In my terminal app when I type ls /? it gives me ls /d. Where can I find the other options? For example I want to list the file attributes and file length. I have tried also busybox to no avail.

  • 2
    The /? is a Windows/DOS thing. It generally has no meaning under Linux/Unix. If ls on Android provides a help page it's probably ls --help (as it is on a desktop Linux distro). Jun 26, 2013 at 0:05
  • This I have also tried to no avail?
    – Micromega
    Jun 26, 2013 at 0:11
  • It might be helpful to include your phone model / ROM and list the output of busybox ls --help. Jun 26, 2013 at 0:46

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you want the extremely common

ls -l

For reference, the complete busybox help for ls:

BusyBox v1.21.0-Stericson (2013-01-28 21:49:55 GMT) multi-call binary.

Usage: ls [-1AaCxdLHRFplinsehrSXvctu] [-w WIDTH] [FILE]...

List directory contents

        -1      One column output
        -a      Include entries which start with .
        -A      Like -a, but exclude . and ..
        -C      List by columns
        -x      List by lines
        -d      List directory entries instead of contents
        -L      Follow symlinks
        -H      Follow symlinks on command line
        -R      Recurse
        -p      Append / to dir entries
        -F      Append indicator (one of */=@|) to entries
        -l      Long listing format
        -i      List inode numbers
        -n      List numeric UIDs and GIDs instead of names
        -s      List allocated blocks
        -e      List full date and time
        -h      List sizes in human readable format (1K 243M 2G)
        -r      Sort in reverse order
        -S      Sort by size
        -X      Sort by extension
        -v      Sort by version
        -c      With -l: sort by ctime
        -t      With -l: sort by mtime
        -u      With -l: sort by atime
        -w N    Assume the terminal is N columns wide
        --color[={always,never,auto}]   Control coloring
  • Solved! It was 2 ls installed and I deleted the one linked to toolbox. But what is toolbox?
    – Micromega
    Jun 26, 2013 at 8:37
  • Probably it is the phone vendor's custom version of busybox. Or it could be anything. Jun 26, 2013 at 13:06

I would generally not expect /? to provide meaningful output, because it's really a DOS/Windows thing. Linux/Unix command option are typically passed with hyphens, either a single one for short flags (for example, ls -l) or two hyphens for verbose ones (e.g. --help). Two possibilities that you can try:

  1. If you're using a version provided by busybox, you can use busybox ls --help. Doing this without the call to busybox at the front of the command may not yield any results (e.g. CyanogenMod just responds with unknown option '--' if I try ls --help).
  2. The Linux man page for ls is readily available online. The options there are probably not all implemented in the Android binary, but it will give you a bit of an overview. You can also check the man page for busybox, which has all of the commands it implements as well as the options they support. I am not sure if the Android version implements all the same commands/options, but it very well may.
  • I tried with and without busybox to no avail.
    – Micromega
    Jun 26, 2013 at 0:32
  • The help can be omitted from a busybox build. When omitted, you can't get help/usage information from busybox commands. Jun 26, 2013 at 0:35

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