The Android Debug Bridge is a utility that allows you to connect an Android phone or tablet to your computer and send commands to your device over a USB or WiFi connection. It’s part of the Android Software Developer Kit, and if you’ve read my instructions for rooting the Amazon Kindle Fire or NOOK Tablet, you know that you either need to install the SDK or at least ADB in order to get started.
But it turns out there’s an easy way to use ADB without installing the full Android SDK. There’s an app called QtADB which lets you connect a Mac, Linux, or Windows PC to an Android device using ADB. But what makes QtADB special is that it provides a graphical user interface that lets you access some of the most commonly used ADB functions without firing up a command prompt.
Here are a few of the things you can do with QtADB:
- Copy files to and from your mobile device.
- Backup or restore applications or copy them to your computer.
- Uninstall apps from your device.
- View detailed information about your phone or tablet.
- Take screenshots of your mobile device.
- Send a reboot command to your device.
- Reboot into recovery mode.
You can also open an ADB shell window to enter commands manually using a terminal window.
There’s also an option to manage your SMS messages, but you’ll need to install a QtADB app on your Android device in order to access your messages on a PC.
In order to use all the features you may need to have a rooted Android device with BusyBox installed, so QtADB might not help you root a Kindle Fire, NOOK Tablet, or similar device. But once you’ve rooted your device you can use QtADB to help manage your device without understanding all the ins and outs of the Android SDK.
If nothing else, QtADB may provide the quickest and easiest way to backup your Android apps to a computer for safe keeping or to transfer to another device.
In order to run QtADB you’ll need to download the appropriate version for your operating system and download the binaries for Linux, Windows, or OS X. Yuo can find all the download links from the QtADB website.