Troubleshooting ADB Server Failures in Android Studio

Troubleshooting ADB Server Failures in Android Studio

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When working with Android Studio, encountering ADB (Android Debug Bridge) server issues can halt your development and testing process. If you’re facing difficulties with starting the ADB server and encountering errors related to adbkey checks, this guide is here to help you troubleshoot and resolve these challenges.

Identifying the Problem

The common symptoms include failures when starting the ADB server with messages indicating issues with the adbkey file or USB packet sizes. These errors might look something like this:

--- adb starting (pid 1414) ---
adb I 12-05 17:28:30  1414 48453 adb_auth_host.cpp:416] 
adb I 12-05 17:28:30  1414 48453 adb_auth_host.cpp:174] read_key_file '/Users/[username]/.android/adbkey'...
adb F 12-05 17:28:30  1414 48466 transport_usb.cpp:37] Check failed: usb_packet_size < 4096ULL (usb_packet_size=5120, 4096ULL=4096) 

Proven Solutions

Downgrade Platform Tools

One effective solution is to downgrade your platform tools to an earlier version. This approach has resolved the issue for many developers. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Remove the current platform-tools directory from your android-sdk directory.
  2. Download an older version of the Platform Tools for Mac:
  3. Unzip the downloaded file and replace the current platform-tools directory with the unzipped one.

Unplug Devices and Use Emulator

If you do not need to test on a physical device, try unplugging it and use an emulator instead. Certain issues have been reported only when specific devices, particularly from the Google Pixel line, were connected.

Revoke USB Debugging Authorizations

Another method that has worked for some is to revoke USB debugging authorizations on the phone, followed by rebooting both the phone and the computer. This can sometimes clear up the issues causing ADB server failures.

Check Your USB Cable

It’s also been noted that the type of USB cable used can affect ADB’s functionality. If you’re using a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable, try switching to the cable that came with your phone, typically a USB-C to USB 2.0, which may resolve the issue without requiring a rollback of platform tools.

Integrating Repeato for Streamlined Testing

While resolving ADB issues is crucial for development and manual testing, automating your testing process can significantly improve efficiency and reliability. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool that can help you overcome the challenges of manual testing. As a solution-oriented tool, Repeato allows you to create and run automated tests for your apps on both iOS and Android platforms, without writing a single line of code. With its AI-based computer vision, Repeato recognizes elements on the screen, making it flexible and fast to edit and run tests across different app frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Unity, etc.

Furthermore, Repeato comes with ADB on board, which means you can also execute ADB commands via “script steps,” streamlining your testing process even when faced with ADB-related issues. To learn more about how Repeato can aid in your testing efforts, visit our product page on Repeato vs. Appium.


Encountering ADB server issues can be frustrating, but with the right approach, you can quickly get back to developing and testing your Android applications. Remember to consider the age of the answers you find online, as newer solutions may be more relevant to the current software environment. Whether it’s downgrading your platform tools, changing your USB cable, or integrating powerful automation tools like Repeato, there’s always a path forward. Happy coding!

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