SSH into your Mac from your Symbian phone

Sometimes we all wish we could access our home computer with our phone wherever we are just to check on something or do some menial task. If you have a Symbian phone and your computer runs Mac OS X, that’s possible! You can do it with any Unix box, in fact. You won’t have a visual interface and it will only be useful to those of you who are used to Unix console commands, but if you are indeed used to them you already know you can do pretty much everything you feel like on your machine with them.

This guide will not cover what SSH is nor teach you unix console commands. What this guide will teach you is how to get a SSH client in your Symbian phone and get it to work with Mac OS X.

Mac OS X, like any unix box, lets you access your machine remotely through SSH. In Mac OS X it even comes pre-installed, all you have to do is activate it. To do this, open your System Preferences pane and click on Sharing. On the Sharing screen, add a checkmark on the Remote Login service like on the following picture.

It is advisable to change the default port SSH uses to something not easily guessed. I won’t get into details about that. You can test your connection by opening a Terminal window and typing “ssh” or whatever IP you currently have. If a login window preceded by a question if you are willing to accept the crypto key shows up, your SSH server is up and running.

Next up, you’ll need to install PuTTy in your Symbian phone. You can get it here. Launch it and start a new profile. Insert the name you want to use for this profile, the target computer’s IP and login name. This is your short username, not your long one on OS X.

Move back into the main program’s window and select the target host you just created. You will be prompted for a password.

Once you fill in the password field, you will be logged into you Mac OS X box and can start exploring the wonderful world of  the unix console.

As an example you can type “python -m SimpleHTTPServer” to start a http server with your current directory tree at http://$HOSTNAME:8000/. Pretty useful to quickly retrieve files through http to another computer or even your phone.

Hope you find this info useful. Feel free to add a comment with any question you might have.