I'm still learning how to use the terminal. I know the dangers of fiddling with it. But I want to use the terminal emulator app to navigate my phone(messaging, camera, launch applications, etc) from the command line. What are the commands and where should I start

  • Do you want to run apps via comman line?
    – user108993
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 17:37
  • If it's possible, yes. I'd like to be able to, say I get a text. Instead of tapping the messages icon, I want to be able to enter something into the command line and the app opens. Kinda like if you type( gnome-system-monitor. ) the processes menu pops up on ubuntu Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


My first suggestion would be to take a Nandroid backup (requires a custom Recovery) first if you've had an unpleasing incident on some other OS, or want to recover from one after fiddling with terminal on Android.

I want to use the terminal emulator app to navigate my phone(messaging, camera, launch applications, [and so on).]

Messaging and Camera (UI not HW) are also apps in Android and are accessed in the manner similar to other apps (they have their .apk in /system/app). The most common way to access an app is to call its component or activity using am command. Consider this as an example to use am. See more examples on Stack Overflow like:

am will only launch a part of the app and possibly would need root access if called without ADB(has higher privilege then a normal user). So how would you interact with the app from command line?

For that, I prefer to use Android keyevent or Pointer location (under Developer options) combined with the input command. See:

You would now be able to launch an app with UI and can use the app rather easily from command-line.

What are the commands?

I'm not aware of all the commands but you can take a look at /system/bin and /systen/xbin (like /bin and /sbin in GNU/Linux). You'll need root access to use some of them. (See Busybox too.)

Where should I start?

Well, I'm unaware of a crash-course and I would advise to work on an issue or a possibility to learn the know-how of terminal rather easily. Try this answer for a start.

Good Luck!


You can try your hand on Qpython Basically QPython is a script engine which runs Python programs on android devices.

It includes libraries like SL4A and Android Helper which can do all the things you mentioned via its terminal.

You can also install only SL4A HERE is information about it. An excerpt from site on installation

SL4A is really easy to install. The application is distributed as an APK, the standard format for Android apps, so it can be installed in the same way. However, before installing apps from 'unknown sources', you need to allow that on your device. If you haven't already, open your device's main Settings menu, open the Security menu, then "allow installation of non-Market apps" by checking the Unknown Sources option. Now you're ready to install the Scripting Layer.

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