Troubleshooting ADB Reverse Forwarding on Older Android Devices

Troubleshooting ADB Reverse Forwarding on Older Android Devices

21 May 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Developers often use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to establish a reverse forwarding of ports between their development machine and an Android device. This can be critical when developing apps that require the device to communicate with a server running on the computer. However, some users encounter an “error: closed” message when attempting to set up reverse port forwarding, particularly on older devices.

Understanding the “adb reverse” Command

The “adb reverse” command is a useful feature introduced in Android 5.0 (Lollipop) that allows the device to connect back to the development machine on a specified port. It effectively reverses the direction of an ADB forwarding, which by default, would only allow the development machine to connect to the device.

Limitation on Older Devices

Unfortunately, if you are working with an Android device that runs a version lower than 5.0, you will not be able to use the “adb reverse” command as it is not supported. This is a common issue with legacy devices, such as the Nexus 7 (2012) running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, and would result in an “error: closed” message.

Alternative Solutions

For devices that do not support “adb reverse,” developers can use alternative methods to achieve a similar result. One such method is to connect via Wi-Fi.

Connecting via Wi-Fi

By connecting your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your development machine, you can bypass the need for “adb reverse.” Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Install your app on the device using a USB cable.
  2. Find your development machine’s current IP address.
  3. Open your app on the device, access the in-app Developer menu.
  4. Go to “Dev Settings” → “Debug server host for device.”
  5. Enter your machine’s IP address followed by the port of the local dev server (e.g., “”).
  6. Return to the Developer menu and select “Reload JS.”

Repeato: Streamlining Your Development Workflow

While the solutions above provide a way to work around the limitations of older Android devices, having the right tools can streamline your development and testing workflow. This is where Repeato comes into play.

Repeato is a no-code test automation tool that not only simplifies the creation and maintenance of automated tests for iOS and Android apps but also integrates seamlessly with ADB. With its built-in ADB capabilities, Repeato allows you to execute ADB commands via “script steps,” offering precise timing and sequencing for your automated tests. This can be particularly useful when managing various test scenarios that require interaction with the device at a system level.

Whether you are dealing with port forwarding issues or looking to optimize your testing process, Repeato provides a robust platform that leverages computer vision and AI to ensure your apps function flawlessly across different devices and versions. Learn more about how Repeato can enhance your testing strategies in our documentation.

For developers facing the challenge of working with older Android devices, the limitations of ADB can be frustrating. However, by using alternative methods like Wi-Fi connection and leveraging modern tools like Repeato, you can maintain productivity and ensure the quality of your applications.

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