Growing with the Web

Handy adb commands for Android

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Here are some of the commands I find useful for Android's adb. They can be used manually or to automate your build or testing process.

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View connected device(s)

Use this to view all connected devices and list their IDs.

adb devices

If multiple devices are attached, use adb -s DEVICE_ID to target a specific device.

Install an application

Use the install command to install an apk, the optional -r argument reinstalls and keeps any data if the application is already installed on the device.

adb install -r APK_FILE

# example
adb install -r ~/application.apk

Uninstall an application

adb uninstall PACKAGE_NAME

# example
adb uninstall com.growingwiththeweb.example

Start an activity

adb shell am start PACKAGE_NAME/ACTIVITY_IN_PACKAGE
adb shell am start PACKAGE_NAME/FULLY_QUALIFIED_ACTIVITY

# example
adb shell am start -n com.growingwiththeweb.example/.MainActivity
adb shell am start -n com.growingwiththeweb.example/com.growingwiththeweb.example.MainActivity

Entering the device’s shell

adb shell

Take a screenshot

Sergei Shvetsov came up with a nice one liner that takes a screenshot with shell screencap and outputs it to a local directory using perl. Checkout his blog for an explanation.

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

Power button

This command sends the power button event to turn the device on or off.

adb shell input keyevent 26

Unlock screen

This command sends the event that unlocks the lockscreen on the device. It can be combine with the power button command above to turn on and unlock the device.

adb shell input keyevent 82
adb shell pm list packages -f

Logging

To show the log stream on your command line.

adb logcat

Filter by tagname

adb logcat -s TAG_NAME
adb logcat -s TAG_NAME_1 TAG_NAME_2

#example
adb logcat -s TEST
adb logcat -s TEST MYAPP

Filter by priority

To show logs of a specific priority warning and above.

adb logcat "*:PRIORITY"

# example
adb logcat "*:W"

Here are the priority levels:

  • V - Verbose (lowest priority)
  • D - Debug
  • I - Info
  • W - Warning
  • E - Error
  • F - Fatal
  • S - Silent (highest priority, on which nothing is ever printed)

Filter by tagname and priority

adb logcat -s TAG_NAME:PRIORITY
adb logcat -s TAG_NAME_1:PRIORITY TAG_NAME_2:PRIORITY

#example
adb logcat -s TEST: W

Filter using grep

Alternatively the output of logcat can be piped to grep on a system that supports it.

adb logcat | grep "SEARCH_TERM"
adb logcat | grep "SEARCH_TERM_1\|SEARCH_TERM_2"

#example
adb logcat | grep "Exception"
adb logcat | grep "Exception\|Error"

Clearing the logcat buffer

Use this to clear the buffer to remove any old log data.

adb logcat -c

Further reading

See more details on the official adb reference site.

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