Setting up ADB on macOS: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting up ADB on macOS: A Step-by-Step Guide

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help


For Android developers, having the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) readily available in the terminal is crucial for efficient workflow. If you’re experiencing issues with adding ADB to your PATH on macOS, this guide will provide a comprehensive solution to get you up and running quickly.

Adding ADB to PATH Permanently

To ensure ADB is accessible from any terminal session, you’ll need to add it to your PATH variable. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Navigate to your home directory:
  2. Create a .bash_profile file if it doesn’t exist:
    touch .bash_profile
  3. Edit the .bash_profile with TextEdit:
    open -e .bash_profile
  4. Add the export line to .bash_profile:
    export PATH=$PATH:/Users/username/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/

    Make sure to replace “username” with your actual macOS username.

  5. Save the file and reload it:
    source ~/.bash_profile
  6. Verify that ADB is set in your path:
    adb version

If you’re using zsh instead of bash (as is the default for macOS Catalina and later), you’ll want to add the export line to your .zshrc file instead.

Alternative Method: Using Homebrew

If you prefer not to manually manage your PATH, you can install ADB via Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS:

brew cask install android-platform-tools

This command will handle the PATH setup for you.

Common Pitfalls

Here are some common issues that may arise when setting up ADB:

  • Ensure you’re not using ./adb when executing ADB commands, as this bypasses the PATH variable and looks for ADB in the current directory only.
  • Check that your PATH includes the correct full path to the ADB directory, including your username.
  • If you have both .profile and .bash_profile (or .zshrc for Catalina and later), macOS will only load the .bash_profile or .zshrc file.

Integrating with Repeato

Once you have ADB set up, it integrates seamlessly with tools like Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android apps. With ADB on board, Repeato allows you to execute ADB commands through script steps, further streamlining your test automation workflows. Its computer vision and AI capabilities make it fast to edit and run tests across various app frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, and Unity.


Setting up ADB on macOS doesn’t have to be a headache. With the steps provided in this guide, you should be able to add ADB to your PATH variable successfully. If you encounter any issues, revisit the common pitfalls section to troubleshoot your setup. Remember that for a more streamlined testing process, Repeato can enhance your workflow, leveraging the power of ADB and automated testing.

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