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Using ADB & FASTBOOT in OSX / Mac

Desire Q&A - xda-developers -

I thought I'd add this here because I've recently starting using OSX after building my own hackintosh out of PC parts. I got very fed up with Windows and the need for drivers all over the shop so I'm moved over now.

I've also just got into flashing my HTC Desire and it was made very easy by lots of the guys here. One thing that will always be useful when rooting and flashing your phone is ADB. There are lots of guides out there for ADB on Windows but I wanted to run in natively in OSX.

After a lot of research and a few failed attempts .... I've now worked out how to run ADB in OSX.

What you will need:

A Mac

USB cable

Android SDK for OSX-

At the time of writing this the version was "android-sdk_r08-mac_86" so please have a look at the above link and let me know if you can't find that same version.

So download the zip file and I would extract it to a folder where you are happy to keep it such as within your user home folder i.e. Macintosh HD/Users/{Your User Name} and for my mac it is Users/siedkins which is how I have my OSX set up.

Then open then still in Finder, open "android-sdk-mac_86" then "tools".

Now launch Terminal - ? + space then type Terminal or Applications>Utilities>Terminal

Now drag and drop the file called "android" in the "tools" folder into your terminal window and you should see something like:


Then hit enter - this should load Android SDK

Next go to Available Packages on the left and Android Repository > Android SDK Platform-tools, revision 1 -tick the box and hit "Install Selected"

It should download and install the Platform Tools which includes ADB !!!!

Now quit Android SDK after it has downloaded and go back into Finder. Now you should see a new folder "platform-tools" in the "android-sdk-mac_86" folder. Open that and you can now see a file called adb.

Now .... I am going to show you how to make your life a lot easier in Terminal to run ADB without having to navigate to the folder every time you want to launch it.

Go back to your Terminal window and type (or copy & paste):


cd ~

The screen should then look like


For me I have:

Mac-Pro:~ siedkins$

Next, type


touch .bash_profile

to create your new bash / path file

Next, type


open -e .bash_profile

to open it in TextEdit.

Now into Text Edit please copy:


export PATH=${PATH}:

Then go into Finder and navigate your your "android-sdk-mac_86" folder. Then click on the "platform-tools" folder and drag and drop this into TextEdit at the end of the code above that you copied. Mine looks like:

export PATH=${PATH}:/Users/siedkins/android-sdk-mac_86/platform-tools/

Yours should look like:

export PATH=${PATH}:insert your path to the "platform-tools" folder in your Android SDK here

All you need is that one line. Then Save and exit TextEdit and then very importantly QUIT TERMINAL.

***** If you have issues being able to save the file at all then please jump to the bottom of the post*****

Now ........ to turn on USB Debugging in your handset Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging - ticked and also go to Settings > Connect to PC > Default connection type > Charge Only and also UNTICK "Ask me ..." there also. You can always go back here and change these settings back.

Now plug in your phone to a USB port. I noticed that if I plugged my phone into one of the standard USB ports on the front of my machine I couldn't see the phone further down the line and if I plugged it into a powered USB port on the front (I have an "akasa AK-ICR-08" which has a powered connector behind the 5 USB ports. But you guys will probably be using a MacBook or MacPro and there shouldn't be any issues with the power to your USB ports.

Now to launch ADB - re-open terminal (remember that you had quit it - very important!) then type in:


adb devices

And you should see:

List of devices attached


where XXXXXXXX is your unique phone ID.

Now you can run all of your favourite ADB commands straight by typing:

adb shell

etc straight into Terminal. I won't go into that here as there are plenty of guides about what to do with ADB once it's installed!

Now you have ADB setup on your Mac and can run it without the need for installing HTC Sync - un-installing it - loading some modified drivers over the top !!!!

It all just works !!!!!!

Please drop me a line if you have any queries about this !


If you are have user account issues such as Terminal or TextEdit says that you can't do anything then try adding "sudo" to the front of your terminal command as this will allow you to execute the account as a superuser or root user for OSX! ROOT!!! Note that you will have to enter your password to enable the superuser access rights and you won't see anything as you type in your password.

i.e. try:


sudo touch .bash_profile



sudo /Applications/ .bash_profile

(slight change in the coding here to ensure that TextEdit opens

Or you could do:


sudo pico .bash_profile

This will open up the Pico text editor instead of TextEdit. Here you will have to type out all of the text then you press "ctrl+x" to exit and then you can save on the next screen. To check that has worked you can then open the file in terminal again and check it with the normal command:


open -e .bash_profile


Please see post #37 for How To Use ADB Over WIRELESS !!!!

************************************************** **********************

EDIT - 27th JAN 2010


I've now found you all a precompiled version of Fast Boot:

Please download and unzip the precompiled version for OSX to your "SDK/platform-tools" folder.

Rename the unzipped file from "fastboot-mac" just to "fastboot". You need to fix the permissions of the fastboot file using CHMOD in Terminal.

In Terminal navigate to your "SDK/platform-tools" folder and then type:



You should see all of the files in your "platform-tools" folder such as adb, aapt, fastboot, etc.

Then type:


chmod 777 fastboot


Now with the permissions fixed you should be able to run fastboot.

Connect your phone via USB and set to "charging only". Then turn off your phone and leave the USB in. Then hold the back key and then turn your phone on again. You will have a white screen with 3 skateboarding androids on.

Now in Terminal type:


fastboot devices

And you should see your unqiue phone ID! (Note that you have to be at that white screen with the skateboarders for the "fastboot devices" code to run!

Now you have a fully working fastboot !!!

Sorry this explanation is a bit short - I did write out a longer one but my browser crashed and I lost it all. However if you cannot follow the above then I think it's maybe best that you don't use fastboot as you could seriously brick your phone.

NOTE - I HAVE NEVER USED FASTBOOT TO FLASH A RADIO OR PHONE SO I PROBABLY WON'T BE ABLE TO HELP IF YOU GET ERRORS IN USING FASTBOOT OR FLASHING YOUR DEVICE ! The above information is how to shortcut the navigation to the folder. Please don't blame me if you break the recovery image of your phone!
Date: Jan 6, 2013   

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