Resolving “run-as: Could not set capabilities: Operation not permitted” Error on Android 6.0.1

Resolving "run-as: Could not set capabilities: Operation not permitted" Error on Android 6.0.1

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

If you’ve encountered the error message run-as: Could not set capabilities: Operation not permitted while trying to use the run-as command on Android 6.0.1, you’re likely seeking a solution to continue your development work without interruption. This common issue often arises when developers attempt to access their app’s data during testing and debugging.

Understanding the Issue

The run-as command is typically used to execute a package with the identity and privileges of a specific application. However, due to changes in Android OS or device-specific restrictions, this command may fail, resulting in the aforementioned error.

Common Causes and Solutions

One of the most common causes for this error is device-specific alterations to the run-as command’s capabilities. For example, on Samsung devices, the issue is often due to the removal of the setuid flag, which prevents run-as from switching to a different user identity. Unfortunately, this is a firmware issue that cannot be resolved without an update from Samsung.

Alternative Method: ADB Backup

As a workaround, developers can use the adb backup command to access their app’s data. Here is a step-by-step guide to perform an ADB backup:

  1. Execute the following command to create a backup file of your application data:
    adb backup -f data.ab my.package
  2. Extract the backup file using one of the following methods:
    • Using dd and openssl commands:
      dd if=data.ab bs=24 skip=1 | openssl zlib -d > data.tar
    • Using the Android Backup Extractor tool, which can handle and create .ab files. Follow the instructions provided by the tool to extract your data.

Considerations for Visual Studio Users

If you’re using Visual Studio and encountering this error, it may be related to your build configurations. In some cases, setting the EmbedAssembliesIntoApk to true within the project file has resolved the issue. Additionally, ensure that you are not using the “Fast Deployment” feature as it might cause similar problems.

Introducing Repeato

While the above solutions can help you overcome the immediate hurdle, ensuring smooth and efficient testing workflows is essential for any development process. This is where Repeato shines. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool designed for iOS and Android applications, enabling you to create, run, and maintain automated tests with ease. Thanks to its use of computer vision and AI, Repeato is not only flexible across different app frameworks but also highly efficient in editing and running tests.

With ADB integrated, Repeato allows you to execute ADB commands through script steps, streamlining your testing process and providing a robust alternative to manual command-line operations. Whether you’re dealing with a complex issue like the run-as error or simply looking to optimize your testing strategy, Repeato offers a powerful and user-friendly solution.

To learn more about how Repeato can enhance your app testing and alleviate common issues, visit our product page.

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