ADB: drivers, tools, commands and error messages

You want to control the Android Debug Bridge from your computer? Learn everything about the ADB tools is Windows driver, learns the most important ADB commands and finds solutions to major ADB Errors. In the update, we take into account the direct downlaods the ADB tools.

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The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a logical interface between your computer and your Android smartphone. some commands via a USB cable about it can be sent to your smartphone (here's the list). The normal use case is, however, that a user rooten his smartphone, a different firmware or update the existing software will play.

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Jumps to section

  • ADB drivers on Windows
  • ADB Mac or Linux
  • install ADB tools
  • ADB commands: the most important commands and functions
    • ADB backup
    • ADB Devices
    • use ADB to flash apps and updates
  • ADB Errors: Common Error Messages
    • Command Not Found
    • No Device
    • Server is out of date
    • Waiting for device

ADB drivers for Windows

In our test with a Windows 10 system, we had to install any additional drivers and could access immediately to the ADB interface at each tested Android smartphone. To Windows 7, the joining of the smartphone and the computer by ADB but becomes quite complicated.

In Windows 7, it is almost the rule that it does not recognize the ADB interface. If the appropriate ADB driver is missing, computers and smartphones do not communicate with each other. Luckily, there are with the ADB Driver Installer is a universal solution to the problem. So make your way to the site and click there on ADB Driver Installer (22.9 MB). Open the ZIP file and starts it contains EXE file. Confirmed the warning UAC when it comes up.

windows adb tools overviewADB on Windows 7 is not fun. / © AndroidPIT

then closes your phone to the computer and typed in the ADB Driver Installer Refresh. Probably your smartphone will not list. This is because that is activated only in a minority Android smartphones USB debugging.

Enable USB debugging

So make your way in the phone in the settings typed in over the phone seven times on the build number and then go back a step there. There, you can see now the new entry Developer options where your USB debugging zulasst.

nexus 6 android activate debuggingSeven times the build number Tap, then back, and then enable the developer options USB debugging. / © AndroidPIT

Now click again in ADB Driver Installer to refresh, now your device should appear. It works not need, you change the USB connection mode. Many smartphones use attached USB cable at first only for charging. This is intentional, because that your files are not visible to the users of the connected computer.

Pulls down the notification from the top of the screen of the smartphone in such a case. Selects there from the USB connection type. Typed then click MTP or PTP (tried one after both options).

lg g4 usb modeTaps the USB options and selects one of the transfer modes. / © AndroidPIT

By now you should your device from the list of ADB Driver Installer see when you click on Refresh. Click then on the line with your device, and then click Install. Now the appropriate ADB drivers for your smartphone should be installed automatically.

If problems occur, you have to open the Device Manager, delete existing entries with your smartphone and repeat the installation.

Download the ADB tools for Windows, Mac and Linux

Now we want to use the ADB drivers. The Google developer Elliot Hughes has specially posted direct download links to the platform tools. This includes ADB and Fastboot. The files come in a size of approximately 4 MB and must be integrated after extracting only the system.

Here you will find the constantly updated downloads of the minimum ADB tools from Google:

  • ADB for Windows: Click here for direct download
  • ADB for Linux: Click here for direct download
  • ADB macOS: Click here for direct download

In Windows you open the new Platform-tools folder. Shift-click Command Prompt open doing here, right-click in the white area of ​​the folder and click here. Connects your smartphone to your computer. Taps now in the console adb devices command. Now there are on the phone the next warning (below right).

usb debugging allow deviceYou have every single computer again authorize as a debugging device. / © AndroidPIT

After the first adb devices, the device ID should be acknowledged with an unauthorized under List of devices attached. After the second time you have allowed debugging for your PC (pictured above), device should appear.

ADB Mac or Linux

In the Unix-based systems, Mac OS and Linux, there is a practical alternative to a manual download. Moreover, the effort with the drivers eliminated. Moreover, the ADB tools hold of yourself currently thanks to simple package management systems. Installing Mac users the package management system and then run homebrew brew install android platform-tools from. Linux users are looking for in the package system of your distribution for android platform-tools and install it. Subsequently, the ADB commands adb should and fastboot be defined globally so you should perform the following ADB commands in the command line.

ADB commands

adb backup -f FullBackup.ab -apk -all: The idea here is that you make a complete backup of your app data. In practice, this turns out to be assigned Liebesmüh as our test shows. Not all apps allow ADB backup, therefore you have to resort to an alternative.

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adb devices: With this command you will receive an overview of all devices connected to the computer devices with ADB support. Here you see the device ID and the status. Unauthorized about suggests that you have to the computer on the on the smartphone still allow it.

adb reboot: In order for your smartphone is restarted.

adb reboot recovery: The device is booted into the recovery.

adb reboot bootloader: The smartphone / tablet will boot into the bootloader. Once it is in this mode, you communicate via the fastboot command.

adb push [directory on the computer / dateiname.endung] [directory in the smartphone]: This command creates a file from your computer is loaded onto the smartphone.

adb pull [directory in the smartphone / dateiname.endung] [directory on the computer]: When you have run this command, you save a file from your phone / tablet to the PC. Without specifying the computer directory the file lands in the path of the ADB-Executable or / home directory.

adb shell screencap -p /sdcard/screenshot.png
adb pull /sdcard/screenshot.png
adb shell rm /sdcard/screenshot.png:

For a screenshot is created and stored on your computer.

adb help: overview of all ADB commands, syntax and help.

use ADB to flash apps and updates

adb sideload This command files can be installed such as official device updates on your phone. but more complex installations such as the Custom ROMs via the fastboot interface, as we demonstrate in this example.

adb install android app.apk: This is an Android app (APK) can be installed on your Tablet Smartphone /.

ADB Errors: Common error messages with solution

Command Not Found: you have you make a mistake, or the command is not yet available in your ADB version. Checks the command via adb help or upgraded to a newer version of ADB.

No Device: Your USB cable is not connected properly, the ADB port on your phone is not active or your computer does not recognize your smartphone. Uses a different USB port, another cable, enabled USB debugging, check the driver starts the computer and the smartphone again.

Server is out of date: The ADB tools on the computer and the Android version on your phone must be compatible with each other. If they are not, this error occurs. Updated Eure ADB tools.

Waiting for device: This error is largely the same as No Device. Your computer does not recognize the smartphone. See above for the solutions.

What now?

Now you are open to all the ways to modify your smartphone. Be it the sideload an update, rooting or installing an alternative firmware: You now have full control of your smartphone.

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