Tutorial: Working examples using Android/Windows adb freeware over Wi-Fi

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Andy Burnelli

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May 15, 2022, 6:05:49 PMMay 15
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Tutorial: Working examples using Android/Windows adb over Wi-Fi
The documentation below is designed to be as cut-&-paste as possible.

This tutorial assumes you already installed adb & enabled USB debugging.
<https://source.android.com/setup/build/adb>
Note this was tested WITHOUT the Android SDK; it just needs "adb.exe".

Android 11 and up allows adb connections purely over Wi-Fi (with no
initial or continued need for USB cables) which allows mirroring
over Wi-Fi using any of a variety of free & FOSS tools such as:
a. Vysor
b. Scrcpy
c. Microsoft Phone Link plus Microsoft/Samsung Link to Windows

Those local/remote mirror tools are described in gory detail here:
*What free software do you use to locally mirror Android over Windows*
<https://groups.google.com/g/alt.comp.microsoft.windows/c/eMYBmpq2H50>

*What free software do you use to remotely control Android over Windows*
<https://groups.google.com/g/comp.mobile.android/c/7toIA9mxX4o/m/DAmq_Z4PAgAJ>

While screen mirroring is fantastic, what this tutorial focuses on is
using the Android Debug Bridge (adb) commands over Wi-Fi from Windows.

Prior to Android 11, if the user wished to use adb with Android over Wi-Fi,
the adb connection had to be initially _established_ over a USB cable.

There is much information about that problem set, only summarized below.
1. C:\> adb kill-server (optional, but it helps for a starting point)
2. Connect the Android phone to USB (mandatory on Android 10 & below).
3. Connect to the Android phone over USB.
C:\> adb connect
Or
C:\> adb reconnect
You should see an output of something like:
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
reconnecting ABCDEFGHIJK [device]
4. C:\> adb tcpip 5555
You want one of these two show up:
restarting in TCP mode port: 5555
Or...
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
restarting in TCP mode port: 5555
Not this:
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
error: no devices/emulators found
But you might get this if you started from scratch
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
error: device unauthorized.
This adb server's $ADB_VENDOR_KEYS is not set
Try 'adb kill-server' if that seems wrong.
Otherwise check for a confirmation dialog on your device.
If you do, just press "Allow" & "Remember" on the phone when it asks.
5. At this point you can disconnect the USB cable (or leave it connected).
6. To connect over Wi-Fi, this always works at this stage in the process.
C:\> adb connect 192.168.0.2
Or, if you're a stickler for details, specifying the port works too.
C:\> adb connect 192.168.0.2:5555
In either case, you want to see this:
connected to 192.168.0.2:5555
7. At this point you are completely connected:
C:\> adb devices
That should output either this (if you left the USB connected).
List of devices attached
ABCDEFGHIJ device
192.168.0.2:5555 device
Or this (if you disconnected the USB already).
List of devices attached
192.168.0.2:5555 device

However, as of Android 11 and up, it's now possible to pair your Android
phone to your over Wi-Fi Windows computer without ever needing a USB cable.

That instantly negates the need for the workaround above, detailed below.
*Android Studio wireless ADB error (10061)*
<https://stackoverflow.com/questions/37267335/android-studio-wireless-adb-error-10061>
That 5-year old wireless/usb workaround was updated on Oct 4, 2021.

Here's a description of the new adb Wi-Fi capabilities in Android 11+
<https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/new-adb-make-process-simple-easy/>
"If you're on Android 11 (with SDK platform tool version 30 or greater)
and above, you can use wireless debugging to pair your device with the
computer. This Wi-Fi pairing method uses a new adb command called 'pair'
which works similar to how Bluetooth pairing works."

The _new_ command sequence to pair Windows adb to Android over Wi-Fi is:
A. Optionally, start at a known default starting point on Windows.
C:\> adb kill-server
B. Optionally, start at a known default starting point on Android.
Settings > Developer options > Revoke USB debugging authorizations
C. Make sure these Android 11+ settings are turned on.
Settings > Developer options > USB debugging = On
Settings > Developer options > Wireless debugging = On
Optionally:
Settings > Developer options > Disable adb authorization timeout = On

Then, to connect Windows adb to your Android 11+ phone over Wi-Fi:
<https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/adb#connect-to-a-device-over-wi-fi-android-11+>
1. Long press on Android "Developer options > Wireless debugging" settings.
2. Press the "Pair device with pairing code" option item.
This will report something like the following information:
Pair with device: Wi-Fi six-digit pairing code: 123456
IP address & Port: 192.168.0.2:54321
3. C:\> adb pair 192.168.0.2:54321 123456
You should see something like this on the phone:
Successfully paired to 192.168.0.2:54321 [guid=adb-{serial number}]
4. C:\> adb connect 192.168.0.2:54321

Now you can issue adb commands from Windows over Wi-Fi to an Android phone.
C:\> adb devices
That should report the devices that adb is connected to, for example:
List of devices attached
192.168.0.2:54321 device

C:\> adb shell netstat
That should list the phone's TCP/IP connectivity tables.

C:\> adb shell service list
That should list all the running services on the phone.

C:\> adb shell ps
That should list all the running processes on the phone.

C:\> adb shell ifconfig
That should provide your Android network interface information.

C:\> adb shell "cd /sdcard/Download && ls"
That should list files in your internal storage Download folder.

C:\> adb shell "cd /sdcard && mkdir temp"
That should create a "temp" directory in your internal
storage sdcard on your Android phone.

C:\> adb shell screencap -p /sdcard/temp/screenshot.png
That should snap a screenshot of your android phone & store it
in the newly created temp folder on the Android phone.

C:\> adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/temp/screenrecord.mp4
Do whatever on the Android phone & then press Ctrl+C to end.
That should create an MP4 recording of your Android screen.

C:\> adb install "C:\path-to\filename.apk"
That should install the APK from Windows over Wi-Fi onto Android.
(Note this is useful when you have hundreds of apps like I do!)
<https://i.postimg.cc/bN875p8b/apk01.jpg> Windows APK archive

C:\> adb push "C:\path-to\filename.apk" /sdcard/Download
That should copy the named file from Windows to Android &
(in this case) put it in your internal storage "Download" folder.

Note that each phone OEM "can" use a different filespec for
internal & external sdcards (e.g., /storage/emulated/0/Download).

C:\> adb push C:\path\apk_archive\ /sdcard/Download/apks
That should create a folder named "apks" in the Android phone's
internal storage "Download" folder and then copy all the files
from the Windows "apk_archive" folder into that new "apks" folder.

C:\> adb shell
$ /storage/emulated/0/DCIM
$ ls
$ exit
That should allow you to interactively manage the Android
filesystem from Windows over Wi-Fi. Note these are common:
/mnt/sdcard/DCIM
/sdcard/DCIM
/sdcard/DCIM

C:\> adb logcat
Use this if you're a glutton for punishment as it will forever
spit out a log of what's going on your phone (until you Ctrl+C).

C:\> adb logcat *:E
The values are:
V: Verbose (lowest priority)
D: Debug
I: Info
W: Warning
E: Error
F: Fatal
S: Silent (highest priority. Nothing is printed)
Note logcat has multiple options, e.g.,
adb logcat Tag1:I *:S
That will list output log messages with the tag "Tag1"
and priority level Info or higher.
The *:S at the end will exclude the log from other tags
with any priority.

C:\> adb shell getprop | FindStr /i "ro.build.version"
Get properties off the phone & grep for the given keyword.

C:\> adb shell getprop ro.build.version.security_patch
This will report the property of the security patch level.

C:\> adb shell getprop ro.build.fingerprint
This will report basic hardware information about your phone.

C:\> adb shell input swipe 500 1000 500 100
This will instantly swipe from center to the top of the screen.

You can add a time period, e.g., take 3 seconds to swipe that.
C:\> adb shell input swipe 500 1000 500 100 3000

C:\> adb shell input text "K-9\ Mail"
This will enter into the phone's search GUI a search for that app.

C:\> adb shell pm list packages
That should list all the packages installed on your Android phone.

C:\> adb shell pm list packages | findStr /i "facebook"
That should list all the packages with that string in their name.

C:\> adb shell pm path com.facebook.appmanager
That should list the path to the named package, e.g.,
package:/system/app/FBAppManager_NS/FBAppManager_NS.apk

C:\> adb pull /system/app/FBAppManager_NS/FBAppManager_NS.apk
That should copy the APK from Android over to Windows.

C:\> adb shell dumpsys package com.facebook.appmanager
This should list an app's components, activities & services, etc.

C:\> adb shell pm list permissions | FindStr facebook
This should list all permissions granted for that particular app.

C:\> adb shell pm revoke com.facebook.appmanager android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
This should revoke the stated permissions from that app.

C:\> adb shell pm grant com.facebook.appmanager android.permission.READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
This should grant the stated permissions to that app.

C:\> adb shell pm clear com.facebook.appmanager
This should clear all the application data in that package.

C:\> adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.facebook.appmanager
That should uninstall the named package for the current user.
(You don't need root to uninstall system apps for the current user.)

Note this app will provide, by default, a list of all apps
you've installed, in the reverse order that you installed them.
*App Inspector* by UBQSoft
Free, ad free, gsf free, rated 4.3, 100K+ installs
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubqsoft.sec01>

C:\> adb shell pm install-existing com.facebook.appmanager
That should re-install that package that you had just uninstalled.
(This works because it was only uninstalled for the current user.)

C:\> adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 com.facebook.appmanager
That should disable the named package.

C:\> adb shell pm list packages -d | findStr /i "facebook"
That should find the disabled apps & then grep for "facebook".

C:\> adb shell pm enable com.facebook.appmanager
That should enable the named package.

C:\> adb shell pm uninstall com.facebook.appmanager
If you omit the "-k --user 0" part, it uninstalls for all users.

C:\> adb bugreport
That should create a zip file of your current bug-report data.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.ads.settings.AdsSettingsActivity
That should pop up an Android "Reset Advertising ID" settings page.

C:\> adb shell input tap 500 400
If run after the command above, that will tap the button to
asking to "Opt out of Ads Personalization" in that Activity
if that button is like mine, at the X=500 & Y=400 location.

On my phone, this is the "Reset advertising ID" button location:
adb shell input tap 500 200
On my phone, this is the "OK" button on that GUI above.
adb shell input tap 700 1000

C:\> adb shell am force-stop com.google.android.gms
If run after bringing up the advertising-id reset Activity,
it will close the activity without doing anything else.

C:\> adb shell input keyevent KEYCODE_HOME
That should press the "Home" button.
C:\> adb shell input keyevent KEYCODE_CAMERA
That should press the "Camera" button.
C:\> adb shell input keyevent KEYCODE_BACK
That should press the "Back" button.
C:\> adb shell input keyevent KEYCODE_HEADSETHOOK
That should press the "Headset" button.
A list of hardcoded buttons is located in Android documentation:
<https://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/KeyEvent#constants_1>

C:\> adb pull /system/etc/hosts .\hosts.txt
[That should copy the hosts file over even if you're unrooted.]

C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery set level 4
That will _simulate_ (aka "spoof") a 4% battery level,
which may instantly cause a cascade of actions on your phone
as "if" your battery level really were low.

C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery set ac 1
That will _simulate_ (aka "spoof") that you just connected
an AC power adapter to your phone, so, for example, the phone
should show an icon and speak that you connected to AC power
if you've set this app to do that for you.
*Charging Indicator* by Jason A. Maderski
Free, ad free, gsf free, rated 4.2, 50K+ installs
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=maderski.chargingindicator>

Note that with adding notifications, I use text-to-speech to
clarify what the notification is telling me, instead of sounds.

Two text-to-speech free apps I use for notifications are:
*Tell Me - Text To Speech* by Simply Complex Apps
Free, ad free, +inapp $, rated 4.1, 100K+ installs
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simplycomplexapps.ASTellme>

*NTM* Convert Text To Audio File by MEPROWORLD
Free, ad free, not rated, 10K+ installs
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.meproworld.ntm>

In the case of the battery indicators, I set notifications such as:
"Your battery just reached 100% charging"
"Your USB cable just disconnected"
etc.

C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery reset
This will turn off the battery-level simulation (aka spoofing).

C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery set ac 0
That will _simulate_ (aka "spoof") that you just dis-connected
an AC power adapter from your phone.

C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery set usb 1
That will _simulate_ (aka "spoof") that you just connected
a USB cable to your phone.
.
C:\> adb shell dumpsys battery set usb 0
That will _simulate_ (aka "spoof") that you just dis-connected
a USB cable to your phone.

C:\> adb shell pm list packages
That should list all installed packages.
C:\> adb shell pm list packages -s (list system packages only)
C:\> adb shell pm list packages -3 (list 3rd-party package names)
C:\> adb shell pm list packages -u (list uninstalled packages)
C:\> adb shell dumpsys package packages (list package information)
C:\> adb shell pm dump com.facebook.appmanager (info on one package)
C:\> adb shell pm path com.facebook.appmanager (package apk filespec)

C:\> adb shell pm list packages google | find /c /v ""
That should tell you the number of packages you have on Android
which have "google" in the package name.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.android.settings/.Settings\$PowerUsageSummaryActivity
That should bring up a moving graph of your current battery usage.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.location.settings.LocationAccuracyActivity
That should tell you if you have Google location spyware running.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/co.g.Space
That should allow you to clear your Google Play services storage.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.update.SystemUpdateActivity
That should allow you to check for Android updates.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.nearby.exposurenotification.settings.SettingsActivity
That will let you know your Covid exposure notification status.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.app.settings.GoogleSettingsLink
That should bring up most of the Google privacy settings on Android.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.android.settings/.Settings\$NotificationAppListActivity
That should bring up _all_ your extant notifications.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.android.settings/.Settings\$AppMemoryUsageActivity
That should show you how much memory each app is using.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.android.settings/.network.telephony.MobileNetworkActivity
That should tell you how much mobile data you've used up.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.android.settings/.applications.ManageApplications
That should bring up the form to set your default Android apps.

C:\> adb shell am start -n com.google.android.gms/.gcm.GcmDiagnostics
That should scare the crap out of you when you see what it says!
mtalk.google.com is obtaining your private location information?

C:\> adb backup -all
Supposedly this will back up your entire device & app data to an
encrypted "backup.adb" file in your current Windows directory.

C:\> adb restore "C:\path-to\backup.adb"
Supposedly this will restore your backed up device & app data.

Please note that I tested the commands above so that cut-&-paste works.
Note, of course, that many (but not all!) of those commands can likely
be found on the net scattered about (however, some don't exist to my
knowledge on the net though, as they were found by trial and error).

However _basic_ information on adb commands abound on the net, e.g.,
*Android Debug Bridge (adb) cheat sheet*
<https://www.automatetheplanet.com/adb-cheat-sheet/>

In addition, below are untested possibilities... for future tutorials.

Note the debilitating problem that, while you can install an SMB _server_
on non-rooted Android, it's impossible (so far) to use an SMB _client_ on
non-rooted Android to connect to a typical Windows SMB share over Wi-Fi.

Non-rooted Android SMB client apps can't connect to Windows SMB shares
simply because Windows SMB requires port 445 but non-root Android SMB
clients, much to my chagrin, can't ever access ports lower than 1024.

However, an enterprising experimenter "may" be able to work around
this intractable problem perhaps by the use of "port forwarding"?
C:\> adb forward tcp:local_port tcp:device_port
C:\> adb reverse tcp:device_port tcp:local_port

And be advised that adb can temporarily elevate permissions for a user
where this example below is run completely on the Android device itself.
Termux % adb pair localhost:54321 <add the 6-digit wi-fi pairing code>
Termux % adb connect localhost:54321
Termux % adb shell
Termux # run-as com.termux
Termux $ {permissions are now elevated while inside this prompt}

It has been said you can run privileged commands, like look at the
default protected contacts sqlite database on Android phones.
<https://android.stackexchange.com/questions/41455/where-is-the-data-for-contacts-storage-located>
Termux $ adb -s emulator-5554 shell
Termux $ sqlite3
/data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/databases/contacts2.db
SQLite version 3.3.12
Enter ".help" for instructions
sqlite> select * from data;
sqlite> delete from data;
sqlite> delete from contacts;
sqlite> delete from raw_contacts;
<https://www.dev2qa.com/android-contacts-database-structure/#>

If you have additional useful adb commands, please share so we all learn.
<https://blog.testproject.io/2021/08/10/useful-adb-commands-for-android-testing/>
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