Install and Use ADB and Fastboot on Mac

ADB and Fastboot are multi-purpose command-line tools for Android that can be used via Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you try to use ADB commands in the Mac terminal without setting up ADB and Fastboot platform tools, you’ll get errors like “adb command not found”, and “fastboot command not found” on Mac. In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how you can install and use Android SDK Platform-tools on Mac.

Whether you want to backup your Android device, debug it, sideload an APK, unlock the bootloader, install an OTA update zip, uninstall system apps, root, and flash TWRP recovery, tweak device settings, or gather key information about your device, ADB and Fastboot are essential tools. If you own an Android smartphone or tablet and don’t have any clue as to how you can install and use ADB and Fastboot on your Mac, this tutorial is just for you.

ADB and Fastboot Platform-Tools for Mac

In order to install ADB and Fastboot for Mac, there first thing you need to do it to download the latest Android SDK Platform-tools for Mac.

Having downloaded the SDK Platform-tools for Mac, you’ll need to extract the zip file.

adb and fastboot files mac os

Please be informed that ADB or Fastboot tools can’t be installed as a program or app on macOS. If you double-click the ‘adb‘ executable file, you’ll get the following error in the Mac Terminal.

“adb” cannot be opened because the identity of the developer cannot be verified or confirmed.

adb can't be opened error mac
“adb” can’t be opened error on mac

You’ll get the same error if you or try to run ‘fastboot‘ on Mac. Therefore, it’s important that you set up ADB and Fastboot correctly.

ADB or Fastboot Not Found on Mac Error

There is another scenario where you may get one of the following errors in the Mac Terminal.

adb: command not found

fastboot: command not found

adb devices not found

adb command not found error on mac
adb devices command not found in Mac Terminal

Whether you get the “adb command not found mac” or “fastboot command not found mac” error, it’s because you aren’t executing the ADB commands in the Mac Terminal the way you’re supposed to. I have already written a guide to fix ADB or Fastboot is not recognized error on Windows, and in this guide, we’ll see how to solve this issue on Mac.

Installing ADB and Fastboot on Mac

Being a lifelong Windows user, I didn’t know how to use ADB commands in Mac Terminal. I had to google about it after getting my Macbook Pro. At first, one may think that doing certain things are more complicated on Mac than Windows but once you get familiar with it, things become easy.

If you having a hard time using ADB or Fastboot commands on your Mac, follow the steps below to learn the correct way to set up and use them.

Method 1: Drag ‘Platform-tools’ Folder to Terminal

  1. Download the latest SDK Platform-tools.zip file for Mac from above.
  2. Extract the Zip file using Mac’s default Archive Utility app. you’ll have a new folder called ‘platform-tools‘ on your desktop.
  3. Now, click on the Go option on the Mac Finder and select Utilities.mac finder utilities option
  4. You’ll find Terminal among the list of Mac Utilities. Double-click it to launch the Mac terminal window.mac terminal
  5. When the Terminal is launched, click on the ‘platform-tools‘ folder icon, hold the Command button and drag it to the terminal window.drag adb fastboot folder to mac terminal
  6. Doing so will CD (change directory) or set the Terminal’s path to the ADB and Fastboot files on your Mac.
    cd /Users/rakeshshukla/Desktop/platform-tools
    platform-tools rakeshshukla$

You can now execute any ADB or Fastboot command without any error.

Method 2: Type or Paste Folder Path in Terminal

As you saw above. you must add the ‘platform-tools’ folder path to the Mac Terminal to run ADB and Fastboot commands. You can also do that by either manually typing the path to the folder containing ADB and Fastboot files or just by copying and pasting the folder path in the terminal. You can read my tutorial describing 5 ways to copy file and folder path on Mac OS X.

  1. Launch the Terminal by navigating to Go > Utilities on your Mac.
  2. Now type the path of the ‘platform-tools‘ folder and press the Enter key.
    cd /Users/username/Desktop/platform-tools
  3. Alternatively, you can press the Option key and right-click on the folder icon and select Copy “platform-tools” as Pathname in the context menu and then paste the path in the Terminal.adb setup in mac terminal

You are all set to issue ADB commands in the Mac Terminal and you won’t get the ‘adb command not found‘ error. To verify that you have done everything properly, type the following command, and press the Enter key.

./adb

If you want an easier way to install and use ADB and Fastboot, read my detailed tutorial on adding ADB to a path on Mac to enjoy global ADB access.

Using ADB and Fastboot Commands in Mac Terminal

Now that you have properly set up ADB and Fastboot on your Mac, let’s see how we can run commands.

  1. Go to the Developer Options on your Android device and enable USB debugging.
  2. Now, connect your Android device to your Mac. You should also extend the screen lock time out from display settings on your phone or tablet.
  3. Open the Mac Terminal using any of the 3 methods I described above and issue the following command.
    ./adb devices
  4. Keep an eye on your Android phone’s display as you run the above command and authorize ADB or USB debugging on your device by selecting Allow when prompted.allow usb debugging on computer
  5. You’ll see your devices listed in the Mac terminal window. It means that ADB daemon is ready to communicate with your device.adb devices command in terminal mac

Are you aware of the powerful features of ADB and Fastboot and the tasks you can perform using commands? Don’t forget to check out my huge list of commands with an explanation.

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