How to set up ADB and Fastboot on Mac

Android Marshmallow

For some reason, there is a popular belief among the Android community that installing and setting up ADB and Fastboot on a Mac is a very cumbersome process. The truth, however, is the exact opposite. It is significantly easier to setup ADB/Fastboot on a Mac when compared to a Windows based PC.

In fact, I now actually prefer to root Android devices on a Mac since it usually involves less headache. There are quite a few reasons behind this, including the fact that you can issue fastboot and ADB commands to a majority of the Android devices on a Mac without worrying about their drivers. On Windows though, it is impossible to execute a fastboot command without installing the drivers first as the PC will not be able to see the device itself.

ADB Android logo

Various guides on the Internet will recommend you to download the Android SDK manager to get ABDB running on your Mac. However, if you only want to use ADB/Fastboot to unlock the bootloader of your device and root it, there is no need to download the 400MB+ SDK.

Follow the steps below and you will be able to get ADB and Fastboot up and running on your Mac in less than 15 mins with hardly any effort.

Step 1: Open up Terminal on your Mac and execute the follow command:

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)”

This will install Homebrew on your Mac, which is necessary for installing ADB and fastboot via the method mentioned in this guide.

ADB Mac

Step 2: You will be prompted to download Xcode or only install the necessary files to run the commands properly. Select the ‘Install’ option and wait for the download to finish. If you already have Xcode installed on your Mac, you will not get any such dialog box.

Step 3: Once the necessary files are downloaded, you will need to enter the password of your local Mac account in Terminal so that the files can be installed successfully.

Brew for Mac

Step 4: After brew is installed, proceed to run the following command:

brew install android-platform-tools

This will download and install the very latest version ADB and fastboot files on your Mac. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this step can take anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes.

You can verify that ADB and fastboot are installed on your Mac by running the “adb version” command.


Next time you need to run an ADB or fastboot command, simply open up terminal and execute the ADB or Fastboot command you want to run straightaway. There is no need to navigate to any particular folder or directory before doing so. A major advantage of following the above steps to get ADB and Fastboot on your Mac is that they will be updated to their latest version automatically.

The only gripe with this method is that you will have to repeat it every time you upgrade the OS X version on your Mac — even to a minor OS X 10.11.x release.

If you are facing any trouble in getting ADB/Fastboot to run on your Mac, drop in a comment below and we will help you out.

Like this post? Share it!

Related Topics: How To

  • Matthew Yadron

    Thank you so much! I legit thought it was going to be a legit huge headache until I followed your guide. Best part is it legit took a whole five minutes from beginning to end!

    Thanks a ton!

  • e_rye

    should this work for mac running el cap os x 10.11?
    i get nothing entering that first command in terminal..

    • Yes, it will. Try restarting your Mac and then running the command again.

      • e_rye

        -e:1:in `’: undefined local variable or method `“’ for main:Object (NameError)

        same error before and after updating xcode to v7.2

        • Rupesh

          Few points:

          1) Looks like you copied the text from the article above. I would suggest you type instead and you need to give just one space.

          2) I had the same error and then I typed instead of copying. And then it returned saying Homebrew is already installed. Here is the return answer “It appears Homebrew is already installed. If your intent is to reinstall you should do the following before running this installer again:
          ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/uninstall)”

          If you follow this command you will first uninstall Homebrew and then use the first command to reinstall though it defeats the purpose.

          3) Finally, since Homebrew is already installed just proceed to do the next command (step 4).

  • ajftl250

    i get stuck on step 4 this is what I’m getting

    Error: No available formula with the name “android-platform-tools”

    It was migrated from homebrew/core to caskroom/cask.