How to quickly install and use ADB

How to quickly install and use ADB

It’s impossible to dive into the world of Android development and modding without seeing the three-letter abbreviation “ADB.” This common term can be intimidating to new Android users, but it’s actually not that complicated. ADB stands for “Android Debug Bridge” and it basically just allows you to send commands to your device.

A common misconception is ADB is only useful in conjunction with root access, but there is a lot you can do with unrooted devices. You can bring System UI Tuner options to non-stock devices, force system-wide Immersive Mode, tweak the navigation bar, and more. Google makes it easy to get ADB up and running quickly. We’ll show you how to do it.

Download SDK Platform Tools

ADB is a small tool bundled in the Android SDK as part of the “Platform Tools.” Users used to be required to download the entire SDK (which is very large) just to use ADB, but Google now allows users to download only the Platform Tools.

  1. Download the SDK Platform Tools for Windows, Mac, or Linux
  2. Extract the ZIP file somewhere easily accessible (like C:\platform-tools)

Enable USB Debugging

Now we need to do a few things on your Android device. First, you’ll need to enable the secret Developer Options. Skip this step if you already enabled Developer Options.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to System (skip to step 3 on pre-Android Oreo devices)
  3. Select About phone
  4. Tap Build number 7 times in quick succession (some phones will bury this under Software info)
  5. You will see a message appear that says Developer Options are enabled
  6. Now go back and you’ll see Developer Options listed

With that out of the way, we can enable USB debugging.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to System > Developer options or just Developer options
  3. Scroll until you find USB debugging
  4. Toggle the switch on

Put it All Together

We’ve got ADB downloaded on your computer and your Android device is ready to receive instructions. Now it’s time to put it all together and run your first ADB command.

  1. Connect your Android device to the computer with a USB cable
  2. The USB mode must be PTP in order for ADB to work. You can usually change this from the notification shade
  3. Make sure to allow USB debugging if a pop-up appears
  4. Open the platform-tools folder on your computer
  5. Shift+Right Click and select Open command prompt here
  6. Type adb devices and hit Enter
  7. You should see a list of attached devices
  8. Now you can enter ADB commands!