What is ADB and Fastboot, how to install and its most important commands

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Aina Martin

At this point I assume that most of you know what it means to have root permissions on an Android device, but that doesn't mean that we know all the details that this process hides. Two terms mixed with root, recovery and ROM are ADB and Fastboot. In this article we explain what ADB is, and what Fastboot is, how to install them and their main commands.

What are ADB and Fasboot?

The acronym ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge and corresponds to a software tool that allows us to interact with our Android smartphone from a computer. So, for example, through ADB we can execute commands to copy files from computer to phone, from phone to computer or restart the device in bootloader mode.

Fastboot is a software tool with which we can communicate and modify system files of an Android smartphone (connected via USB cable) from a computer. With Fastboot we will be able to unlock the bootloader, start in download mode, update the firmware or restart the device via recovery.

With these two tools we will be able to deeply modify the software of our smartphone or at least access it. Of course, all this is possible via a USB cable to connect the smartphone to the computer.

How to enable USB debugging

In order for our computer to recognize the device, we need to enable USB debugging on our device. In Settings> About phone, click "Build number" several times until the development options appear. Once you have performed this simple procedure, go to the development options and activate the "USB Debugging".

The first time we connect the phone to the computer we will have to consent to this connection. We need to check the option "Always allow from this computer" and then click I agree.

How to install ADB and Fastboot drivers

How to install ADB and Fastboot drivers on Windows

The ADB is a fundamental part of Android Studio, the software for developing applications on Android. To download ADB it is not necessary to install Android Studio in full, we just need some parts of the SDK.

First let's create an SDK folder in C: / to find it easy during installation.

Now let's go to the Android Studio download page and in the “Get command line tools only” section (on the bottom page) we have a compressed package with .zip extension, this is what we need to download.

Now let's unzip the folder it contains and put it in our C: / SDK / folder.

Now let's go into C: / SDK / android-sdk-windows and run the 'SDK Manager.exe' file. In SDK Manager we will install tools and drivers. For this we only mark these tabs in Tools and Extras:

  • Android SDK Tools
  • Android SDK Plartform-tools
  • Android Support Repository
  • Google USB Driver

After checking the boxes, click "Install". At the end of the process we will have installed ADB and Fastboot. To start using them, we go to C: SDKandroid-sdk-windowsplatform-tools with the Windows file explorer and in an empty place in the folder we press on shit + right mouse button and select 'Open command window here'.

How to install drivers, ADB and Fastboot on Mac

For Mac you can find as for Windows ADB and Fastboot from Android Studio tools or install Homebrew and download the package with the command brew install android-platform-tools.

How to install drivers, ADB and Fastboot on Linux

On Linux, just install the android-platform-tools package and use it from the console. For Debian-based distros we install it with:

  • sudo apt-get install-android-tools adb-fastboot android-tools

For ADB commands on linux, no root permissions are needed, but for Fastboot commands, yes.


adb reboot o fastboot reboot: normal restart

adb reboot bootloader: reboot in fastboot mode (or bootloader)

adb reboot recovery: riavvia in recovery mode

fastboot oem unlock: Unlock the Bootloader

fastboot oem lock: block the bootloader

fastboot erase xxx: delete the partition in question

fastboot flash bootloader nouveaubootloader.img: replace the recovery with a new bootloader

fastboot flash recovery nouveaurecovery.img: install a new Recovery

adb shell: allows you to explore the phone with linux commands (knowing that Android is linux based)

adb remount: Remount the phone system partition, then you can read and write

adb push xxx yyy: Copy files from computer to phone. Indicate the complete path

adb pull xxx yyy: recover files from phone to computer

adb install file.apk: install an application on the phone

adb backup -all: backup everything

And finally to restore a backup file: adb restore backup.ab


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