Running R on an iPhone/iPad with RStudio

This thread has been widely discussed on a lot of forums. To make a long story short, running natively R on an iDevice (meaning iPhone/iPad) is disabled by its OS, unless it is jailbroken. The steps for the installation through Cydia are described in this R wiki, or this post. But there are some limitations, including bugs in package management. Running R directly seems not to be the more sensible way to proceed: smartphones lack so much power for that, you would do it just for fun. Typing R code on a small keyboard is quite tedious. But is manageable on a larger one (iPad, Galaxy Tab).

There could be another short-term solution to use R on an iDevice (or any other smartphone). As explained on this introduction to RStudio, the novel IDE can be launched directly on the Web, while running on a server. This would be an easier and safer solution than jailbreaking the mobile, which would have a number of benefits, including: the ability to access and share your files from anywhere (with an Internet connection), to benefit from more powerful computing resources (of your server), and to focus on a single configuration of R (for packages).

But there is a but, because the RStudio development team is still working on it. It is close to working (it is possible to click on tabs and menus) but not yet possible to get the keyboard to initialize and to type in the console. Yet executing the code can be done by clicking on Run line(s)+Enter. It is not a lot for now, but is a good start.

Published by Julyan Arbel

Researcher at Inria Grenoble Rhône-Alpes

16 thoughts on “Running R on an iPhone/iPad with RStudio

  1. This post is well in place,
    I wrote about the topic a while ago, and didn’t think of mentioning RStudion for it now that it is available, good catch!

    I feel very optimistic about what they will achieve in the next couple of years 🙂


    1. lol, l’iPad aura un peu de mal à faire tourner ces monstres. Mais c’est une bonne question, existe-t-il une version “sur serveur” de Matlab, et de Maple? aujourd’hui R a cet avantage comparatif!

  2. Super geeky –love it! I just got RStudio server running on my 12-core MacPro and I’ll have to try and run it on my iPad.

    BTW, getting the server edition up and running on OSx Lion took a bit of troubleshooting to figure out. If anyone is interested in fiddling with R on your iOS device, but only have access to an OSx computer, I’ve documented the procedure for getting RStudio server running on OSx Lion here:

  3. Hey everybody,

    R is already running on any device, including tablets – on . It is web based and you don’t have to install anything. And you don’t even need to buy expensive servers, StatAce provides them (they are BIG).

    An important thing – there will ALWAYS be a FREE version of it 🙂

    This is the next generation R IDE, so check it out !

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