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How to Install APK using ADB Commands

What is the first thing you think of when you think about installing an Android app? Google Play Store. The easiest and most straightforward way to download and install an app is from the Play Store. It’s not the only way to go. You can always install apps from APK files. These files can be downloaded via a web browser such as chrome, and then installed when needed. Only one requirement is to enable Unknown Sources permission in your browser.

Although the above described method requires direct access to your device, consider what happens if a system file is accidentally damaged. Your UI will crash, leaving you without access to your phone. Installing a third-party UI application to fix the problem will allow your device to work again. ADB is the solution. You can control your device from a computer. This is the only way to install apps on your device when you are in this situation.

This is only one example of the many situations where ADB can be a lifesaver. It would be a great idea to learn more about ADB, and how to use it. We will discuss ADB and its functions. We’ll also walk you through how to set up ADB and use it to install apps on your device.

Contents [ hide]

  • Install APK using ADB Commands
  • What’s ADB?
  • What does it mean?
  • What are the Pre-requisites to use ADB?
  • How do I download and install ADB on Windows?
  • How do you use ADB to install APKs on your device?
  • Other Important ADB Commands

Install APK using ADB Commands

What’s ADB?

ADB stands to Android Debug Bridge. It is part of the Android SDK, which is a command line tool. You can use it to control your Android smartphone from a computer provided your device is connected via a USB cable. It can be used to uninstall or install apps, transfer files and get information about Wi-Fi connections, battery status, screen recording, screenshots, and more. You can perform many operations on your device with the help of a number of codes. ADB is an extremely powerful tool that can perform advanced operations that require a lot of practice and training. ADB will be more useful the more you learn about coding. We will only cover the basics, and teach you how ADB can install an APK.

What does it mean?

ADB uses USB Debugging to gain control of your device. ADB client detects connected devices when it is connected to a computer via a USB cable. ADB client uses a command prompt or command line to transmit commands and information between the Android device and the computer. You can control the operations and processes on your Android device using special codes.

What are the Pre-requisites to use ADB?

You must ensure that the following prerequisites are met before you can install APK with ADB commands.

  1. First, make sure the driver for your device is installed on your computer. Each Android smartphone comes equipped with its own driver. This is automatically installed when your phone connects to your computer. You will need to install the driver separately if your device doesn’t have one. You can just install Google USB Driver for Google devices such as Nexus. (We will talk more about this later). Others companies such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola also provide drivers. Drivers can be found on the respective sites.
  2. Next, enable USB debugging in your Android smartphone. You can enable USB debugging on your Android smartphone by going to Developer options. First, activate the Developer Options in the Settings menu.


You will need to enable USB Debugging in the Developer options.

  1. Click on System to open Settings.


  1. Next, click on Developer Options.


  1. Scroll down to the Debugging Section and you’ll find the setting USB debugging. You can toggle the switch to enable USB debugging.


  1. Last but not the least, you will need to install ADB on your PC. This section will explain how to do it and walk you through the whole installation process.

How do I download and install ADB on Windows?

ADB is part of the Android SDK. You will need to download the complete setup package. Follow these steps to install ADB on Windows 10.

  1. To download the Android SDK platform tools, click here.
  2. Click on the Download SDK Platform-Tools For Windows button. Depending on the operating system you’re using, you can also choose from other options.
  3. Click on the Download button to agree to the Terms & Conditions.
  4. After downloading the zip file, extract it to a location you wish to save the toolkit files.


The ‘ADB” folder will now be visible along with other tools. Now the installation is complete. Now we will move on to the next step, which is to use ADB to install APK onto your device.

How do you use ADB to install APKs on your device?

Before installing APK via ADB commands, make sure ADB has been properly set up and that the device is being correctly detected.

  1. Connect your Android device to the computer, then open the folder containing SDK platform tools.
  2. Hold down Shift, then click. Select the ” Command window here” option from the menu. If you do not see the option to open the command windows, click the ” Open PowerShell Window here” button.
  3. Now, open the Command Prompt/PowerShell window and type the following code: .adb device. Press Enter.


  1. This will display your device’s name in the command window.
  2. If it doesn’t, there may be a problem in the driver.
  3. This problem is easy to solve. Open Device manager by going to the search bar of your computer.
  4. There will be a listing of your Android device. Click and then tap the Update Driver option.


  1. Next, click on “Look for Drivers Online”. If any drivers are available, they will be downloaded and installed automatically.
  2. Go back to Command prompt/PowerShell and type the command given above. Press Enter. Now you will be able see the device name on the screen.

This means that ADB was successfully configured and your device is properly connected. The ADB commands can be used to perform any operation on your phone. These commands must be entered in the PowerShell or Command Prompt window. You will need the APK file to be able to install an APK file on your device via ADB. Let’s assume we are installing an APK file for VLC media player.


Follow these steps to install the app onto your device.

  1. Move the APK file into the folder containing SDK platform tools. This will make it much easier since you won’t have to enter the complete path to the APK files separately.
  2. Next, open PowerShell or the command prompt window and type the following command: adb installation “, where the app name refers to the APK file. It will be “VLC.apk in our case.”
  3. After the installation is completed, you’ll see the message ” Successful” on your screen.


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You have now learned how ADB commands install APK. ADB, however, is a powerful tool that can perform many other operations. You will be able do much more if you know the syntax and code. We have something extra for you in the next section. You will find a few important commands you can use to have fun with your experiments.

Other Important ADB Commands

  1. “adb-install -r ” – This command can be used to update or reinstall an app. Let’s say you have an app already installed on your device and you want to update it using the most recent APK file. This is useful if a system app has been corrupted, and you need to update the app with its APK file.
  2. “adb installation -s” ” – This command will allow you to install an application on your SD Card if the app is compatible with the SD card, and if your device supports apps being installed on the SD cards.
  3. “adb uninstall” ” – This command will allow you to remove an app from your phone. However, you must enter the complete package name when uninstalling an application. For example, you need to write “” in order to uninstall Instagram from your device.
  4. “adb logcat” – This command will allow you to see the log files of your device.
  5. “adb Shell” – This command opens an interactive Linux command-line shell from your Android device.
  6. “adb push” /sdcard/ ” – This command will allow you to move a file from your computer to your Android device’s SD card. This command will transfer a file from your computer to your Android device. “File location Path” refers to the path of the file and “folder Name” refers to the directory in which the file will be transferred.
  7. “adb pull/sdcard/ ” – This command is the reverse of push command. This command allows you to transfer files from your Android device onto your computer. In place of “filename”, you will need to enter the name of the file from your SD card. In place of “filename”, specify the location on your computer where the file should be saved.
  8. “adb restart” – This command will allow you to reboot your device. By adding -bootloader to your reboot, you can choose to boot your device in the bootloader. You can also boot your device directly into Recovery mode with some devices by simply typing “reboot recovery”.




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