Transferring Files to an Android Device Without SD Card Using ADB

Transferring Files to an Android Device Without SD Card Using ADB

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Have you ever needed to transfer a file from your computer to an Android device that lacks an SD card slot? This situation can often lead to confusion about where to transfer the files and how to ensure they are accessible on the device. This guide will walk you through the process using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) command-line tool.

Understanding ADB Push

The adb push command is used to copy files from your computer to an Android device. The syntax is quite straightforward:

adb push <source-file-path> <destination-path>

However, the challenge arises when the device does not have an SD card. In such cases, you’ll need to push the file to internal storage or a temporary directory within the device.

Steps to Push Files to Internal Storage

  1. Connect your Android device to the computer using a USB cable.
  2. Open a terminal or command prompt on your computer.
  3. Enter the following command to start an ADB shell session:
  4. adb shell
  5. Gain superuser access by typing:
  6. su
  7. Change the permissions of the temporary directory to allow read, write, and execute:
  8. chmod 777 /data/local/tmp/
  9. Exit the superuser mode and the shell:
  10. exit
  11. Now, push the file to the /data/local/tmp/ directory using the following command:
  12. adb push <source-file-path> /data/local/tmp/

It’s important to note that the /data/local/tmp/ directory is a common location with write permissions, but depending on your device configuration or Android version, you may need to find an alternative writable directory.

Alternative Directories for File Transfer

If you’re unable to use the /data/local/tmp/ directory, you can explore other directories such as /storage/emulated/0/ for internal storage or /mnt/sdcard/ for emulated SD card storage. Use the ls and cd commands in the ADB shell to navigate and find a suitable directory.

Product Highlight: Repeato

While ADB provides a manual method for file transfer, our product Repeato offers a more streamlined approach for app testing. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool for iOS and Android that can help manage files and execute ADB commands via “script steps.” This functionality can be particularly useful for automating the file transfer process as part of your test setup, ensuring that your app is tested with the necessary files in place.

Repeato works with all sorts of app frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Unity, etc., and comes with ADB on board. Its focus on ease of use and maintenance, powered by computer vision and AI, makes it an indispensable tool in modern mobile app development and testing.


In summary, transferring files to an Android device without an SD card involves using the ADB push command to move files to a writable directory on the device. Always ensure you have the necessary permissions to write to the chosen directory. Should you need a more integrated solution that aids in automated testing, consider exploring Repeato’s capabilities to enhance your development workflow.

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