Resolving “ADB root is not working on emulator” Issue

Resolving "ADB root is not working on emulator" Issue

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Encountering the “adbd cannot run as root in production builds” error can be a stumbling block when trying to perform root-level actions on your Android emulator. This guide aims to assist you in overcoming this hurdle by outlining the steps necessary to enable root access on your emulator.

Understanding the Root Access Requirement

Root access is often required for developers who need to perform advanced debugging or simulate certain user behavior. However, not all emulator system images are designed to grant root privileges. To perform actions as root, you must select an appropriate system image when creating your emulator.

Choosing the Correct Emulator System Image

To ensure you have root access on your emulator, follow these steps:

  1. Open Android Studio and navigate to Tools > AVD Manager.
  2. Click on the + Create Virtual Device… button.
  3. Select your desired virtual hardware and click Next.
  4. Choose a system image for the emulator.
  • Avoid images labeled as “Google Play” as they do not permit root access.
  • If you require Google APIs, select an image marked with “Google APIs“.
  • You may need to look under the “x86 Images” or “Other Images” tabs to find a suitable image.
  • If necessary, click the Download button to obtain the image.
  • Complete the creation of your new AVD by following the remaining prompts.
  • Start your new AVD by clicking the green play button in the AVD window.
  • Once the emulator is running, you can test for root access:

    • Execute the command adb root in your terminal or command prompt.
    • The output should state either “restarting adbd as root” or “adbd is already running as root“.
    • If you see the error message “adbd cannot run as root in production builds“, you will need to select a different system image that allows root access.

    Practical Use Case in Automated Testing

    Having the ability to run your emulator as root is essential in certain automated testing scenarios. Our product, Repeato, leverages this capability to its full extent. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool for iOS and Android apps that allows for efficient creation, execution, and maintenance of automated tests. It utilizes computer vision and AI to work seamlessly with various app frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Unity, and more.

    Repeato features an integrated ADB, enabling you to execute ADB commands through script steps. This can be particularly useful when you need to interact with your app at a system level or automate tasks that require root privileges. By selecting the correct emulator image as described above, you can ensure that Repeato’s advanced testing capabilities are fully operational, enhancing your app’s quality and reliability.

    For more information on Android development and automation, explore our articles on issues like troubleshooting ADB device unauthorized issues or launching Android applications via ADB.

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