How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Android (And Why You Should)

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How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Android (And Why You Should)

You’ve almost likely met ADB and Fastboot if you’ve ever rooted your Android phone. These tools are essential components of the rooting toolbox, but they may be difficult to comprehend, much alone master.

So, if you’re not sure what ADB and Fastboot are, need assistance setting them up, or want some ideas for what you can do with them, keep reading.

What Are ADB and Fastboot?

ADB and Fastboot are programs that allow you to get access to the Android system when your phone is linked to a desktop computer via USB. The computer and cable are required—there is no app version, and although ADB may be used wirelessly, it is significantly more difficult to set up.

When Android is operating, you generally utilize ADB. It allows you to access system directories and change secret settings that are normally inaccessible to users. ADB may be used to transfer system files to and from the device, and there is also a sideload capability for installing system upgrades.

Fastboot works when Android is turned off and the device is booted into “Fastboot mode.” It gives you access to all of your device’s partitions, including the Android system, the data partition, the boot partition, and so on.

Fastboot is a diagnostic tool for Android. It is required if you need to unbrick your phone and is usually used to install a custom recovery.

Both are included in the Platform Tools collection of the Android software development kit.

Both programs are accessible through the Command Prompt on Windows and the Terminal on Mac and Linux. This implies that, although they are simple to operate, they are not very user-friendly.

How to Set Up ADB and Fastboot

To begin using the tools, you must first configure your phone. Enable Developer Options if you haven’t previously by navigating to Settings > About phone and touching on Build number seven times.

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Then, under Settings > Developer settings, choose USB debugging and go through the dialog box that appears.

ADB and Fastboot may be downloaded from the Android Developer website. When you unzip the file, the contents will be gathered into a folder named platform-tools. There are a few additional things in the folder that you may disregard.

If you’re using Windows, you’ll also need to obtain device drivers. On the Android developer website, there is a list of connections to the most popular manufacturers. Mac and Linux do not need drivers.

Using the Command Prompt or Terminal

Launch the Command Prompt or Terminal application. To utilize ADB and fastboot, you must first access to the platform-tools folder.

Enter cd [path to platform-tools] to do this. An simpler method is to enter cd[space], then drag the platform-tools folder into the Command Prompt window—the path will be autofilled.

To make things even easier, on Windows, press shift when right-clicking the platform-tools folder, then choose Open Command Prompt Here.

Related: 15 Command Prompt Commands You Must Know

The Difference Between Windows and Mac/Linux

There is one little but critical distinction between using Windows and Mac or Linux. Every ADB and Fastboot command on the latter two must be preceded by a dot-slash.

On Mac and Linux, instead of typing adb, you must type./adb. Fastboot on Windows should be./fastboot on Mac and Linux.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll continue to use Windows commands.

How to Use ADB

Start your phone in Android mode, then connect it to your desktop computer through USB. Launch the Command Prompt on your PC and change the directory to the platform-tools folder.

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Enter the command adb devices. You should now see a list of connected devices, each with its own serial number. This demonstrates that it is effective.

All you have to do is type adb followed by the command you want to run. Enter adb reboot to reset your phone as another easy example.

How to Use Fastboot

Fastboot functions similarly to ADB, with the exception that you must boot your phone into Fastboot mode rather than Android mode. Normally, you accomplish this by holding down the power and volume buttons while turning on the phone.

Alternatively, use ADB and type adb reboot bootloader.

The rest is the same. Enter fastboot devices to see whether your phone is detected. To restart Android, type fastboot reboot.

Things You Can Do With ADB and Fastboot

What can you do with ADB and Fastboot now that you know how to utilize them? Here are a few tools to consider:

  • adb pull [file path] [folder path] This will copy a file from anywhere on your phone and save it to a folder on your PC.
  • push adb [path to the file] [folder path] Sending a file from your PC to your phone is the inverse of pulling.
  • install adb [path to file] Installs an APK application on your device. This is especially useful for app developers.
  • adb remove [package name] Removes an app. Instead of the standard app name, provide the complete package name (typically something like com.devname.appname).
  • Changes the pixel density of your display using adb shell wm density [dpi]. A lower number allows for more material to be shown on the screen, while a larger number allows for less. Older smartphones, such as the OnePlus 3, have a natural DPI of 480. Setting it to 400 shrinks text, icons, and everything else.
  • adb sideload [update path] .zip]Sideloads a firmware update.zip file. This one operates via your phone’s custom recovery. If you can’t wait for an update to be delivered to your device, this is a good option.
  • OR fastboot flashing unlock OR fastboot oem unlock The command to use depends on the version of Android you’re using. Since Android 6, you must additionally enable OEM unlocking in Developer Options. This method of unlocking the bootloader fully wipes your phone.
  • flash recovery through fastboot [filename.img] Installs a custom recovery on your smartphone, such as TWRP. We recommend renaming the recovery file—twrp.img, for example—and placing it in the platform-tools folder for convenience of usage.
  • fastboot -w wipes your phone completely in preparation for flashing a custom ROM.
  • fastboot update [rom path] .zip]This command flashes a modified ROM. If you haven’t rooted your phone, this is a good choice.
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Why You Should Learn ADB and Fastboot

Obviously, the instructions listed above are simply for general advice. They may not all function on every device. You should only use them if you know what they will do and how to reverse any changes they make.

ADB and Fastboot are critical components of the Android rooting and modification process. Learning how to utilize them is essential since it will allow you to employ more complicated modifications.

As previously stated, in order to utilize ADB and Fastboot, you must first activate the Developer Options. After that, you’ll have access to a variety of additional handy options.

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