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SSH and SCP (Windows)

Using the Sailfish command line on the Terminal app is ok for small tasks. However, if there is a need to type plenty of long commands, copy-pasting them perhaps, and to easily view the results, then we recommend that you connect to your Sailfish device from a computer with SSH.


You must unlock the device lock and the encryption of your phone before you can make an SSH connection to the phone. In other words, the phone must be on and unlocked. See these articles: device lock and encryption.

Preparing the connection

Make sure you have the Developer mode enabled on your Sailfish device. If not, see this article. Check that you have the SSH password set in “Settings > Developer tools > Remote connection”.


Connect a USB cable between your PC and your Sailfish device. Choose “Developer mode” on the device display at the moment of connection.

On Sailfish, the address of the USB connection is the fixed It appears in the commands of this document.


Ensure that both your PC and your Sailfish device are connected to the same WLAN network (SSID). Check the WLAN IP address of your device in “Settings > System > Developer mode”. This address varies between different devices.

When you no longer need the SSH connection we recommend that you disable remote connections in “Settings > System > Developer tools”). Having the option open makes your device vulnerable to unwanted connection attempts.

SSH session

Open the Terminal of your Sailfish device. Note that there are two different usernames depending on the Sailfish OS version on your phone:  ‘defaultuser’ and ‘nemo’. Only the correct one works. You can check it from the prompt of the Terminal app of the phone or with the command below (before getting root rights).

echo $USER

It replies either nemo or defaultuser. If you should get root then do exit first and try again.

Create the SSH connection with the correct command (matching your username). In the examples of this document, we will use the more common name ‘defaultuser’.

Get the Putty app for the SSH session

Install the Putty application on the PC. Once done, open Putty.


1) Set the host name

If you connect with USB, type defaultuser@ into the “Host Name (or IP address)” box (see the picture).

If you connect with WLAN, type defaultuser@xxx.yyy.zzz.qqq into the “Host Name (or IP address)” box. Replace xxx.yyy.zzz.qqq with the current WLAN IP address from “Settings > System > Developer tools”. The picture below shows where to find the address.

  • WLAN IP WLAN IP address of Sailfish phone

2) Check that SSH is selected for the connection type.

  • Typing hostname Typing the hostname

3) Click Open. The terminal window of Putty appears (black background - see the picture below)

4) Type your SSH password

You are now in the directory /home/defaultuser of your Sailfish device.

  • SSH connection created with Putty SSH connection created with Putty


Check what is in the home directory:

**ls -l**

Check the repositories required for over-the-air updates of Sailfish OS

**ssu lr**


If the connection attempt fails, disconnect the phone from the PC. Restart the phone (consider restarting the PC, too).  Try again.

Use the ping command to verify the connection. When the connection is on successfully, it is possible to issue the ping to address with root rights (see the picture below).

  • Putty ping Using ping at Putty terminal to verify the SSH connection

SCP session

The SCP connection allows you to transfer files between your phone and your Ubuntu computer.

Prepare in the same way as in the chapter “Preparing the connection” above. Then use various commands to copy files between the two devices. There are some examples below.

The following should work on Windows 10 if you have installed the support for SSH and SCP protocols on your Windows computer. The commands below can be given in the PowerShell application or in the CMD terminal but it may be best to install Putty to Windows and then the add-on PSCP (see this web page).

Over USB


1) Copy the file “User-manual.txt” from Ubuntu (from the current directory) to the home directory on your phone:

scp User-manual.txt  defaultuser@

2) Copy the directory “Scripts” from Ubuntu to the directory “test” on your phone. Note the attribute “-r” which makes it copy the entire directory tree:

scp -r Scripts/  defaultuser@

3) Copy the file “journal.log” from your phone to Ubuntu (to the current directory):

scp defaultuser@ ./

4) Copy all “.log” files from the phone directory /var/log to the Ubuntu directory /testdir/logs:

scp defaultuser@*.log /testdir/logs/


Replace the USB address with the current WLAN IP address of your Sailfish device in the examples above.