iPad pro as a Linux machine

Work in progress.
I bought my iPad mainly for note-taking during classes. Now that I have graduated, my iPad has been collecting dust ever since. Recently, I learned about this new open-source project that is essentially an Alpine Linux emulator on iOS, iSH. I'm exploring possibilities of using iPad pro as a daily driver.
Today, I still recommend against doing this. This is due to the following disadvantages:
  • iSH frequently freezes if I leave it open for around 20 min.
  • The CPU does not have MMX support. This means simple programs such as micro cannot load in iSH.
Also, this article does not yet carry the topic too far.


  1. 1.
    Install iSH.
  2. 3.
    Do yourself a favor and make an alias in your ~/.profile:
    alias ipad="ssh -t [email protected] 'tmux a -t iPad || tmux new -s iPad'"

Things to do every time at boot

To prevent iSH from freezing when you switch to other apps:
cat /dev/location > /dev/null &
To start SSH server:

Adding a top-like tool

One thing I would love to do is monitoring system performance. My usual go-to tool is htop, which -- sadly -- does not yet work on iSH. Therefore, I have to turn to an alternative, python-based tool called ptop.
  1. 1.
    Install dependencies:
    apk add python3 gcc python3-dev musl-dev linux-headers
    (Reason to install python3-dev, musl-dev, linux-headers)
  2. 2.
    Install ptop with pip:
    pip3 install ptop
Sadly, this also does not work.