Ever found yourself plugging a keyboard into your Raspberry Pi because you could be bothered to boot your PC to SSH, or found yourself desperately trying to remember the tiny computer’s IP address on your network?
There are a whole host of Android utilities that can be used by Raspberry Pi owners to make life easier, including a couple that are custom designed.
We’ve collected six of them together, all of which are free to install to Android phones and tablets.
It’s not often necessary to move files to your Raspberry Pi, but if this is something you require, AndFTP is a free app with a paid upgrade supporting FTP, FTPS, SCP, and SFTP.
Best of all, AndFTP isn’t limited to file transfer with your Raspberry Pi — you can use it to FTP to any supported device, whether that is your Pi or a web server.
Of course, if your Pi is your web server, then AndFTP should definitely be installed on your Android device! AndFTP also supports configuration file imports from Filezilla, so any sites you have setup in your desktop FTP can be quickly setup on Android.
Less functional than the other apps in this list, RPiREF is nevertheless just as important. If you’ve ever been stuck trying to remember how the GPIO pins are arranged, this app has a full reference of all pins and headers.
Better still, the information is presented very clearly, so you will only need to glance at the relevant reference page to find the pin you’re looking for.
RPiREF has also been updated to feature the new 40-pin GPIO of the Raspberry Pi B+.
Why would you need a network scanning tool like Fing on your Android device? Well, for a Raspberry Pi user, this could be the answer to one of the most common problems — forgetting the device IP address.
This ad-free app will discover all devices connected to a Wi-Fi network, without limit, also displaying MAC address and manufacturer details, and offers search by MAC, IP, and also vendor. Next time you need to find the IP address for your Raspberry Pi prior to connecting via SSH, launch Fing, check the IP, and enter it into the SSH app — simple!
One of the most important things you should do with your Raspberry Pi is enable SSH for secure remote connections over a network. This can have considerable benefits, especially if you need to access your Pi while it is performing a particular task (such as home automation).
ConnectBot is a fast and easy SSH client for Android, capable of handling multiple simultaneous SSH sessions and creating secure tunnels, and it supports copy/paste between your Android and the target device.
Although the quickest way to connect to SSH on your Android device, some handsets don’t manage the display too well on this app, so you might consider JuiceSSH as an alternative.
The standard Android keyboard isn’t really any good for entering command line instructions (something you’ll probably need to do if connecting over SSH to your Raspberry Pi device) which is where the Hacker’s Keyboard comes in handy. Arguably more useful on devices with a larger screen or tablets, this app offers a standard keyboard layout for Android, with all of the characters — alpha-numeric and punctuation — where you would expect to find them.
Also featuring Tab, Ctrl, Esc, and arrow keys, Hacker’s Keyboard will probably prove vital for communicating with your Pi from your Android phone or tablet. At the very least it should save you some time. Many international keyboard layouts are included, while the developer has also provided international dictionaries as optional plugins should you wish to use Hacker’s Keyboard more widely.
Rather than sending files by FTP or gaining command line access through SSH, what if you needed to setup a remote connection to the GUI in Raspbian or some other Pi distro?
To start with, you would need to have TightVNC installed on your Raspberry Pi. This will accept the connection, but to get a reproduction of your Raspberry Pi desktop on your Android device, you’ll need AndroidVNC.
With a keyboard and a settings screen to manage how the mouse behaves and to send special keys (such as CTRL-ALT-DEL), AndroidVNC simplifies what might otherwise be a complicated mess of options. Not so great for smaller screens, AndroidVNC is perfect for phablets and tablets.
What Do You Use?
We’ve picked six of the most vital, must-have Android apps for Raspberry Pi uses for this collection but we’re sure that you might be using some different apps.
What have we missed? Is there a killer app for Android that enhances your Raspberry Pi use on a daily basis?
Let us know below!