Those of us who were alive back in the day of DOS computing have a lot of memories of the old command prompt. Typing in commands with no mouse in sight is a relic by today’s standards, with DOS’s final release being on the 16th of September 2000. What many people don’t realize, however, is the flexibility and usefulness these types of commands offer and, also, that they are available on Android devices. Here we’ll go over exactly how you can access the command prompt on your Android device, and what you can do once you have it open.
Accessing the command prompt
Access for many of these devices isn’t locked, but it is hidden behind the idea that the concept would be wasted on most users. Because of this, the quickest and easiest way to access the command prompt is simply to download one of the many terminal emulators for Android. In just simply downloading and installing a trusted app, users can gain full access to wide range of commands and features.
While there are many of these to choose from, we recommend those which are well established and have a lot of positive reviews. Terminal Emulator for Android is a good starting bet, with over 113,000 downloads and a 4.4 rating. It also offers a lot of customization options like color, size and initial commands, for ease of access.
Why is this Possible?
In general terms, this option is available because mobile phones have been, for a long while now, bridging the gap between what they can do and what a desktop computer can do. It used to be that so many things were only possible with desktops but, today, these can be done quickly and efficiency from a device stored in your pocket. This is both due to an increase in the power of mobile devices, and the effort of software creators to cater to this exploding marketplace.
Work processing, for example, can be performed easily from a phone, especially with the larger screens of today and our better coordination in using touch-screen typing. Online messaging has made strides to the point where it can sometimes override the usefulness of mobile devices’ traditional text message systems. Facebook’s Messenger, for example, has become a popular replacement for many people, with alternatives for those who value online anonymity.
Games formally limited to PCs have expanded to immense popularity with mobile online infrastructure. In fact, King of Glory, a mobile game has become one of the biggest eSports game in the world, to the point where mainstream bookies like Betway allow bets to be placed on the outcome of matches. Even games like Bluehole’s PUBG, which are among the most popular ever released, now offer the experience over both desktop and mobile devices.
In short – mobile devices are becoming more powerful, useful, and ubiquitous, so it’s only natural that their use and usefulness continues to grow. It is also important to note that, like traditional desktops, they need to be maintained and cleaned to allow peak operation.
So, What can we Do?
The idea here is that by using these programs, users gain access to Linux command line utilities, on which Android is ultimately based. This means a great deal of insight for the advanced user, and some useful information for everyone else.
We can see this as a separate list of commands, to some degree, whose usefulness will depend on the specific user. Here are just a few examples of the commands we use, and why we find them so useful.
Note that there are far more commands out there than we can list in this one article, so check around online to see what else is on offer:
- Vmstat – This command gives us a snapshot of everything currently running in the system. This is useful because it allows us to identify possible bottlenecks.
- Chmod – This allows users to change the permissions of a file. Especially useful for those locked out of a file because of preset permission issues.
- Find – The search command. Just as useful here as it is on desktop computers when it comes to searching for individual files.
- Netstat – Displays network information in its current state. Another command that is great for assessing the current system standing, to identify problem areas.
- Mv – Used to either move or rename files. Simple to do, and always useful.
- Cmp – Command used to compare files and determine when they are identical. Especially helpful when files have been updated or manipulated.
Confused? Don’t worry, there are plenty of websites out there that can help teach you the basic ins and outs of the Linux Shell.
Learning to use the concepts in this article might take a little time but the command prompt is one of those skills which can be significantly more important and useful than it first appears. Think of this as an important diagnostic and statistical tool, one which is much more reliant on the users than on certain apps or programs.
Even with just a basic understanding under your belt, you can gain a lot of insight into how Android works, the challenges that developers face, and how you might correct your own problems should they ever rear their ugly heads. Just remember that there are some commands that you would be better off avoiding and that a bit of practice can make all of the difference.