Troubleshooting ‘adbd cannot run as root in production builds’ Error on Android Devices

Troubleshooting 'adbd cannot run as root in production builds' Error on Android Devices

22 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When working with Android development tools, specifically when attempting to access your rooted Android device through your computer, you might encounter the error message “adbd cannot run as root in production builds”. This can be a stumbling block for developers looking to perform operations that require root privileges. In this article, we’ll explore solutions to resolve this error and ensure smooth interaction with your device.

Understanding the Issue

The core of the problem lies in the fact that the Android Debug Bridge daemon (adbd) on your device does not inherently operate with root permissions, even if the device itself is rooted. This restriction is in place as a security measure to prevent unauthorized root-level access to the device’s system.

The most straightforward solution to this problem is to use an application called ‘adbd Insecure’ by Chainfire. This utility allows you to start the adbd service in an “insecure” mode, granting it the required root permissions temporarily. Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Install ‘adbd Insecure’ on your device. You can find it on the Google Play Store or download a free version from the XDA-Developers forum.
  2. Run the ‘adbd Insecure’ app on your device and follow the instructions to patch your adbd service.
  3. On your computer, execute the following command to restart the adb server:
    adb kill-server
  4. Restart the adb server. It should now run with root permissions.

Alternative Methods

For those who have rooted their Android device using Magisk, a different approach may be necessary:

  • Install the ‘adb_root’ module from GitHub. This module allows ‘adb root’ to run smoothly on devices with Magisk.
  • If you encounter issues with the above, ensure that you grant root access to the shell within the Magisk app. This is done within the Superuser tab of the Magisk app.

It’s important to note that these methods may vary depending on the Android version and the rooting method used. For Android 12 rooted with Magisk, some users have found success by manually starting the shell with ‘su’ after enabling root access for the shell in the Magisk app.

Introducing Repeato

While addressing the ‘adbd cannot run as root in production builds’ error is crucial for manual file operations, automated testing tools like Repeato can significantly streamline your testing workflow. Repeato is a No-code test automation tool for iOS and Android that simplifies creating, running, and maintaining automated tests for your apps. It’s designed to work efficiently with all sorts of app frameworks, and it leverages computer vision and AI to provide a seamless testing experience.

Moreover, Repeato comes with built-in ADB support, allowing you to execute ADB commands within your automated tests through script steps. This integration can be particularly useful when dealing with tasks that require adb interactions, potentially bypassing some of the manual steps mentioned earlier.

For more insights on automating your testing process and integrating ADB commands into your workflow, check out our articles on managing ADB shell with multiple connected devices and launching Android applications via ADB.

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