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android – Not able to access adb in OS X through Terminal, "command not found"

Posted by: admin March 10, 2020 Leave a comment


I have installed Android SDK and Eclipse on my Mac system. I am able to program using Eclipse and have created few sample applications. But I am still not able to access adb through the terminal window. I have tried following command in terminal:

$ pwd

$ ls
NOTICE.txt  dexdump     llvm-rs-cc-2
aapt        dx          llvm-rs-cc.txt
adb         lib         source.properties
aidl        llvm-rs-cc

$ adb --help
-bash: adb: command not found

I have also added the ls output so that you know in which window I am.

How to&Answers:

The problem is: adb is not in your PATH. This is where the shell looks for executables. You can check your current PATH with echo $PATH.

Bash will first try to look for a binary called adb in your Path, and not in the current directory. Therefore, if you are currently in the platform-tools directory, just call

./adb --help

The dot is your current directory, and this tells Bash to use adb from there.

But actually, you should add platform-tools to your PATH, as well as some other tools that the Android SDK comes with. This is how you do it:

  1. Find out where you installed the Android SDK. This might be (where $HOME is your user’s home directory) one of the following (or verify via Configure > SDK Manager in the Android Studio startup screen):

    • Linux: $HOME/Android/Sdk
    • macOS: $HOME/Library/Android/sdk
  2. Find out which shell profile to edit, depending on which file is used:

    • Linux: typically $HOME/.bashrc
    • macOS: typically $HOME/.bash_profile
    • With Zsh: $HOME/.zshrc
  3. Open the shell profile from step two, and at the bottom of the file, add the following lines. Make sure to replace the path with the one where you installed platform-tools if it differs:

    export ANDROID_HOME="$HOME/Android/Sdk"
    export PATH="$ANDROID_HOME/tools:$ANDROID_HOME/tools/bin:$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools:$PATH"
  4. Save the profile file, then, re-start the terminal or run source ~/.bashrc (or whatever you just modified).

Note that setting ANDROID_HOME is required for some third party frameworks, so it does not hurt to add it.


In addition to slhck, this is what worked for me (mac).

To check where your sdk is located.

  1. Open Android studio and go to:

File -> Project Structure -> Sdk location

  1. Copy the path.

  2. Create the hidden .bash_profile in your home.

  3. (open it with vim, or open -e) with the following:

export PATH=/Users/<Your session name>/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools:/Users/<Your session name>/Library/Android/sdk/tools:$PATH

  1. Then simply use this in your terminal: . ~/.bash_profile

SO post on how to find adb devices


Quick Answer

Pasting this command in terminal solves the issue in most cases:

** For Current Terminal Session:

  • (in macOS) export PATH=”~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools”:$PATH
  • (in Windows) i will update asap

** Permanently:

  • (in macOS) edit the ~/.bash_profile using vi ~/.bash_profile and add this line to it: export PATH=”~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools”:$PATH

However, if not, continue reading.

Detailed Answer

Android Debug Bridge, or adb for short, is usually located in Platform Tools and comes with
Android SDK, You simply need to add its location to system path. So system knows about it, and can use it if necessary.

Find ADB’s Location

Path to this folder varies by installation scenario, but common ones are:

  • If you have installed Android Studio, path to ADB would be: (Most Common)
    • (in macOS) ~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools
    • (in Windows) i will update asap

  • If you have installed Android Studio somewhere else, determine its location by going to:

    • (in macOS) Android Studio > Preferences > Appearance And Behavior > System Settings > Android SDK and pay attention to the box that says: Android SDK Location
    • (in Windows) i will update asap

  • However Android SDK could be Installed without Android studio, in this case your path might be different, and depends on your installation.

Add it to System Path

When you have determined ADB’s location, add it to system, follow this syntax and type it in terminal:

  • (in macOS)

    export PATH=”your/path/to/adb/here”:$PATH

    for example: export PATH=”~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools”:$PATH


I don’t know how did you install the android SDK. But in Mac OS, what really worked for me is to reinstall it using brew. All problems solved in a row.

brew cask install android-sdk

Later on:

android update sdk --no-ui --filter 'platform-tools'

Like a charm


For zsh users. Add alias adb='/Users/<yourUserName>/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/adb' to .zshrc file.

Than run source ~/.zshrc command


For me, I ran into this issue after switching over from bash to zsh so I could get my console to look all awesome fantastic-ish with Hyper and the snazzy theme. I was trying to run my react-native application using react-native run-android and running into the op’s issue. Adding the following into my ~.zshrc file solved the issue for me:

export ANDROID_HOME=~/Library/Android/sdk
export PATH=${PATH}:${ANDROID_HOME}/tools:${ANDROID_HOME}/platform-tools


  1. Simply install adb with brew

    brew cask install android-platform-tools

  2. Check if adb is installed

    adb devices


If you are using zsh on an OS X, you have to edit the zshrc file.

Use vim or your favorite text editor to open zshrc file:

vim ~/.zshrc

Paste the path to adb in this file:

export PATH="/Users/{$USER}/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools":$PATH


Or the alternative solution could be

  1. Make sure you already install for android SDK. Usually it is located under
  2. If the SDK is there then run this command. ./platform-tools/adb install your-apk-location

  3. From there you can generate the APK file That’s the only sample to check if adb
    command is there


It’s working fine..

brew install android-sdk

Later on:

android update sdk --no-ui --filter 'platform-tools'