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Android adb (Android Debug Bridge)

From WikiOD

ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is a command line tool that used to communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android device.

Overview of ADB

A large portion of this topic was split out to adb shell

Remarks[edit | edit source]

List of examples moved to adb shell:

Connect ADB to a device via WiFi[edit | edit source]

The standard ADB configuration involves a USB connection to a physical device.

If you prefer, you can switch over to TCP/IP mode, and connect ADB via WiFi instead.

Not rooted device[edit | edit source]

Get on the same network:

  • Make sure your device and your computer are on the same network.

Connect the device to the host computer with a USB cable.

Connect adb to device over network:

While your device is connected to adb via USB, do the following command to listen for a TCP/IP connection on a port (default 5555):

  • Type adb tcpip <port> (switch to TCP/IP mode).
  • Disconnect the USB cable from the target device.
  • Type adb connect <ip address>:<port> (port is optional; default 5555).

For example:

adb tcpip 5555
adb connect

If you don't know your device's IP you can:

  • check the IP in the WiFi settings of your device.
  • use ADB to discover IP (via USB):
  • Connect the device to the computer via USB
  • In a command line, type adb shell ifconfig and copy your device's IP address

To revert back to debugging via USB use the following command:

adb usb

You can also connect ADB via WiFi by installing a plugin to Android Studio. In order to do so, go to Settings > Plugins and Browse repositories, search for ADB WiFi, install it, and reopen Android Studio. You will see a new icon in your toolbar as shown in the following image. Connect the device to the host computer via USB and click on this AndroidWiFiADB icon. It will display a message whether your device is connected or not. Once it gets connected you can unplug your USB.

New toolbar icon

Rooted device[edit | edit source]

Note: Some devices which are rooted can use the ADB WiFi App from the Play Store to enable this in a simple way. Also, for certain devices (especially those with CyanogenMod ROMs) this option is present in the Developer Options among the Settings. Enabling it will give you the IP address and port number required to connect to adb by simply executing adb connect <ip address>:<port>.

When you have a rooted device but don't have access to a USB cable[edit | edit source]

The process is explained in detail in the following answer: The most important commands are shown below.

Open a terminal in the device and type the following:

setprop service.adb.tcp.port <a tcp port number>
stop adbd
start adbd

For example:

setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555

And on your computer:

adb connect <ip address>:<a tcp port number>

For example:

adb connect

To turn it off:

setprop service.adb.tcp.port -1
stop adbd
start adbd

Avoid timeout[edit | edit source]

By default adb will timeout after 5000 ms. This can happen in some cases such as slow WiFi or large APK.

A simple change in the Gradle configuration can do the trick:

android {
    adbOptions {
        timeOutInMs 10 * 1000

Direct ADB command to specific device in a multi-device setting[edit | edit source]

1. Target a device by serial number

Use the -s option followed by a device name to select on which device the adb command should run. The -s options should be first in line, before the command.

adb -s <device> <command>


adb devices

List of devices attached
emulator*5554       device
02157df2d1faeb33    device

adb -s emulator-5554 shell


adb devices -l

List of devices attached
06157df65c6b2633    device usb:1-3 product:zerofltexx model:SM_G920F device:zeroflte
LC62TB413962        device usb:1-5 product:a50mgp_dug_htc_emea model:HTC_Desire_820G_dual_sim device:htc_a50mgp_dug

adb -s usb:1-3 shell

2. Target a device, when only one device type is connected

You can target the only running emulator with -e

adb -e <command>

Or you can target the only connected USB device with -d

adb -d <command>

Taking a screenshot and video (for kitkat only) from a device display[edit | edit source]

Screen shot: Option 1 (pure adb)[edit | edit source]

The shell adb command allows us to execute commands using a device's built-in shell. The screencap shell command captures the content currently visible on a device and saves it into a given image file, e.g. /sdcard/screen.png:

adb shell screencap /sdcard/screen.png

You can then use the pull command to download the file from the device into the current directory on you computer:

adb pull /sdcard/screen.png

Screen shot:Option 2 (faster)[edit | edit source]

Execute the following one-liner:

(Marshmallow and earlier):

adb shell screencap -p | perl -pe 's/\x0D\x0A/\x0A/g' > screen.png

(Nougat and later):

adb shell screencap -p > screen.png

The -p flag redirects the output of the screencap command to stdout. The Perl expression this is piped into cleans up some end-of-line issues on Marshmallow and earlier. The stream is then written to a file named screen.png within the current directory. See this article and this article for more information.

Video[edit | edit source]

this only work in KitKat and via ADB only. This not Working below Kitkat To start recording your device’s screen, run the following command:

adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/example.mp4, This command will start recording your device’s screen using the default settings and save the resulting video to a file at /sdcard/example.mp4 file on your device.

When you’re done recording, press Ctrl+C (z in Linux) in the Command Prompt window to stop the screen recording. You can then find the screen recording file at the location you specified. Note that the screen recording is saved to your device’s internal storage, not to your computer.

The default settings are to use your device’s standard screen resolution, encode the video at a bitrate of 4Mbps, and set the maximum screen recording time to 180 seconds. For more information about the command-line options you can use, run the following command:

adb shell screenrecord –help, This works without rooting the device. Hope this helps.

Pull (push) files from (to) the device[edit | edit source]

You may pull (download) files from the device by executing the following command:

adb pull <remote> <local>

For example:

adb pull /sdcard/ ~/

You may also push (upload) files from your computer to the device:

adb push <local> <remote>

For example:

adb push ~/image.jpg /sdcard/

Example to Retrieve Database from device

sudo adb -d shell "run-as cat /data/da/ /databases/DATABASE_NAME  > /sdcard/file

Print verbose list of connected devices[edit | edit source]

To get a verbose list of all devices connected to adb, write the following command in your terminal:

adb devices -l

Example Output[edit | edit source]

List of devices attached
ZX1G425DC6             device usb:336592896X product:shamu model:Nexus_6 device:shamu
013e4e127e59a868       device usb:337641472X product:bullhead model:Nexus_5X device:bullhead
ZX1D229KCN             device usb:335592811X product:titan_retde model:XT1068 device:titan_umtsds
A50PL                  device usb:331592812X
  • The first column is the serial number of the device. If it starts with emulator-, this device is an emulator.
  • usb: the path of the device in the USB subsystem.
  • product: the product code of the device. This is very manufacturer-specific, and as you can see in the case of the Archos device A50PL above, it can be blank.
  • model: the device model. Like product, can be empty.
  • device: the device code. This is also very manufacturer-specific, and can be empty.

View logcat[edit | edit source]

You can run logcat as an adb command or directly in a shell prompt of your emulator or connected device. To view log output using adb, navigate to your SDK platform-tools/ directory and execute:

$ adb logcat

Alternatively, you can create a shell connection to a device and then execute:

$ adb shell
$ logcat

One useful command is:

adb logcat -v threadtime

This displays the date, invocation time, priority, tag, and the PID and TID of the thread issuing the message in a long message format.


Logcat logs got so called log levels:

V — Verbose, D — Debug, I — Info, W — Warning, E — Error, F — Fatal, S — Silent

You can filter logcat by log level as well. For instance if you want only to output Debug level:

adb logcat *:D

Logcat can be filtered by a package name, of course you can combine it with the log level filter:

adb logcat <package-name>:<log level>

You can also filter the log using grep (more on filtering logcat output here):

adb logcat | grep <some text>

In Windows, filter can be used using findstr, for example:

adb logcat | findstr <some text>

To view alternative log buffer [main|events|radio], run the logcat with the -b option:

adb logcat -b radio

Save output in file :

adb logcat > logcat.txt

Save output in file while also watching it:

adb logcat | tee logcat.txt

Cleaning the logs:

adb logcat -c

View and pull cache files of an app[edit | edit source]

You may use this command for listing the files for your own debuggable apk:

adb shell run-as <> ls /data/data/

And this script for pulling from cache, this copy the content to sdcard first, pull and then remove it at the end:

adb shell "run-as <> cat '/data/data/<>/$1' > '/sdcard/$1'"
adb pull "/sdcard/$1"
adb shell "rm '/sdcard/$1'"

Then you can pull a file from cache like this:

./ cache/someCachedData.txt

Get Database file via ADB

sudo adb -d shell "run-as cat /data/da/ /databases/STUDENT_DATABASE  > /sdcard/file

Clear application data[edit | edit source]

One can clear the user data of a specific app using adb:

adb shell pm clear <package>

This is the same as to browse the settings on the phone, select the app and press on the clear data button.

  • pm invokes the package manager on the device
  • clear deletes all data associated with a package

Connect device by IP[edit | edit source]

Enter these commands in Android device Terminal

setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555
stop adbd
start adbd

After this, you can use CMD and ADB to connect using the following command

adb connect

And you can disable it and return ADB to listening on USB with

setprop service.adb.tcp.port -1
stop adbd
start adbd

From a computer, if you have USB access already (no root required)

It is even easier to switch to using Wi-Fi, if you already have USB. From a command line on the computer that has the device connected via USB, issue the commands

adb tcpip 5555
adb connect

Replace with device IP

View an app's internal data (data/data/) on a device[edit | edit source]

First, make sure your app can be backed up in AndroidManifest.xml, i.e. android:allowBackup is not false.

Backup command:

adb -s <device_id> backup -noapk <>

Create a tar with dd command:

dd if=backup.ab bs=1 skip=24 | python -c "import zlib,sys;sys.stdout.write(zlib.decompress(" > backup.tar

Extract the tar:

tar -xvf backup.tar

You may then view the extracted content.

Backup[edit | edit source]

You can use the adb backup command to backup your device.

adb backup [-f <file>] [-apk|-noapk] [-obb|-noobb] [-shared|-noshared] [-all] 
           [-system|nosystem] [<packages...>]

*f <filename> specify filename default: creates backup.ab in the current directory

*apk|noapk enable/disable backup of .apks themself default: -noapk

*obb|noobb enable/disable backup of additional files default: -noobb

*shared|noshared backup device's shared storage / SD card contents default: -noshared

*all backup all installed apllications

*system|nosystem include system applications default: -system

<packages> a list of packages to be backed up (e.g. (not needed if -all is specified)

For a full device backup, including everything, use

adb backup -apk -obb -shared -all -system -f fullbackup.ab

Note: Doing a full backup can take a long time.

In order to restore a backup, use

adb restore backup.ab

Install and run an application[edit | edit source]

To install an APK file, use the following command:

adb install path/to/apk/file.apk

or if the app is existing and we want to reinstall

adb install -r path/to/apk/file.apk

To uninstall an application, we have to specify its package

adb uninstall

Use the following command to start an app with a provided package name (or a specific activity in an app):

adb shell am start -n adb shell am start <package>/<activity>

For example, to start Waze:

adb shell am start -n adb shell am start com.waze/com.waze.FreeMapAppActivity

View available devices[edit | edit source]


 adb devices

Result example:

List of devices attached
emulator*5554  device
PhoneRT45Fr54  offline
123.454.67.45  no device

First column - device serial number

Second column - connection status

Android documentation

Sending broadcast[edit | edit source]

It's possible to send broadcast to BroadcastReceiver with adb.

In this example we are sending broadcast with action and string extra in bundle 'foo'='bar':

adb shell am broadcast -a action --es foo "bar"

You can put any other supported type to bundle, not only strings:

**ez  * - boolean

    • ei  * - integer
    • el  * - long
    • ef  * - float
    • eu  * - uri
    • eia *- int array (separated by ',')
    • ela *- long array (separated by ',')
    • efa *- float array (separated by ',')
    • esa *- string array (separated by ',')

To send intent to specific package/class -n or -p parameter can be used.

Sending to package:


Sending to a specific component (SomeReceiver class in package):


Useful examples:

Install ADB on Linux system[edit | edit source]

How to install the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) to a Linux system with the terminal using your distro's repositories.

Install to Ubuntu/Debian system via apt:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install adb

Install to Fedora/CentOS system via yum:

sudo yum check-update
sudo yum install android-tools

Install to Gentoo system with portage:

sudo emerge --ask dev-util/android-tools

Install to openSUSE system with zypper:

sudo zypper refresh
sudo zypper install android-tools

Install to Arch system with pacman:

sudo pacman -Syyu
sudo pacman -S android-tools

Read device information[edit | edit source]

Write the following command in your terminal:

adb shell getprop

This will print all available information in the form of key/value pairs.

You can just read specific information by appending the name of a specific key to the command. For example:

adb shell getprop ro.product.model

Here are a few interesting pieces of information that you cat get:

  • ro.product.model: Model name of the device (e.g. Nexus 6P)
  • API Level of the device (e.g. 23)
  • ro.product.brand: Branding of the device (e.g. Samsung)

Full Example Output[edit | edit source]

[dalvik.vm.dex2oat*Xms]: [64m]
[dalvik.vm.dex2oat*Xmx]: [512m]
[dalvik.vm.heapsize]: [384m]
[dalvik.vm.image*dex2oat*Xms]: [64m]
[dalvik.vm.image*dex2oat*Xmx]: [64m]
[dalvik.vm.isa.x86.variant]: [dalvik.vm.isa.x86.features=default]
[dalvik.vm.isa.x86_64.features]: [default]
[dalvik.vm.isa.x86_64.variant]: [x86_64]
[dalvik.vm.lockprof.threshold]: [500]
[dalvik.vm.stack*trace*file]: [/data/anr/traces.txt]
[debug.atrace.tags.enableflags]: [0]
[debug.force_rtl]: [0]
[dev.bootcomplete]: [1]
[*type]: [1]
[]: [true]
[]: [UMTS]
[gsm.nitz.time]: [1469106902492]
[gsm.operator.alpha]: [Android]
[gsm.operator.iso*country]: [us]
[gsm.operator.isroaming]: [false]
[gsm.operator.numeric]: [310260]
[gsm.sim.operator.alpha]: [Android]
[gsm.sim.operator.iso*country]: [us]
[gsm.sim.operator.numeric]: [310260]
[gsm.sim.state]: [READY]
[*impl]: [android reference-ril 1.0]
[init.svc.adbd]: [running]
[init.svc.bootanim]: [stopped]
[init.svc.console]: [running]
[init.svc.debuggerd]: [running]
[init.svc.debuggerd64]: [running]
[init.svc.drm]: [running]
[init.svc.fingerprintd]: [running]
[init.svc.gatekeeperd]: [running]
[init.svc.goldfish*logcat]: [stopped]
[init.svc.goldfish*setup]: [stopped]
[init.svc.healthd]: [running]
[init.svc.installd]: [running]
[init.svc.keystore]: [running]
[init.svc.lmkd]: [running]
[init.svc.logd]: [running]
[init.svc.logd*reinit]: [stopped]
[]: [running]
[init.svc.netd]: [running]
[init.svc.perfprofd]: [running]
[init.svc.qemu*props]: [stopped]
[*daemon]: [running]
[init.svc.servicemanager]: [running]
[init.svc.surfaceflinger]: [running]
[init.svc.ueventd]: [running]
[init.svc.vold]: [running]
[init.svc.zygote]: [running]
[init.svc.zygote_secondary]: [running]
[]: [Android]
[net.change]: [net.dns2]
[net.dns1]: []
[net.dns2]: []
[net.eth0.dns1]: []
[net.eth0.dns2]: []
[]: []
[net.gprs.local*ip]: []
[net.hostname]: [android-5e1af924d72dc578]
[net.qtaguid_enabled]: [1]
[net.tcp.default_init_rwnd]: [60]
[persist.sys.dalvik.vm.lib.2]: []
[persist.sys.profiler_ms]: [0]
[persist.sys.timezone]: [Europe/Vienna]
[persist.sys.usb.config]: [adb]
[qemu.gles]: [1]
[qemu.hw.mainkeys]: [0]
[qemu.sf.fake_camera]: [none]
[qemu.sf.lcd_density]: [560]
[rild.libargs]: [-d /dev/ttyS0]
[rild.libpath]: [/system/lib/]
[ro.allow.mock.location]: [0]
[ro.baseband]: [unknown]
[ro.board.platform]: []
[ro.boot.hardware]: [ranchu]
[]: [Thu Jul 7 15:56:30 UTC 2016]
[]: [1467906990]
[]: [Android/sdk_google_phone_x86_64/generic_x86_64:6.0/MASTER/3038907:userdebug/test-keys]
[ro.bootloader]: [unknown]
[ro.bootmode]: [unknown]
[]: [emulator]
[]: [Thu Jul  7 15:55:30 UTC 2016]
[]: [1467906930]
[]: [sdk_google_phone_x86_64-userdebug 6.0 MASTER 3038907 test-keys]
[]: [sdk_google_phone_x86_64-userdebug 6.0 MASTER 3038907 test-keys]
[]: [Android/sdk_google_phone_x86_64/generic_x86_64:6.0/MASTER/3038907:userdebug/test-keys]
[]: [sdk_google_phone_x86_64-userdebug]
[]: []
[]: [MASTER]
[]: [generic_x86_64]
[]: [test-keys]
[]: [userdebug]
[]: [android-build]
[]: [REL]
[]: []
[]: [REL]
[]: [3038907]
[]: [0]
[]: [6.0]
[]: [23]
[]: [2015-10-01]
[]: [1]
[ro.config.alarm_alert]: [Alarm_Classic.ogg]
[ro.config.nocheckin]: [yes]
[ro.config.notification_sound]: [OnTheHunt.ogg]
[ro.crypto.state]: [unencrypted]
[ro.dalvik.vm.native.bridge]: [0]
[ro.debuggable]: [1]
[ro.hardware]: [ranchu]
[]: [goldfish]
[]: [1]
[]: [1]
[ro.kernel.androidboot.hardware]: [ranchu]
[ro.kernel.clocksource]: [pit]
[ro.kernel.console]: [0]
[ro.kernel.ndns]: [2]
[ro.kernel.qemu]: [1]
[ro.kernel.qemu.gles]: [1]
[ro.opengles.version]: [131072]
[ro.product.board]: []
[ro.product.brand]: [Android]
[ro.product.cpu.abi]: [x86_64]
[ro.product.cpu.abilist]: [x86_64,x86]
[ro.product.cpu.abilist32]: [x86]
[ro.product.cpu.abilist64]: [x86_64]
[ro.product.device]: [generic_x86_64]
[ro.product.locale]: [en-US]
[ro.product.manufacturer]: [unknown]
[ro.product.model]: [Android SDK built for x86_64]
[]: [sdk_google_phone_x86_64]
[*ppp]: [no]
[ro.revision]: [0]
[ro.runtime.firstboot]: [1469106908722]
[]: [1]
[ro.serialno]: []
[ro.wifi.channels]: []
[ro.zygote]: [zygote64_32]
[selinux.reload_policy]: [1]
[service.bootanim.exit]: [1]
[status.battery.level]: [5]
[status.battery.level_raw]: [50]
[status.battery.level_scale]: [9]
[status.battery.state]: [Slow]
[sys.boot_completed]: [1]
[sys.sysctl.extra_free_kbytes]: [43200]
[sys.sysctl.tcp_def_init_rwnd]: [60]
[sys.usb.config]: [adb]
[sys.usb.state]: [adb]
[vold.has_adoptable]: [1]
[wlan.driver.status]: [unloaded]
[*presence]: [true]

Reboot device[edit | edit source]

You can reboot your device by executing the following command:

adb reboot

Perform this command to reboot into bootloader:

adb reboot bootloader

Reboot to recovery mode:

adb reboot recovery

Be aware that the device won't shutdown first!

List all permissions that require runtime grant from users on Android 6.0[edit | edit source]

adb shell pm list permissions -g -d

Start/stop adb[edit | edit source]

Start ADB:

adb kill-server

Stop ADB:

adb start-server

View activity stack[edit | edit source]

adb -s <serialNumber> shell dumpsys activity activities

Very useful when used together with the watch unix command:

watch -n 5 "adb -s <serialNumber> shell dumpsys activity activities | sed -En -e '/Stack #/p' -e '/Running activities/,/Run #0/p'"

Turn on/off Wifi[edit | edit source]

Turn on:

adb shell svc wifi enable

Turn off:

adb shell svc wifi disable