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How to Run VS Code on iPad

Note: This tutorial is based on code-server v3.8.0, CentOS 8.2.

It is highly recommended to install the code-server service using Docker Compose.
With just one command, you can deploy it without the need for background configuration and it comes with built-in Git and other environments.
For more details, please refer to: Homelab - Online Code Editor code-server

If you do not want to deploy it using Docker Compose, please continue reading.

Configure the Server

First, you need a server that runs 24/7 (it is recommended to buy an Alibaba Cloud / Tencent Cloud student server, which costs only ¥9.9/month).
To ensure a good user experience, it is recommended to have the following server configuration:

  • 2 cores or more
  • 1GB of RAM or more

Install Linux (here I use CentOS 8.2) and make sure that SSH can be connected to it.

Install code-server

In the latest version (≥v3.8.0), you can directly use the script to install it:

curl -fsSL | sh

If you find that it takes a long time to download, it is probably due to DNS pollution. Refer to GitHub Host Modification for a solution.

Run code-server

Use the following command:

export PASSWORD="Set an access password" && code-server --port 80 --host --auth password

If no errors occur, open a browser and enter the IP address of the server to access an online VS Code.

Configure Background Running

The code-server running in the foreground will end the process when SSH exits.
To run it in the background, we can use the screen program (which can be understood as a container).

Install screen

yum install screen

Create a screen job

screen -S VSCode-online # VSCode-online is a name of your choice

Start the code-server service

export PASSWORD="Set an access password" && code-server --port 80 --host --auth password

If everything goes smoothly, you can access it by entering the IP address in the browser.


Add Desktop Shortcut

If you are using an iPad, you can open it in the Safari browser, click on the Share icon in the upper right corner, and then select Add to Home Screen.
You can use it as if it were an app and hide the browser status bar.
By the way, external keyboards and mice are also supported.

Other Operations with screen

  • View the running job ID: screen -ls
  • Re-enter a running screen job: screen -r job_id # The job ID needs to include the prefix number identifier
  • Terminate the execution of a specific job: screen -X -S job_id quit
  • Exit the screen interface of the current job: Ctrl + A + D
  • Accessing via the Internet: By default, the code-server service only runs locally ( To access it via IP, you can add the --host parameter.
  • Specifying the running port: --port xxxx, you can replace xxxx with 8888; or it can be 80 (using the HTTP protocol, directly access via IP without adding a port number).
  • Setting an access password: Add --auth password; if not needed, do not add any parameters or add --auth none.

Installing Git

Using VS Code with Git makes cloud development easier. You can install Git using the following command:

yum install git

Accessing via a Domain Name

Accessing through the server IP may seem strange, so we can bind a custom domain name to access the code-server service. Purchase a domain name and add the server IP in the DNS resolution using the A record type.

Current Version Bugs and Solutions

  • Unable to synchronize user settings through the built-in Settings Sync service in VS Code: You can solve this by installing the Settings Sync plugin.
  • Settings Sync encounters errors when redirecting to GitHub login: Configure it using a computer browser.
  • Unable to scroll the page properly using a mouse wheel on an iPad: Currently, you can only use direct touch scrolling or use the keyboard arrow keys as alternatives.

References and Acknowledgments

Original: This post is protected by CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 agreement, should be reproduced with attribution.

This post is translated using ChatGPT, please feedback if any omissions.