Can an installed application be completely controlled via adb?

For example: Consider I need to to export my Contacts to SD Card. So here there are basically 5 Steps involved

1)Open Contacts application

2)Press Menu Key

3)Select Import/Export option

4)Select Export to SD card

5)Confirm Export

Can any/all of them be performed via adb?

This can be useful when you have an unrooted phone with a bricked display and all access you have is via adb.

  • Why didn't you have all your contacts sync through Gmail or Hotmail?
    – t0mm13b
    Jul 11, 2012 at 18:11
  • I prefer not giving up my contacts to google or any 3rd party for that matter. I tried Kies but it won't detect my Galaxy S (The bricked phone) while it works perfectly fine for Galaxy Mini.
    – kn330
    Jul 11, 2012 at 18:23
  • Why not go back to your carrier's shop and get them to do it for you - they'd have the means to do this kind of thing for customers who are clumsy?
    – t0mm13b
    Jul 11, 2012 at 18:36
  • 1
    you can generate key events with adb. technically it should be possible to launch a thoroughly crafted series of key events to an app.
    – ce4
    Jul 12, 2012 at 6:09
  • Thanks a lot ce4. It worked! Exported my contacts to SD card.
    – kn330
    Jul 12, 2012 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Yes and no. You can issue intents with adb but that's it. So the steps you described can't be achieved with adb.

Edit: ce4 showed a blog post which mentions the input binary which is able to simulate key events.

adb shell input keyevent <keycode>

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