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How to record android screen using adb.exe

Android is one of the most popular mobile operating system which runs on a variety of modern devices, this includes the smartphones, Smart TVs, including Smart Watches, and other portable gadgets. Over the years, there have been various version of android released but recording of your android smartphone wasn’t possible with earlier releases up until KitKat 4.4. Subsequent versions came with screen recording support meaning if you are running later versions of than kitKat 4.4, then you will be able to record android screen using ADB.

record android screen

What is ADB?

ADB also known as Android Debug Bridge is a small piece of command-line tool from Google that enables you to communicate with your android device (an emulator or a connected Android device). The adb command facilitates a variety of device actions, such as installing and debugging apps, and it provides access to a Unix shell that you can use to run a variety of commands on a device. It is a client-server program that includes three components:

  • A client, which sends commands. The client runs on your development machine. You can invoke a client from a command-line terminal by issuing an adb command.
  • A daemon (adbd), which runs commands on a device. The daemon runs as a background process on each device.
  • A server, which manages communication between the client and the daemon. The server runs as a background process on your development machine.

Enable USB Debugging on Phone

Before you can use ADB to connect to your smartphone, you must first enable USB debugging via the Developer settings on your smartphone. To do this, I am using a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Android version 7.0). If you are still running earlier version post KitKat 4.4, then the steps are a bit different. For those, you will need to tap on “Build number” 7 times to open the developer mode.

  • Click on Apps > Settings. Scroll to the end and click on Developer options
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record android screen

  • Locate the option “USB debugging” and enable it

record android screen

  • Accept the prompt to allow access

record android screen

Download and install Android Debug Bridge

To get the adb.exe tool, you must first download the Android SDK (Software Development Kit) package either as a standalone package or as part of Android Studio. For the purpose of this post, we will download just the standalone package.

  • Click here and under Download, download the file that corresponds to the OS you are doing this on.

record android screen

  • After download, unzip the downloaded zip file to location where you want to run the adb file from.
  • To launch adb tool, open the folder where adb.exe is, hold shift and right-click anywhere in the folder, then click on “Open command window here”

record android screen

  • Run the command “adb.exe” to ensure it works

record android screen

Record Android Screen

  • To record your android phone screen, first connect your android phone with USB, and accept any prompt you get on your phone.
  • Next run the following command to start screen recording “adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/example.mp4”

record android screen

  • To end recording, simply press Ctrl+C commands on your keyboard
  • To see the recorded file, navigate to your phone storage directory and you will see the mp4 file listed

record android screen

Note: The only caveat to this is that this method does not record the sound of the phone especially for those trying to record a sound based item on their phone.

About the author


A passionate Linux and Open Source user. In my spare time, I love developing mobile games for fun (You can check my games out iOS Store | Google Play Store) and also spend time contributing to the Linux community.

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