I'm connecting to this Google phone via adb, I need to change a character inside of a text file, and I would use vi, or maybe sed -i, or even pico if nothing else helps, but I don't find any well known CLI editor.

How do you Android Enthusiasts do this? I mean, short of copying the file back and forth?

/system/bin/sh: vi: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # pico
/system/bin/sh: pico: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # nano
/system/bin/sh: nano: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # vim
/system/bin/sh: vim: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # sed
/system/bin/sh: sed: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # emacs
/system/bin/sh: emacs: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # apropos editor
/system/bin/sh: apropos: not found
127|root@generic_x86:/ # 
  • There isn't any standard editor - you use what works for you. You can search for one Izzy's list [Notes] (android.izzysoft.de/applists/category/named/office_notes) or better text editors for developers
    – beeshyams
    Sep 16, 2018 at 13:42
  • To clarify, Android doesn't have any built in editor
    – beeshyams
    Sep 16, 2018 at 13:45
  • 1
    hi, thanks, I feared so much. But these lists only have graphic editors, to be used from the android screen itself, isn't it? I had hoped for some CLI tools. (I'll have a look at the Vim port, I guess. thank you again.)
    – mariotomo
    Sep 16, 2018 at 13:53
  • 1
    @mariotomo Did you try to launch vim or nano? I run LineageOS and can start them.
    – Grimoire
    Sep 16, 2018 at 15:31
  • 1
    Try out Termux.
    – iBug
    Sep 16, 2018 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


As mentioned, I would be happy with sed. Still as later mentioned in a comment, I am in a virtual environment, so no trouble dropping one OS and start using the newer one.

Apparently, my problem was staying in Android 5.1. Starting version 6 Android includes ToyBox, a rather limited alternative to BusyBox, legally compatible with the non-free license of Android.

The ToyBox hint comes from the author of droidvim.

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