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adb-sync is a tool to synchronize files between a PC and an Android device using the ADB (Android Debug Bridge).

Related Projects

Before getting used to this, please review this list of projects that are somehow related to adb-sync and may fulfill your needs better:

  • rsync is a file synchronization tool for local (including FUSE) file systems or SSH connections. This can be used even with Android devices if rooted or using an app like SSHelper.
  • adbfs is a FUSE file system that uses adb to communicate to the device. Requires a rooted device, though.
  • adbfs-rootless is a fork of adbfs that requires no root on the device. Does not play very well with rsync.
  • go-mtpfs is a FUSE file system to connect to Android devices via MTP. Due to MTP's restrictions, only a certain set of file extensions is supported. To store unsupported files, just add .txt! Requires no USB debugging mode.


Android Side

First you need to enable USB debugging mode. This allows authorized computers (on Android before 4.4.3 all computers) to perform possibly dangerous operations on your device. If you do not accept this risk, do not proceed and try using go-mtpfs instead!

On your Android device:

  • Go to the Settings app.
  • If there is no "Developer Options" menu:
    • Select "About".
    • Tap "Build Number" seven times.
    • Go back.
  • Go to "Developer Options".
  • Enable "USB Debugging".

PC Side

  • Install the Android SDK (the stand-alone Android SDK "for an existing IDE" is sufficient). Alternatively, some Linux distributions come with a package named like "android-tools-adb" that contains the required tool.
  • Make sure "adb" is in your PATH. If you use a package from your Linux distribution, this should already be the case; if you used the SDK, you probably will have to add an entry to PATH in your ~/.profile file, log out and log back in.
  • git clone
  • cd adb-sync
  • Copy or symlink the adb-sync script somewhere in your PATH. For example: cp adb-sync /usr/local/bin/


To get a full help, type:

adb-sync --help

To synchronize your music files from ~/Music to your device, type one of:

adb-sync ~/Music /sdcard
adb-sync ~/Music/ /sdcard/Music

To synchronize your music files from ~/Music to your device, deleting files you removed from your PC, type one of:

adb-sync --delete ~/Music /sdcard
adb-sync --delete ~/Music/ /sdcard/Music

To copy all downloads from your device to your PC, type:

adb-sync --reverse /sdcard/Download/ ~/Downloads

ADB Channel

This package also contains a separate tool called adb-channel, which is a convenience wrapper to connect a networking socket on the Android device to file descriptors on the PC side. It can even launch and shut down the given application automatically!

It is best used as a ProxyCommand for SSH (install SSHelper first) using a configuration like:

Host sshelper
Port 2222
ProxyCommand adb-channel tcp:%p com.arachnoid.sshelper/.SSHelperActivity 1

After adding this to ~/.ssh/config, run ssh-copy-id sshelper.

Congratulations! You can now use rsync, sshfs etc. to the host name sshelper.


Patches to this project are very welcome.

Before sending a patch or pull request, we ask you to fill out one of the Contributor License Agreements:


This is not an official Google product.


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