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How to transfer files using ADB push and pull commands

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ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is a versatile tool and part of the Android SDK platform toolkit that is often used by Android developers or enthusiasts who want to play around with software. But it also offers features that can be useful to an average user. ADB pull and push commands are one of them and can be used to copy files from your PC to your Android device (or vice versa) using just one command.

File transfers using ADB

There are many ways to transfer files between your Android device and a PC, many of which don’t require cables. In fact, there are so many great ways to transfer files that using ADB might not even be the tool for you. However, when all else fails, or you just took a screen recording and are connected anyway, ADB File Transfer is here for you.

Using a command line interface is generally reserved for the more adventurous computer user, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use. In fact, once you have a basic understanding, the command line is pretty simple. All of this remains true for ADB for Android as well. Let us begin.

Connect your Android device to your PC, launch ADB in a command or terminal window, then type adb devices and press enter. As a review, we recorded a screen recording last week and stored it on our device in the /sdcard/video.mp4 location. Let’s transfer that file to our computer.

Pull a file from your Android device

  • The format of the pull request is simple, you start with the adb pull command, then add the file you are pulling and the location you want it to go to.
  • I’ll leave mine on my desktop for now, which would look like this on a Windows machine.

adb pull /sdcard/video.mp4 C:UsersJonathanDesktop

  • You can choose to skip the local save location, to look like adb pull /sdcard/video.mp4, which will save the file to the same location as your adb.exe.
  • Hit enter, your file should now be transferring to your PC. Now, let’s upload a file.

Push a file to your Android device

  • I’ll keep the steps pretty simple here, if you’re comfortable with pulling steps, pushing is a no-brainer.
  • The format starts with the adb push command, then adds the local location of the file and the location on the device you want to save to. To keep it absolutely simple, let’s put that video file back on the device.

adb push C:UsersJonathanDesktopvideo.mp4 /sdcard/

  • Hit enter, of course, and watch your files fly.

Final remarks: How to transfer files using ADB push and pull commands

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James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.

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