Easy Android side-loading using OS X & Terminal

If you’ve been looking for a super easy way to side load your app on to your Android device, or multiple devices for testing or just for fun – well hold on to your butts – this is super easy on a Mac.

Android security settings screen

Open a terminal window and go to the platform-tools folder within the Android SDK folder (you can get the latest SDK version from Google), or, open your Android SDK folder, in my case it’s named android-sdk-macosx, then drag the platform-tools folder to the terminal icon and it will automatically open the terminal to that folder (I love this trick, it makes things so much easier than typing in the folder path).

We’ll be using the Android Debug Bridge to install the apk file to the device. You can also use the adp tool to install an apk to an emulated device as well, but I needed it on an actual phone.

First, make sure that your security settings allow you to install apps from sources other than Google Play. If you don’t do this part, you’ll get stuck with a warning.

As long as you have the Android SDK, you’ll be able to get access to ADB. Pop a terminal window, and type:

./adb install ~/Downloads/PROTOAPP-debug.apk

After ./adb install make sure to enter the location of the APK you want to install, then Bob’s your uncle.

If you run into issues with adb not being a valid command, you’ll need to add it to your path, for which you can use:

echo 'export PATH=$PATH:/Users/[yourusername]/android-sdks/platform-tools/' >> ~/.bash_profile

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