On the Android.SE sister site I asked if Android has a built-in shell, but as it seems to be turning out there is no such thing. So instead, I'm looking for a recommendation for an app to do this.

As you can read in the other question, this is not meant for heavy use, merely to test something that requires me to run a short shell command. To be precise, this command:

cat /sys/class/typec/typec_device/current_detect

I'll probably keep the app if it's lightweight if I'd every need to do something similar again.


  • Must have

    • Gratis
    • Android 6.0+
    • Runs well on Nexus 6P with its stock Android version
    • Very light weight, no background stuff etc., just for on-demand execution of short commands
    • "Trustworthy", or to put it less vaguely: from a trusted/well-known source, and/or with open source for the app itself
    • The ability to run the above command
    • The ability to run commands straight on the device, without having to hook up my phone to a PC
  • Should have

    • As few permissions as possible, preferably no more than strictly required to run the above command.
  • Nice to have

    • Easy to use
    • Pretty
    • Ability to run commands from my PC when the device is connected

Anything you'd recommend?

  • Should it just run locally, or would a built-in SSH client be a good plus?
    – Izzy
    Nov 12, 2016 at 21:29
  • I would like to be able to run commands without using another device (e.g. a PC), I'll add it to the question.
    – Jeroen
    Nov 12, 2016 at 21:30
  • 1
    OK, sorry for the delay – had to finish the answer first. I originally had another app in mind, but it wouldn't match your requirements that well: JuiceSSH is a gread "console" client offering local and remote terminals. But it's a little bigger, not open source, and the full version not free. Be welcome to see my list of terminal apps for alternatives :)
    – Izzy
    Nov 12, 2016 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


From your description, Termux seems to be the best match:

  • Gratis: Yes, and open-source. Hence the link goes to F-Droid.
  • Android 6: Android 5.0 and up supported
  • Runs well on…: Can't test. Runs well on my devices :)
  • Very light weight …: Yes. APK weights 156 kB only. But you can extend features if needed.
  • Trustworthy: I'd say so. Open source hosted on Github, checked and compiled by F-Droid.
  • The ability to run the above command: LOL Yes, that and a lot more.
  • The ability to run commands straight on the device …: Definitely. No additional hardware required.
  • As few permissions as possible: Just 5, and easy to explain:
    • Read/write storage: You certainly want to be able to copy files from a terminal, right?
    • Internet: to download additional features if you tell it to.
    • Vibration: to notify you, in case of
    • prevent sleep: I'd assume to keep the screen on while you're working with it
  • Easy to use as a terminal can be (if you know the commands), pretty black background, and works even with your PC connected :D

Termux Termux
Termux Screenshots. The second shows the htop command, which you can install from within.

  • Love the fact that this app lets me apt install python! Nov 13, 2016 at 4:49
  • 1
    @SteveBarnes and a bunch of other useful things. That's what I meant saying it's small but extensible – so it meets Jeroen's requirements, and still can be made a full-fledged "console center" (almost a mini Linux distri ;)
    – Izzy
    Nov 13, 2016 at 10:06
  • This was absolutely excellent for my use case, thank you very much.
    – Jeroen
    Nov 13, 2016 at 12:49
  • Glad to read that, @Jeroen – I already expected as much :) Enjoy!
    – Izzy
    Nov 13, 2016 at 13:44
  • 1
    Concerning the final point, "Ability to run commands from my PC when the device is connected", with Termux you might be able to install OpenSSH and do that over the network. I don't think it can be done through the usb cable, though.
    – Andrew
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:18

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