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Android fundamentally still is a Linux system which have runlevels/targets intended for recovery purposes.

Is it possible to stop the Android OS far enough so that Apps, the UI and most system services aren't running anymore but I still have adb access?

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  • This is a possible solution to android.stackexchange.com/questions/246840/… but I feel it's worth its own question.
    – Atemu
    May 27, 2022 at 14:47
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    Android uses Linux kernel but userspace is entirely different than common Linux distros. There are no init runlevels or targets. Recovery is a complete operating system in itself, having its own kernel and init. Related: How to quickly understand the Android UI. adbd is an init service which can run independent of the UI. But it can be tricky. May 27, 2022 at 15:00

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In a related discussion, a Reddit user pointed out to me that the stop and start commands offer a functionality like this.

stop brings most of the Android system down, including apps, services etc. but not ADB.

start starts the Android system again from the boot animation.

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