Install and Add ADB to Path on Mac and Setup Global ADB

Can we set up global ADB on Mac by adding ADB variable environment? I had this question in mind while writing a tutorial on setting up system-wide ADB and Fastboot on Windows. “ADB command not found” is a common issue for Android users trying to run ADB commands on Mac. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to add ADB to a path on Mac by setting up PATH variable in bash profile and enable universally present ADB and Fastboot.

Besides, there’s another trick that involves dragging the ‘Platform-tools’ folder to the Mac Terminal. By doing so, you can immediately trigger ADB and Fastboot and start using commands without adding the folder path manually.

Once you have set up global ADB and Fastboot by adding ADB or Platform-tools to a path via a Bash profile in the Mac Terminal, you’ll be able to run ADB commands from any screen.

Set up ADB Path in Mac Terminal Bash Profile

If you want to enjoy global access to the ADB and Fastboot command-line tools right after launching the Mac Terminal, follow the steps described below.

  1. Download the latest Android SDK Platform-tools that contain ADB and Fastboot drivers for Mac. Extract the downloaded zip to get a folder named ‘platform-tools‘.
  2. Now open the Home directory on your Mac. If you don’t know how to do that, there are 3 ways to open it.
    • Press Command+Shift+H on your keyboard.
    • Press Command+Shift+G and enter ‘~/’.
    • Double-click the Macintosh HD icon on your desktop. Now click Users > Home icon.
    • Click on the Go tab in the Finder bar and select Home.open home directory mac os
  3. Create a new folder called ‘android-sdk-macosx‘ in the Home directory. You can rename it as ‘ADB’ or ‘AndroidSDK’ too if you want.
  4. Now, right-click on the ‘platform-tools‘ folder icon and select the Copy “platform-tools” option from the context menu.
  5. Paste the ‘platform-tools‘ folder in the new folder you created. You can move this folder to any other location where you won’t accidentally delete them. I moved it to the root of my Macbook Pro’s storage.adb fastboot files mac os
  6. Launch the Mac Terminal app from Finder > Go > Utilities.mac terminal
  7. When the Terminal is open, type the following command given below and press the Enter key. In order to avoid typo mistakes, you can simply copy and paste the command into the Terminal window. Just make sure to use the correct path of the ‘platform-tools‘ folder in the command line. You can easily copy the folder path on Mac using the tips in my guide.
    echo 'export PATH=$PATH:~/android-sdk-macosx/platform-tools/' >> ~/.bash_profile

    adding adb path to mac bash profile

  8. In case you moved ‘platform-tools’ to the Home directory, you can use the following command after replacing username with yours.
    echo 'export PATH=$PATH:~/Users/rakeshshukla/platform-tools/' >> ~/.bash_profile
  9. Now that the ADB PATH variable has been added to your bash profile, you need to reload it using the following command. Alternatively, you can just close the Terminal window and re-launch it.
    source ~/.bash_profile

    reload adb path variable bash profile mac

  10. If you want to check the current value of the PATH variable, you can use the following command. Otherwise, just skip to the next step.
    echo $PATH
  11. Since you have already added ADB to Path on your Mac, you can start using ADB or Fastboot commands. It’s time to verify that you have set up ADB properly on your Mac. Just type adb or adb devices in the Terminal and hit the Enter key.adb devices command mac terminal
  12. In case you get the adb: command not found‘ error on your Mac, you might have made some mistake. Try the steps given above again more carefully.

Add Terminal Shortcut to Platform-Tools

Finally, here’s the easiest method to add any folder path to the Mac terminal. Just follow the tip described below to get rid of typing the ‘platform-tools‘ folder path in the Mac Terminal every time you have to use ADB and Fastboot commands. It doesn’t provide a global or system-wide ADB support as the above method does.

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Click on Keyboard.mac os system preferences
  3. On the next screen, click on Shortcuts and select Services from the left pane.
  4. Now, look for Files and Folders in the right pane and enable New Terminal at Folder.
  5. The shortcut will be added to the folder context menu. You can close the System Preferences window.
  6. Just right-click on the ‘platform-tools‘ folder icon and select the New Terminal at Folder option.open adb in mac terminal
  7. When the Terminal window is launched, you can run any ADB and Fastboot command directly without typing the folder path.

    adb devices command in terminal mac
    List of ADB devices in Mac Terminal

If you want to learn more about ADB and Fastboot, read my tutorial describing some more ways to install ADB on Mac. You should also check out these ADB Shell commands and other stuff that you can do on your Android device with ADB.

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