Nix-on-droid: Nix-enabled environment for your Android device (termux-based)

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Get it on F-Droid

Nix package manager on Android, in a single-click installable package. This is
not full NixOS running inside Android, but you get easy
access to nixpkgs’ vast collection of
(precompiled!) software and the best package manager under the sun. It’s
prototype-grade quality as of now, but hey, it works!

It does not require root, user namespaces support or disabling SELinux,
but it relies on proot and other hacks instead.
It uses a fork
of Termux-the-terminal-emulator app,
but has no relation to Termux-the-distro.
Please do not pester Termux folks about Nix-on-Droid.

This repository contains:

  1. Nix expressions that generate a bootstrap zipball,
    which is then used to install Nix package manager on Android
    along with the nix-on-droid executable.
  2. A module system for configuring the local Nix-on-Droid installation directly
    on the device.

It is only tested with aarch64 (64-bit ARM devices).
It also used to compile for i686 devices, but the developers don’t own any
and nobody has reported whether it actually worked or not,
so it’s no longer built unless a user shows up.
Sorry, it would not work on 32-bit ARM devices
and it’s not an easy feat to pull off.

Try it out

Install it from F-Droid,
launch the app, press OK,
expect many hundreds megabytes of downloads to happen.

Nix-on-Droid and the module system

Config file

The Nix-on-Droid system can be managed through a custom config
file in ~/.config/nixpkgs/nix-on-droid.nix as generated on first build,
for example:

{ pkgs, ... }:

  environment.packages = [ pkgs.vim ];
  system.stateVersion = "22.11";

An alternative location is ~/.config/nixpkgs/config.nix with the key
nix-on-droid, for example:

  nix-on-droid =
    { pkgs, ... }:

      environment.packages = [ pkgs.vim ];
      system.stateVersion = "22.11";

See for list of all available options.

home-manager integration

To enable home-manager you simply need to follow the instructions already provided in the example nix-on-droid.nix:

  1. Add home-manager channel:

    nix-channel --add home-manager
    nix-channel --update
  2. Configure home-manager:

    { pkgs, ... }:
      # Read Nix-on-Droid changelog before changing this value
      system.stateVersion = "22.11";
      # insert Nix-on-Droid config
      home-manager.config =
        { pkgs, ... }:
          # Read home-manager changelog before changing this value
          home.stateVersion = "22.11";
          # insert home-manager config
      # or if you have a separate home.nix already present:
      home-manager.config = ./home.nix;

nix-on-droid executable

This executable is responsible for activating new configurations:
Use nix-on-droid switch to activate the current configuration and
nix-on-droid rollback to rollback to the latest build.

For more information, please run nix-on-droid help.

Build Nix-on-Droid on your own

The terminal emulator part
is probably not interesting for you, just download and use a prebuilt one.
If you really want to rebuild it, you can just use Android Studio for that.

The zipball generation is probably what you are after.
Get an x86_64 computer with flake-enabled Nix.

tl;dr: Use the deploy app like the following which executes all steps mentioned below:

# or run the following for explanation of this script
nix run “.#deploy””>

nix run ".#deploy" -- <public_url> <rsync_target>
# or run the following for explanation of this script
nix run ".#deploy"


nix build ".#bootstrapZip" --impure

Put the zip file from result on some HTTP server
and specify the parent directory URL during the installation.
To re-trigger the installation, you can use
‘clear data’ on the Android app (after backing stuff up, obviously).

If you want to change the Nix-on-Droid channel to your custom one,
you can do that either with nix-channel after the installation,
or by setting the environment variable NIX_ON_DROID_CHANNEL_URL.
Other environment variables are NIXPKGS_CHANNEL_URL an

Note: The proot binary is not built on the android device
(NDK is required for building it, and it’s not available on mobile platforms).
The way we work around it is to push proot derivation to cachix.
The current workaround is to hardcode the path to the wanted proot nix store
path in modules/environment/login/default.nix. During evaluation time on
the android device this store path will be downloaded from the binary cache
( This in return means the proot
derivation has to be present there or in any other binary cache configured
in the nix.conf on the device.

Obviously it’s an annoyance if one wants to fork this repo and test something.
To minimize the hassle with this scenario, proot derivation is also bundled
with the bootstrap zipball. This way you only need your own binary cache
if you are planning to maintain a long-term fork that users can update from.
In case you only care about updates through wiping the data,
or are forking to submit a one-off pull request,
you shouldn’t need a binary cache for that.

Nix flakes

Note: Nix flake support is still experimental at the moment and subject to change.

Examples / templates

A minimal example could look like the following:

  description = "Minimal example of Nix-on-Droid system config.";

  inputs = {
    nixpkgs.url = "github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-22.11";

    nix-on-droid = {
      url = "github:t184256/nix-on-droid/release-22.11";
      inputs.nixpkgs.follows = "nixpkgs";

  outputs = { self, nixpkgs, nix-on-droid }: {

    nixOnDroidConfigurations.default = nix-on-droid.lib.nixOnDroidConfiguration {
      modules = [ ./nix-on-droid.nix ];


For more examples and nix flake templates, see templates directory or explore with:

nix flake init --template github:t184256/nix-on-droid#advanced

Usage with nix-on-droid

Use nix-on-droid switch --flake path/to/flake#device to build and activate your configuration (path/to/flake#device
will expand to .#nixOnDroidConfigurations.device). If you run nix-on-droid switch --flake path/to/flake, the
default configuration will be used.

Note: Currently, Nix-on-Droid can not be built with an pure flake build because of hardcoded store paths for proot.
Therefore, every evaluation of a flake configuration will be executed with --impure flag. (This behaviour will be
dropped as soon as the default setup does not require it anymore.)

Emulate Nix-on-Droid-like environment with fakedroid

For easier debugging and testing, there is a so-called fakedroid environment which
emulates the on-device environment including proot as good as possible.

You can enter this emulated environment with

nix run --impure ".#fakedroid"

This will install Nix-on-Droid with initial channel setup and save the state of
this session in the .fakedroid directory in the project directory. To enter this
environment with initial flake setup, set USE_FLAKE=1 as environment variable.
Channel and flake setups can co-exist in the .fakedroid state directory. To
rebuild/re-test the bootstrap process, remove the .fakedroid directory.

To only run a command in fakedroid and not enter an interactive shell, just call it
with the command as arguments:

nix run --impure ".#fakedroid" -- ls -l


In the ./tests/on-device directory, there is small set
of bats tests that can be executed on the
android device or run in the fakedroid environment.

To run the tests (on device or in fakedroid), run

nix-on-droid on-device-test

Note: This currently requires a channel setup and should only be executed on
clean installations.


  • To grant the app access to the storage, use the toggle in the app settings
    (reachable from Android settings).
  • If the terminal freezes, use ‘Acquire wakelock’ button in the notification
    and/or tone down your device’s aggressive power saving measures.
  • We have a wiki
    with tips and success stories, you’re encouraged to add yours as well.

Technical overview

OK, real brief.

Developer’s device:

  1. proot for the target platform is cross-compiled against bionic,
    (to fake file paths like /nix/store; think ‘userspace chroot‘)
  2. Target nix is taken from the original release tarball
  3. Target nix database is initialized
  4. Support scripts and config files are built with nix and the Nix-on-Droid
    module system
  5. From these, a bootstrap zipball is built and published on an HTTP server

User’s device:

  1. Android app is installed and launched, bootstrap URL is entered
  2. Bootstrap zipball gets downloaded and unpacked
  3. ‘First boot’ begins, Nix builds the environment
    (or, possibly, pulls it from Cachix)
  4. Nix installs the environment (login scripts, config files, etc.)

You can refer to a
NixCon 2019 presentation talk
for a more extensive overview of the subject.

Licensing and credits

Licensed under MIT License, see LICENSE.
Copyright (c) 2019-2021 Alexander Sosedkin and other contributors, see AUTHORS.

Two rewrites ago it was based off the official Nix install script
presumably written by Eelco Dolstra.

Is deployed and used with a fork
of Termux-the-terminal-emulator app,
but has no relation to Termux-the-distro.

Previous project that did use Termux-the-distro:

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