Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I sometimes use a BlueTooth keyboard with my iPhone, which is lovely for writing emails, but I run into difficulties when using terminal on the iPhone - I like to edit files with vi(m), which requires quite a lot of presses of the escape key, but every time I press escape, the iPhone interprets that as a request to go back to the home screen and sends me out of the app.

Any ideas?

share|improve this question
Is the iPhone jailbroken? – MattiSG Jan 16 '12 at 21:08
Does ctrl+[ work? – Nathan Greenstein Jan 16 '12 at 21:57
Yes, sorry, jailbroken :) – Joe Jan 16 '12 at 22:05
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Terminal hasn't been updated for nearly a year now, so unfortunately there are some imperfections as things change in iOS. But for this case, though, I believe the escape key is actually controlled by SpringBoard, not any apps, which means Terminal can't capture and send the escape key to the command-line program.

The iPhone Wiki article on Terminal has information on keyboard shortcuts, and it says that the key shortcut for escape is Ctrl + [ ( + [ on the virtual keyboard).

However, if my assumptions above are correct, the only way to use the real escape key would be to write a tweak to redirect the escape command to Terminal.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.