androdeb (also known as adeb) provides a powerful Linux shell environment where one can run popular and mainstream Linux tracing, compiling, editing and other development tools on an existing Android device. All the commands typically available on a modern Linux system are supported in androdeb.


  1. Powerful development environment with all tools ready to go (editors, compilers, tracers, perl/python etc) for your on-device development.

  2. No more cross-compiler needed: Because it comes with gcc and clang, one can build target packages natively without needing to do any cross compilation. We even ship git, and have support to run apt-get to get any missing development packages from the web.

  3. Using these one can run popular tools such as BCC that are difficult to run in an Android environment due to lack of packages, dependencies and cross-compilation needed for their operation. Check BCC on Android using androdeb for more information on that.

  4. No more crippled tools: Its often a theme to build a static binary with features disabled, because you couldn‘t cross-compile the feature’s dependencies. One classic example is perf. However, thanks to androdeb, we can build perf natively on device without having to cripple it.

Requirements for running

Target: An ARM64 android N or later device which has “adb root” supported. Typically this is a build in a userdebug configuration. Device should have atleast 2 GB free space in the data partition. If you would like to use other architectures, see the Other Architectures section.

Host: A machine running recent Ubuntu or Debian, with 4GB of memory and 4GB free space. Host needs debootstrap and qemu-debootstrap packages. To install it, run sudo apt-get install qemu-user-static debootstrap. Other distributions may work but they are not tested.

Quick Start Instructions

  • Clone androdeb repository:
git clone
cd androdeb

# Add some short cuts:
sudo ln -s $(pwd)/adeb /usr/bin/adeb
sudo ln -s $(pwd)/androdeb /usr/bin/androdeb
  • Installing adeb onto your device:
# First make sure device is connected to system
# Then run, for the base image:
adeb prepare

The previous command only downloads and installs the base image.

Instead if you want to download and install the full image, do:

adeb prepare --full

* Now run adeb shell to enter your new environment!:

adeb shell

* Once done, hit `CTRL + D` and you will exit out of the shell. To remove androdeb from the device, run:

adeb remove

If you have multiple devices connected, please add `-s <serialnumber>`.
Serial numbers of all devices connected can be obtained by `adb devices`.

* To update the androdeb you cloned on your host, run:

adeb pull

To update an existing androdeb clone on your host, run:

adeb git-pull

More advanced usage instructions -------------------------------- ### Install kernel headers in addition to preparing androdeb device:

adeb prepare --kernelsrc /path/to/kernel-source

### Update kernel headers onto an already prepared device: If you need to put kernel sources for an existing install, run:

adeb prepare --kernelsrc /path/to/kernel-source --skip-install

Note: The kernel sources should have been built (atleast build should have started).

### Build and prepare device with a custom rootfs locally:

The androdeb fs will be prepared locally by downloading packages as needed:

adeb prepare --build

This is unlike the default behavior, where the androdeb rootfs is itself pulled from the web.

If you wish to do a full build (that is locally prepare a rootfs with all packages, including bcc, then do):

adeb prepare --full --build

### Add kernel headers to device in addition to building locally:

adeb prepare --build --kernelsrc /path/to/kernel-source/

### Build/install a base image with BCC:

adeb prepare --build --bcc --kernelsrc /path/to/kernel-source/

Note: BCC is built from source. Also `--kernelsrc` is recommended for tools to
function unless device has them already.

### Extract the FS from the device, after its prepared:

adeb prepare --buildtar /path/

After device is prepared, it will extract the root fs from it
and store it as a tar archive at `/path/androdeb-fs.tgz`. This
can be used later.

### Use a previously prepared androdeb rootfs tar from local:

adeb prepare --archive /path/androdeb-fs.tgz

### Build a standalone raw EXT4 image out of the FS:

adeb prepare --buildimage /path/to/image.img

This can then be passed to Qemu as -hda. Note: This option doesn't need a
device connected.

### How to use androdeb for other Architectures (other than ARM64)
By default androdeb assumes the target Android device is based on ARM64
processor architecture. For other architectures, use the --arch option. For
example for x86_64 architecture, run:

adeb prepare --build --arch amd64 --bcc --kernelsrc /path/to/kernel-source/

Note: The --download option ignores the --arch flag. This is because we only
provide pre-built filesystems for ARM64 at the moment.