How to get ADB and Fastboot utilities without installing the Android SDK

Using adb and Fastboot to do things like flash an update or factory image to your Nexus or Pixel isn't that hard. But it still involves using a command line, and potentially making a bit of a mess. Google just made it a little easier.

Previously, you had two choices — install the Android SDK to your computer, or grab a copy of the necessary tools from somewhere else. The Android SDK is big and cumbersome for anyone not using it to develop Android apps, so this led most people to do the latter and get a copy from somewhere besides Google. These could be out of date, incomplete or, worst case, have dodgy stuff added to it. Not a good situation at all.

Here's the fix: Google software engineer Elliot Hughes let us know that Google is now hosting current versions of the Android platform tools for Windows, macOS and Linux as standalone downloads. Grab the correct file, unzip it somewhere on your computer and everything is ready to run. It's just as simple as it was before, but better since we're getting the files directly from the source. Download links are below.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • While that is great, It would be better if they were official and available from the same download locations as ADB.
    I know I'm going to forget about this by next week...
  • the mac download says its for windows. it has adb.exe
  • Rejected by Google. JK. Email them and let them know
  • Good on Google for recognizing this, and offering up their version of a solution.
  • Shouldnt the Mac one be I think Jerry might of linked the Mac version wrong by accident.
  • Indeed. Thanks to all who noticed. Updated link.
  • Wish I can get nougat for my Samsung Galaxy S7 right now.
  • Nice!  I was one who eventually got bored with having the entire SDK on my laptop and looked for alternative routes to have ADB and Fastboot handy.  This is a step in the right direction.
  • So where do we find the files in the future if we misplace that Google+ page (or this AC post)? Can they be found on a google page somewhere?
  • Finally. I have been having to mess the the unwieldy platform tools just to use adb commands for too long. This was honestly a security issue sense so many were just downloading the tools from third-party sources.