it would be most appreciated!

      thanks for the replies….

    • Just Trying To Help

      I know the root passwd is alpine. But isn't the mobile one dottie maybe that's your problem?

      • Nope. It was dottie in earlier firmwares.

        Sent from my iPhone

    • How to change Root password that i don't know you give me nice detail information for this thanks lot.

    • Dianne

      quick question i don't use SSH and mobile terminal on my iphone 3G that is jail broke. what i did was install mobile terminal and changed my password and uninstalled it again since i don't use it… is this ok?

      • That sounds good. The key point of this article was getting the default passwords changed and you've got that done it sounds like.

    • vedavis

      Saurik should build it into Cydia…no fuss, no muss.

    • Davey

      I have a jailbroken 3G but I have never installed OpenSSH. In SBS, I noticed SSH listed as in both the Selected and Ignored toggles. I turned those off. I just now changed my root passwd. Is this safe, turning off both SSHs and changing the root passwd, or will it create a security hole?

      • It sounds like you may not even have SSH installed. The way to confirm that is: check in Cydia under Manage > Packages and look for OpenSSH – if it's not there, then that confirms it's not around.
        With root's password changed and no SSH service installed, or SSH services kept turned off except when directly in use by you, you are pretty safe – at least in terms of all these recent exploits that use SSH as their attack vector.

    • David S

      Hi! I just worked my way through changing passwords on the iphone and when I began ssh'ing in the terminal, on my imac, I got stuck trying to reach my iphone. it says: 'port 22: Connection refused'
      I have disabled all firewalls there is here (software in OSX aswell as in the ThomsonRouter from my ISP)
      Still no luck.
      What is there to be done?

      /regards David S, sweden

      • David – generally for that error the top things to check are: make sure you have the SSH service On on the iPhone (via SBSettings or your preferred method), make sure you are selecting the correct protocol type in whichever desktop app you are using (varies by app), make sure you are entering the right username and password pair to connect with. Check out our guide to connecting via SSH for more help:

      • David S

        Ah yes! I had to install the ssh-application. with that running i got a whole lot easier. But the tutorial tells me to change the passwords from 'alpine' to my-own-password for root aswell as for user on the iPhone. And then again change the passwords from 'alpine' to my-own-password for root aswell as for user on the iPhone but this time from the terminal on my mac.
        But the old password is not 'alpine' anymore since I changed that on the iphone…. I dont get it.

        So what happened was that when I ssh'd into the iphone from my mac the password was already set to my-own-password. And even I now have set it to my-own-password I cant change it to anything.

        So I feel a bit unsure of if my iphone is open to malisious hacks right now or not. Is there a safe way for me to find out?

        (I'm sorry if my questions seems utterly stupid but this is the first time I hacked an iPhone)

        /regards David S, sweden

        • Oh – I think you missed one critical piece of advice in the post:
          "Please note – you only need to use one of these methods, not all three."
          If you have got things done via Mobile Terminal, you're done and good. I thought you were asking about SSHing in from a PC because you had * other * things you wanted to do via SSH.

          • David S

            Aaah! how blind one can be!
            Then I thank you for helpful tutorial.
            I am happy to be jailbroken!


      • David S

        Perhaps I should mention that it seems to sync and work very nicely though.

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    • Frank

      Great, worked like a charm, thanks!

    • Gigi

      Worked like a charm in 2 jailbroken iphones.

    • Jamie Watson

      Really helpful post, many thanks.
      I would just add that my MobileTerminal app didn’t start with the ‘iPhoneName: ~ Mobile$’ prompt UNTIL I had connected the iPhone to my Mac.

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    • Ok, so… I followed this a few weeks back, before Xmas… And I don't know what the fuck I've done, but the password and username I normally use for this type of shit is NOT working…

      Any way to reset to default? I guess not… or that would sort of defeat the fucking purpose, huh?


    • Rkhaleel

      I got a new iphone 3Gs last month Dec-09 but it is not taking the default password as alpine for root or mobile. Not sure if it is changed in the new version… can someone help.
      Thanks in advance.

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    • chel

      1. [login root]

      2. [alpine] this will log you in as root.

      3 [passwd] requests password change

      4 Type your new password

      5 Retype your password

      That’s it!

    • msh

      after i changed the password to new one my wifi stopped working on iphone. again I changed back my password to the old/dafault (apline) and the office wifi started working! how can i change the password and still get the wifi working?

      • Changing these user account passwords should not have any effect on connecting to any WiFi access point. Share some more detail and maybe someone will have a suggestion – but I can't think of any reason for that to be occurring right now.

    • Ivan Williams

      Google is your friend! I just jailbroke yesterday, and wanted to 'set' my security. I Google'd, and your Blog came up.
      Thanks for posting the steps to do this…

    • Now that is always a good thing to hear. Thanks for sharing Ivan.

    • Sunil

      how does changing the root pwd affect the restore of the iphone, if you wanted to go back for any potential warranty service from apple?

      • When you do a full restore the password will be reset to the default as part of that operation.

    • Tina

      This is the most thorough version of this tip I've seen so far. I'm glad you included instructions on how to do it from Mac and Windows. MobileTerminal wasn't loading for me, so I'm glad I found this article. Everything worked out I think. Thanks.

      • patrickj

        My pleasure – glad it was helpful for you.

    • lalala

      For everyone with the "CANNOT CREATE LOCK FILE" error while changing root pass: "d001phone" on sinful iphone has got the answer!

    • Steph

      Alright, MobileTerminal is crashing everytime I open it. It won't load at all. Can someone help me?

      • patrickj

        Try reinstalling it; or just go with connecting via SSH and change the password in an SSH session.

        • clueless in BC

          hi patrick,
          thanks for the support you offer…

          totally new to this so please bear w me. have reinstalled Mobileterminal a half dozen times and get same results as steph… don't have openSSH installed so the other option isn't currently viable.

          Should i install openSSH in order to do this, and if so i may be missing the point but isn't this all about addressing a security issue if you have SSH installed? In other words why install SSH so that i can install a security issue in it if i don't even have a clue as to why i would need SSH to begin with.

          As i said, i'm new and rather clueless so i may be missing something alltogether.


          • patrickj

            I would say that the best course of action might be to install OpenSSH, change the root password, then uninstall OpenSSH. That way you have changed the password – which has been exploited through more than just SSH attack vectors in the past, and can be again – but you have also only kept the SSH service around for a short time while it was needed.

            Security for any OS is not usually very black and white though – for example in regards to the iPhone being jailbroken provides you with the capability to see and do more on certain security issues (like this one), but at the same time the act of jailbreaking has opened up substantial areas of the file system (and at system levels) that are not open on a stock phone, hence making it inherently less secure. Swings and roundabouts.

    • Pow

      HELP! I installed mobile terminal tried to change the root password but no success. I get Iphone name : ~ mobile$ which I typed passwd and get "changing password for mobile. Old password: " which I typed alpine and get "sorry iPhone name : ~ mobile$." Any suggestions?

      • Tim Muston

        When you get a 'sorry' prompt, it means that you've netered the wrong password. I think the default password for mobile is dottie

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    • Ordinary Boy

      The best info ever received for Jailbreaking ipod
      thx heaps

    • Morten


      Great tutorial – followed it, works a charm.

      However, if you use iPhonefolders on your Windows based PC (easiest way to ssh I think) to ssh into your iPhone this program will not ask for password – you just enter straight into the file system, and you are at risk as I see it??

      How can this be? And is there a way to secure this?


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    • Awesome, Just like for Frank said in the comment above, it worked like a charm for me too!!!

    • Actually, changing the root password is one of the most important things to do – right off the get go.

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    • Nick

      Hi Parrick,

      I’m unable to change mobile or root passwd on mobileterminal. Says passwd incorrect for both dottie and alpine. Other than a full restore what can I do?

      How could the passwd not be the default ones?hacked?


    • Peter the noob

      Hi i tried to jailbreak ny iphone 4 (ios 4.3.3) with a guide from youtube with a program i think is called snowvreze maby not correct ( im new in this and dont really know what im doing and are sweede so i have problems with english) but wen the iphone was jailbroken i started cyndia downloaded open ssh and terminal…. Then i tried to start terminal but it appeard and then closed i wasnt able to wright anything. So i decided to try to reboot my iphone it restarted and never continued from apple logo so i decided ( got panic) to reinstall and delete the jailbreak it worked. So now i sitting with a iphone thats not jailbroken caus i dont know if i dare to trie it again plz can u help me

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    • Does anyone please know why I can’t make mobileterminal work on my jailbroken iPhone 3GS 4.2.1?
      I’m too lazy to actually change pwd on my PC/Mac -_-

    • Troytempest

      Mobile terminal has not been updated in a long time and does not work with IOS 4.3.3 and perhaps not with various other previous IOS’s. You can use ISSH with the IP address set as localhost instead. Or pTerm Host=localhost port=22 Protocol=SSH.

    • Troytempest

      P.S. You could try the Mobileterminal app in the xsellize repo see:
      http://cydia.xsellize.com its called MobileTerminal iOS, version 520-1 I think it’s a beta that never went any further but appears to work and it’s free.

      xsellize allegedly also contains pirated software which you should stay well clear of.

    • HELP! I installed mobile terminal tried to change the root password but no success.

    • Xora

      Followed Mac Instructions. SSH’d using Terminal and was able to change password. Did not change Mobile password. Exited terminal. Went to reSSH into iPad 2 to change Mobile. New password not recognized. “alpine” or “dottie” not recognized. alpine was recognized on the initial change prior to the new password being entered. The new password I put in is a common one I use so I’m certain I have it right. Also was able to type it in twice on the initial change. Have tried Mobile Terminal with no luck. Both versions (older one that is obviously not compatible beyond v2 and the one mentioned by Trouempest in post 100.) The second Mobile Terminal in fact does show me an outline of an iPhone app and says ….loading, but then goes back to the app view default. Understand Root on the Mac. Not 100% what root Mobile is. Have tried Terminal, and Fugu to remote into iPad, but always get shut out at the beggining with not having correct password. In Terminal I am typing ssh root@
      What I get back is:root@’s password:

      This is where I try entering all possibilities and ensure things are case specific.

      Anyone suggest another Terminal app (free?) that I might be able to load on the iPad to try and see if I can have any luck directly? The one in the app store is $9.99. If necessary I’ll fork out the ten bucks to see if it helps, but given that I can’t SSH remotely, I’m not sure it won’t just be a waste of money.

      Thanks for reading through this.
      Overall great tutorial!

    • Xora

      Managed to get back in again. Reinstalled OpenSSH on iPad again and was then able to SSh back in with password that I had changed. Then changed mobile account password and exited.

      Hope that helps anyone else who might have this issue.

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    • Nico

      Cool!! Thanks!!