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fb-adb is a tool for interacting with Android systems. It does much of what adb does, but with better remote shell support and, hopefully, fewer bugs. Differences between adb and fb-adb are that fb-adb:

  • is binary clean (no LF -> CRLF mangling)
  • transmits and updates window size
  • distinguishes standard output and standard error
  • properly muxes streams with independent flow control
  • allows for ssh-like pty allocation control
  • propagates program exit status instead of always exiting with status 0
  • properly escapes program arguments
  • kills remote program
  • provides a generic facility to elevate to root without re-escaping


You can use Homebrew to install fb-adb binaries:

brew install fb-adb


An out-of-tree build is required. You'll need a copy of the Android NDK: tell configure about it by setting the ANDROID_NDK environment variable to your NDK path or by using the --with-android-ndk argument to the configure script.

For example:

export ANDROID_NDK=/path/to/android-ndk
mkdir build
cd build

If building on Mac, you need gmake to build. You can use Homebrew to get it:

brew install homebrew/core/make

on earlier systems this was:

brew tap homebrew/dupes
brew install homebrew/dupes/make

and then use gmake instead of make.


The fb-adb executable itself has no dependencies other than the adb executable, which must be on PATH. Generally, you can use fb-adb just like adb; fb-adb forwards unknown commands to adb. fb-adb supports the same device-selection options that adb does.

fb-adb shell is the fancy shell command that supports the features described above. Run fb-adb shell -h for additional options.


  • Capture a screenshot from device and write it locally to a timestamped file:

    fb-adb rcmd screencap -p > screenshot-$(timestamp).png

  • Dump database.db of the app:

    fb-adb rcmd -u sqlite3 /data/data/ .d

  • Open remote shell as the user

    fb-adb shell -u

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