Resolving ADB Device Permissions Issues on Ubuntu

Resolving ADB Device Permissions Issues on Ubuntu

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When working with Android devices on Ubuntu, encountering permission issues with the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) can be a common hurdle. This guide aims to assist developers in resolving the “no permissions” or “insufficient permissions for device” errors that may arise when using ADB.

Understanding the Issue

ADB is a versatile command-line tool that allows you to communicate with an Android device. The typical “no permissions” error can manifest in various ways:

  • Running adb devices lists devices but with a “no permissions” status.
  • Executing adb shell results in an “error: insufficient permissions for device” message.
  • Using sudo adb devices may lead to a “command not found” error if the ADB executable is not in the system’s $PATH for the root user.

Addressing the Permissions Issue

The primary cause of these errors is often a misconfigured udev rule. Udev rules define how Ubuntu recognizes devices and assigns permissions. To resolve the issue, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create or Edit Udev Rules

Create or edit the udev rule for Android devices by using the following command:

sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules

Add the following line to the file, replacing idVendor with the specific vendor ID for your Android device:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="XXXX", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"

Save the file and exit the editor.

Step 2: Apply the Udev Rules

After creating or modifying the udev rules file, apply the changes with the following command:

sudo udevadm control --reload-rules

Step 3: Restart ADB

If ADB is already running, you will need to restart it to apply the new udev rules:

sudo adb kill-server

This command stops the ADB server. The server will restart automatically the next time you run an ADB command, but with the correct permissions set by the updated udev rule.

Ensuring Proper $PATH Configuration

If you encounter a “command not found” error when running ADB with sudo, it indicates that the ADB executable is not located in the system’s $PATH for the root user. To solve this, create a symbolic link to the ADB executable within a directory that is included in the root’s $PATH, such as /usr/local/sbin:

sudo ln -s /path/to/adb /usr/local/sbin/adb

Additional Considerations

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio may start their own ADB server instances. If you’re using an IDE, ensure that it is configured to recognize the updated udev rules and ADB path settings.

Integrating with Repeato

When developing and testing Android applications, using a tool like Repeato can significantly streamline the process. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool that supports a wide range of app frameworks, including React Native, Flutter, and Unity.

Repeato’s fast editing and test execution capabilities, combined with its use of computer vision and AI, make it an ideal companion for developers facing ADB issues. With ADB built-in, Repeato allows the execution of ADB commands through script steps, ensuring that your automated tests integrate seamlessly with your development workflow.

For more insights into setting up ADB and enhancing your Android app testing, explore our articles on Setting up ADB on macOS and Managing ADB Shell with Multiple Connected Devices.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be able to resolve ADB device permission issues on Ubuntu and enjoy a smoother development and testing experience. Should you encounter further issues or require additional support, consider leveraging the capabilities of Repeato to optimize your app’s automated testing process.

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