ADB and Fastboot are probably the most important tools for any Android aficionado. They can do everything from backing up your device and changing your screen resolution to rooting your phone and opening it up to hundreds of tweaks and customizations. What's even better is that they can be downloaded and installed on any of the three major computer operating systems in just a few clicks.
Your first (and probably best) option is to install Android SDK Tools, which comes with ADB and Fastboot bundled. It's also updated regularly by Google. (Note: see update link above for a way to download just the tools without the SDK, or continue with these instructions if you want the full SDK.) To use this option, start by downloading the installer file for your particular operating system:
- Download the SDK Tools installer file for Windows (.exe provided by Google)
- Download the SDK Tools installer file for Mac (.zip provided by Google)
- Download the SDK Tools installer file for Linux (.tgz provided by Google)
The installation process will vary depending on your operating system, so we've outlined it in three separate sections. When you're done, make sure to hit up the "All Operating Systems" section below to finalize your work.
Windows users can simply launch the EXE file and follow the provided instructions to install the Android SDK. When installation has finished, you'll be prompted to update the SDK Tools. When you see this menu, make sure that the "Android SDK Platform-tools" option in selected, then click "Install."
Once installation is completely finished, Android SDK Tools will be saved in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\ folder. Remember this location, as you'll need to open a command window in the "platform-tools" folder inside of it when you want to run ADB or Fastboot commands.
After that, you'll need to download the ADB drivers so that the new software can interact with your device. You can download the drivers at this link—just run the file, then follow the prompts, and you'll be good to go.
If you're using a Mac, extract the ZIP to a folder you can access easily, and take note of this folder's location, as this is where you'll need to open a command window whenever you want to send ADB or Fastboot commands.
From there, open the android-sdk-macosx folder, then head to the tools folder inside of that. Next, double-click the "android" file to launch the SDK installer.
From here, make sure that the "Android SDK Platform-tools" option in selected, then click "Install." After that, just follow the prompts for installation, and click "Accept" when prompted about license agreements.
Note that as a Mac user, you'll need to add a period and a slash (./) to the front of any ADB or Fastboot commands you see listed on most sites. In other words, when a guide tells you to type "adb devices" or something similar, type "./adb devices" instead.
If you're running Linux, extract the android-sdk_r24.4.1-linux.tgz file, then open a terminal window and change directories to the /android-sdk-linux/tools/ folder that you just extracted. Next up, type android sdk to launch the SDK Manager, then make sure the "Android SDK Platform-tools" option is selected and click "Install."
When that's finished, you'll need to install the drivers. To do that, download and extract this ZIP file, then run the script with Terminal, and you'll be all set to go.
Note that as a Linux user, you'll need to add a slash (/) to the front of any ADB or Fastboot commands you see listed on most sites. In other words, when a guide tells you to type "adb devices" or something similar, type "/adb devices" instead.
Once you've installed Android SDK Tools, you'll be ready to send ADB and Fastboot commands. But to make sure you don't have any troubles in the future, there's one last step you should take.
First, make sure you have "USB debugging" enabled on your Android device. This setting can be found in the Developer options menu, which can be activated using these instructions. From there, simply connect your phone or tablet to your computer with a USB cable, then you should see the following prompt on your Android device:
To finalize things, tick the box next to "Always allow," then press "OK" on the popup. When you're done there, you should have no trouble sending ADB or Fastboot commands in the future.
Thanks to shimp208's Minimal ADB and Fastboot utility, there's a quick and painless way to install ADB and Fastboot on Windows. However, note that this tool isn't updated as frequently as the official Android SDK Tools from Google, so it may be missing a feature here and there.
All you have to do is download his ADB installer (.exe), then run the file and follow the prompts. When you're done there, download the drivers from this link, and again, run the file and follow the prompts.
After that, you'll be all set to use ADB and Fastboot commands. To do that, just head to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Minimal ADB and Fastboot\ folder, then hold down the shift button on your keyboard, right-click any empty space, and choose "Open command window here."
If you are using a Mac or Linux computer, you won't have the luxury of using a program to install ADB and Fastboot. Instead, you will have to use a Terminal command.
However, this will install ADB and Fastboot in a way that allows you to use them from any directory so you don't have to worry about entering a "cd" command to get ADB or Fastboot commands to run properly.
To get ADB and Fastboot to install, you'll need to run a script created by corbin052198. There is no actual file to download since Terminal will handle the downloading and installation. So to get down to business, just execute the following command in Terminal. You will need an active internet connection to get this to run properly, and will need to type in your password to continue.
If you get an error, you can try this alternative command instead.
cd ~ && curl -s -o ./install.sh "http://github.com/corbindavenport/nexus-tools/raw/master/install.sh" -LOk && chmod +x ./install.sh && ./install.sh && rm ./install.sh
Now you should have a fully functional and up-to-date copy of ADB and Fastboot on your computer, but if you continue to get errors like "device not found," be sure to drop us a comment below.