How to use Android Debug Bridge

To enable communication between your Android device and your home PC you need to use ADB Android: here's what it is and how it works.

Sometimes it can be useful to let your Android phone or tablet communicate with your home computer, for a number of reasons. For example, you might want to download photos and documents, or vice versa, upload them to your smartphone so that you always have them at hand. For this there is Android Debug Bridge, a tool found in the SDK software.

ADB Android: what it's for

ADB Android can be really useful in several occasions, when you want to expand the use of your Android device. In fact, working directly on your smartphone is quite different from working on it using a terminal. So Android Debug Bridge allows users to customize their cell phones or tablets, for example by accessing hidden features that you wouldn't be able to see with normal access.

These features are very useful especially for experts, such as tools for writing applications. But they are also very important for application developers. In fact, with this tool you can send advanced commands to your device. Another very useful feature of ADB Android is the ability to recover data from the device when it is in recovery mode. This allows you to retrieve old photos or saved documents.

How does ADB Android work

Now let's figure out how to use ADB Android. It is good to know that in order to allow communication between PC and smartphone/tablet you need a USB cable and a wireless connection. In addition, you must first activate the so-called Android add-on features, under "Debug Usb", which allows the computer to access the file system of your device. You'll also have to install Android Studio.

To do this you'll just have to follow a configuration wizard in the program, and you'll have to install all the recommended packages. Once you have everything, you'll have to connect the two devices to the Internet at the same time. Then you'll have to use the ADB Wireless app, which will let you take full advantage of ADB. At this point the Android device can be connected to the computer with the USB cable.

What you can do with ADB Android

At this point there are several commands that you can run with ADB Android. In fact, it is very useful especially where you want to save materials of various types. A very classic case is that of a full smartphone: before formatting it to free up space, it's important to be able to save what it contains. ADB Android lets you not only back up the SD card, but also copy the files stored on the device to the computer, or vice versa pass on to the latter some contents saved on the PC. With ADB the download of the stored material is always possible. Another important feature is the possibility to install applications on the Android device that are on the computer. There are also a whole series of features dedicated to developers.

The main commands of Adb Android

Android Debug Bridge can execute different commands, depending on the required function. For example, to reboot your device remotely you'll need to use "ADB reboot", which allows a reboot in normal mode, while "ADB reboot recovery" allows a reboot in recovery mode, when you need to recover something. Another reboot mode possible with ADB Android is in "Bootloader Mode", which is used in devices where this feature is available. Or, instead of first going to Bootloader and then choosing "Fastboot", you can reboot directly into Fastboot mode with "ADB Reboot Fastboot". This mode allows you to flash custom recovery as well as custom Rom on your device.

The command that allows you to send files to your device is instead "ADB push Source Destination". You will obviously need to specify the source path of the file within the command argument and the destination where you want to send the file. To download files from the device the command to use is "ADB pull FileLocation Destination". Again you will need to specify the path and destination. To top it off, you can install apps on the device, with the "ADB install APKLocation" command.

The Debug Usb

As mentioned, to use ADB Android you need a special feature, called Debug USB. It allows you to initiate advanced communication with your device, installing applications, reading system information but also enabling root permissions. But what is it all about? The name comes from the process called debugging, which is the search for bugs and their correction. This tool is especially useful for application developers and appears in a hidden menu. Connected when the PC is connected to the smartphone you can check the app under development. You can also change some specific aspects of the software on the smartphone or you can develop an Android app.