Serial Port on the iPhone with Minicom

This will be a little tutorial on how to set up Minicom on your iPhone or iPod Touch to view incoming serial data. I hope to continue this with Python or maybe even Obj-C. Click on (some) pictures to enlarge.


Jailbroken iPhone or iPod Touch

Charge Connector (MJS or Sparkfun)

Serial Data Source (Arduino in my case)

Computer/Wifi network


  1. Install Minicom, Terminal OpenSSH, and Toggle SSH from Cydia

    This step should be pretty self-explanitory, If you can't do this and can't google, then you probably shouldn't continue on.

  2. SSH into your iPhone

    Obtain your IP Address from Settings or the SBSettings App.


    Start up the SSH Server


    Go into Putty, enter the IP, and create a new SSH Session

    Putty Connection Screen

    On the "Potential Security Breach," click Yes

    And Login as Root with Password "Alpine"

    Login Screen

    And Your In!

  3. Make a Directory

    Do a "CD .." twice, which whould put you in the root of the filesystem at /

    After Login

    Now do "CD usr"

    And "MkDir etc"


  4. Start up Minicom in configuration mode

    Simple: "Minicom -s"

    Starting Minicom

  5. Setup iPhone Port

    Arrow down 2, to Serial port setup and press enter

    Serial Port Settings

    First, press A and change "/dev/ttyS1" to "/dev/tty.iap" and press Enter

    Changing to tty.iap

    Then press E and adjust to whatever serial source you are using. I used 19200 8N1 for my Arduino.

    Comm Parameters

  6. Save and Exit

    Press Enter until you return to the main screen, arrow down to "Save setup as dfl," and press enter.

    Save Setup

    And press "Exit from Minicom"

    You can now close the Putty Session.

  7. Hardware Setup

    This will vary depending on your Serial input and iPod connector, but here's mine:



    In this case, I have the Serial TX from the Arduino connected to the RX of the iPod through a 1K resistor, for 5v to 3.3v. I also have the common ground connected. The Arduino is reading data from a Wii nunchuck through a Wiichuck Board and sending it out at 19200 Bps. Remember level changing for 5v and 12v sources!!

  8. Read the Data

    Power on your serial source.

    Open up the Terminal on the iPhone, type in "Minicom," and press enter.

    You should see serial data streaming in.

    Serial Info Coming in

    And your done!

PS. If anyone has experience with graphical Python on the iPhone, I would love to collaborate on an app. I have tested and the Python serial library will run on the iPhone. Contact Me.

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