Starting and Stopping Android Services Using ADB Shell

Starting and Stopping Android Services Using ADB Shell

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When developing Android applications, you may need to start or stop services directly from an ADB shell for testing purposes. This guide will walk you through the process of controlling Android services via ADB commands.

Defining Your Service in the Manifest

Before you can start or stop a service using ADB, you need to ensure that your service is properly declared in your AndroidManifest.xml file. Here’s an example of how to declare a service:

        <service android:name="com.yourpackage.YourService"
                <action android:name="com.yourpackage.YourService"/>

Make sure to replace com.yourpackage.YourService with your actual package name and service class name.

Starting a Service

To start a service, use the following command:

        adb shell am startservice com.yourpackage/.YourService

You may also include additional intent flags as necessary for your specific service.

Stopping a Service

There are different approaches to stop a service depending on the Android version:

  • For Android versions below 8.0 (Oreo), you can use:

                    adb shell am force-stop com.yourpackage
  • For Android 8.0 (Oreo) and above, due to background execution limits, you may need to run your service in the foreground:

                    adb shell am start-foreground-service com.yourpackage/.YourService
  • To stop a service, first find the service name with:

                    adb shell dumpsys activity services com.yourpackage

    Then use the service name to stop it:

                    adb shell am stopservice com.yourpackage/.YourService

Exporting Your Service

To start a service from ADB, you must set the android:exported="true" attribute in your service declaration within the AndroidManifest.xml file:


Utilizing Repeato for Automation

If you’re looking to streamline your testing process further, consider using Repeato, a no-code test automation tool suitable for iOS and Android. Repeato can create, run, and maintain automated tests for your apps with ease. It’s especially useful for editing and executing tests quickly, leveraging computer vision and AI to adapt to changes in the app’s UI.

Repeato is compatible with various app frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Unity, and more. It also includes ADB on board, allowing you to execute ADB commands via script steps, which can be incredibly helpful when automating service-related tasks.


Starting and stopping Android services through ADB can be an essential part of app development and testing. With the right ADB commands and a tool like Repeato, you can significantly enhance your testing automation and efficiency.

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