How to Access the “data/data” Folder in Android Devices Without Rooting

How to Access the "data/data" Folder in Android Devices Without Rooting

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Developers often need to access the application data stored in the “data/data” directory of Android devices. This can pose a challenge, especially when attempting to access these files on a physical device without root permissions. In this guide, we’ll explore methods to retrieve data from your app’s private directory without rooting your Android device.

Utilizing ADB for Data Access

Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a versatile command-line tool that lets you communicate with a device. The ADB command facilitates a variety of device actions, such as installing and debugging apps, and it provides access to a Unix shell that you can use to run various commands on a device.

Method 1: Using the run-as Command

If your application is debuggable, you can use the run-as command in ADB shell to copy files to your computer:

adb shell
run-as com.your.packagename
cp /data/data/com.your.packagename/

Method 2: Android’s Backup Function

Another approach is to leverage Android’s built-in backup functionality:

adb backup -noapk com.your.packagename

After executing this command, follow the prompt on your device to complete the backup operation. It’s advisable to avoid setting a password for ease of data extraction. The resulting ‘backup.ab’ file on your computer will contain all the application data in Android backup format, which is essentially a compressed tar file.

To uncompress this file, you can utilize OpenSSL’s zlib command:

dd if=mybackup.ab bs=24 skip=1 | openssl zlib -d > mybackup.tar

Accessing Data via Android Studio

For those using Android Studio 3.0 or later, accessing the ‘data/data’ directory is more straightforward:

  • Open Android Studio.
  • Click View > Tool Windows > Device File Explorer.
  • Navigate to ‘/data/data/[package-name]’.

Note that you can only expand the directories of packages that are running in debug mode on a non-rooted device.

Repeato: Aiding Debugging and Data Access

While the methods outlined above can be effective, they can also be cumbersome, especially for those not familiar with command-line tools or the intricacies of Android’s file system. This is where Repeato, a no-code test automation tool, comes into play.

Repeato simplifies the process of creating, running, and maintaining automated tests for your apps. With its ability to work across various app frameworks and its integration of ADB, Repeato can streamline the testing and debugging process. Its computer vision and AI capabilities allow for quick test editing and execution, making it an invaluable tool for developers looking to efficiently access and test their application data.

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