I'm trying to use adb over 'wifi' for my emulated device. I'm emulating a device on my computer and wanted to use Android Studio to send an APK to it but through the network sockets, not through emulated USB. I know in Android Studio everything works out of the box but I need to it in this way

I'm following this tutorial: https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/adb.html#wireless

I start it with

~/Android/Sdk/emulator$ ./emulator -avd Pixel_XL_API_27

Then I see that USB debugging is on. I then do

./adb tcpip 5555
restarting in TCP mode port: 5555

Note that ./adb tcpip 5555 is arbitrary. I didn't even specify which device should restart and connect at 5555. What if I had 2 emulators running?

I should unplug now for a normal USB device, but then I go to developer options in my emulated phone and disable USB debugging.

I also see that the IP address in the emulated phone system settings is

then I end up with:

./adb connect
unable to connect to Connection timed out

I also done this:

./adb devices 
List of devices attached
emulator-5554   device

./adb connect
unable to connect to Connection timed out


According to Android Tutorial on ADB, my computer keeps a server running on port 5037. The Android device (my emulator in this case) runs a daemon and my adb script in Sdk/platform-tools is a client. If I want to run a client inside my virtual machine I must have a server running on it. But instead I can just forward the 5037 TCP port from the VM to the 5037 TCP port of the host machine. I did it with tcptunnel by doing the following:

./tcptunnel --local-port=5037 --remote-host= --remote-port=5037 --stay-alive

then if I run adb on my VM, it's going to connect to the adb daemon on my host machine which is going to talk with the adb server of my emulator. When I run adb devices in the VM without the tcp forward it tries to start a new server. If I kill this server and open th tcpforwarded and do it again, it doesn't try to create a new server. This is a good signal. However, tcptunnel gives me this:

build_tunnel: connect(): Connection refused

Something is blocking the connection


Turns out tcptunnel isn't necessary, because adb has the H option that lets me specify the IP where the server runs. However I don't know if it's possible in Android Studio to specify it. Anyways:

./adb -H devices
List of devices attached
* cannot start server on remote host
error: cannot connect to daemon at tcp: Connection refused
  • Could you tell me if you are dealing with a physical device or with emulator inside your OS?
    – M. A.
    Mar 1, 2018 at 13:56
  • @AbdelhafidMadoui it's an emulator in the same OS Mar 1, 2018 at 21:59
  • 1
    So what's wrong with the command adb -s emulator-5554 shell for example? Why WiFi?
    – M. A.
    Mar 2, 2018 at 13:12
  • @AbdelhafidMadoui I need to program inside a VM. However, I cannot start a new emulator inside this VM. Instead I want to start the emulator parallel with the VM and pass the app through TCP Mar 3, 2018 at 23:28
  • @GuerlandoOCs: OK, so the emlator is launched from the main OS, and you want to access it from the VM? Correct? What VM software are you using?
    – M. A.
    Mar 4, 2018 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


I forgot that adb daemon binds to localhost, and I was trying to access from 192.168.122.x.

With socat I was able to redirect the ADB client from my VM to the ADB daemon on my host machine which made connection with the ADB server (my emulated phone).

My host machine was reachable at from the virtual machine, but the adb daemon was binding to or localhost. I just did:

#on host machine:
socat tcp-listen:5037,bind=,reuseaddr,fork tcp:localhost:5037

#on virtual machine:
socat tcp-listen:5037,bind=localhost,reuseaddr,fork tcp:

Make sure you kill the adb server on the virtual machine doing /path/to/android/sdk/platform-tools/adb kill-server. ADB server always tries to bind on 5037 if there's nothing there, so if socat is already running on both sides and the adb server is running on the host machie, when you launch android studio on the VM, it'll automatically connect to the outside adb server, which will connect to your emulated phone.

You don't need Android Studio on the virtual machine to test. You can just do /path/to/android/sdk/platform-tools/adb devices on the virtual machine to see if socat will redirect it to the adb daemon on host, which will list the emulated phone.

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