Launch an AWS EC2 Instance from an iPad or iPhone

I couldn’t find any instructions online on how to launch an AWS EC2 instance from an iPad or iPhone.

The problem is generating an RSA key from an iPad. The AWS web interface doesn’t lend it’s self to allowing iOS devices to download the private RSA key.

It turns out you can generate an RSA key pair with the free Serverauditor SSH client for iOS. Heres how…

Open up the Serverauditor app on your iPhone / iPad and select ‘Keychain’ from the left hand menu. Serverauditor Keychain

Click the ‘+’ symbol. Plus Symbol

Select ‘New Key’. New Key

Give the new key a name and select ‘Save’. Create RSA Key

Now click ‘Edit’ at the top right. Click Edit

Select the key you just created, this time click ‘Edit’ at the top left. Edit Again

Select the ‘Public’ tab for the public key. Then select ‘Copy’. Public RSA Key

Now log into your AWS EC2 console and select ‘Key Pairs’ from the left hand menu. EC2 Menu

Select ‘Import Key Pair’. Import RSA Key

Enter a key pair name and paste in the public key you copied out of Serverauditor. Select ‘Import’. AWS Key Import Screen

You can see the new public key has been imported. Select ‘Instances’ from the left hand menu. AWS Menu - Instances

Select ‘Launch Instance’. Launch Instance

Select the image that you’d like to use for the new instance. I selected a 64-bit Ubuntu image. AWS Ubuntu Image

Select an instance type. I selected the ‘Free tier eligible’ ‘t2.micro’ instance type. Then select ‘Review and Launch’. AWS Instance Type

Scroll down to ‘Securty Groups’ and ensure that inbound SSH is allowed. If not you’ll need to select ‘Edit security groups’ and add an entry to allow inbound SSH connections.

Select ‘Launch’. Review Instance

From the first drop downs select ‘Choose an existing key pair’ and then from the second drop down, select the key we imported earlier. Tick the checkbox to indicate that understand you’ll lock yourself out of the newly created instance if this goes wrong. Select ‘Launch Instances’. Select Keypair

From the next screen select ‘View Instances’. View Instances

At the bottom of the instances page, select the ‘Description’ tab. Copy the ‘Public IP’ value. Instance IP

Open up Serverauditor, select ‘Quick Connect’ from the left hand menu. Enter the IP address you just copied into the ‘Host’ field. Enter the default username for the instance image you selected. I used Ubuntu, the default username for this image is ‘ubuntu’. Select the key icon. Quick Connect

Select the key you created in the app earlier. Key for connection

Select ‘Connect’. Quick Connect - Connect

Select ‘Continue’. SSH Warning

And there you are… SSH Session

12 thoughts on “Launch an AWS EC2 Instance from an iPad or iPhone”

  1. This worked perfectly for me until the last step, after I select “Continue” I am asked for a Username and Password, which I have not set up, any suggestions?

  2. Hi. Unfortunately, I keep getting a connection establishment time out error. This is similar to the Putty Fatal Error Network error: Connection timed out error that I keep getting. I’ve checked everything that the AWS documentation suggested: adding a security group rule allowing SSH from my computer to port 22, checked the rout table for a rout that sends all traffic outside the VPC to the Internet gateway, verified that the IG is attached to the VPC, checked there is a rout from 0.0.0.0/0 to the VPC as the target. I also checked the ACL to allow traffic to and from my laptop. Still no joy. I’m waiting for AWS support to assist with this, since I’ve paid for developer support. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Ernest

      I’m not sure what the answer is for your problem. Timed out does suggest that the initial 3 way handshake to set up the TCP session isn’t completing though. I’ve approved the post so that others might be able to help.

  3. I spoke too soon. Seems like I momentarily connected, but after looking at the terminal, the IP looked like the private IP. Also the user was “Fedora” instead of ec2-user. Will keep troubleshooting after I scan my laptop for viruses.

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