I need to run my Android app from a remote computer via SSH, but I'm not a command-line expert.

So I would like to know: how to run a specific action (not just open) of an app? Which implies: how to KNOW the exact syntax of possible actions of an app?

Example: I want to start an audio-recording app on my phone from my computer, AND start recording from a remote. Is it possible?

3 Answers 3


Use this:

am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n <package_name>/<full_class_name>

To control an app, you'll have to put correct values of <package_name> and <full_class_name> in the command. For example, you can use com.google.gmail/com.google.gmail.check_mail (Hypothetical names) as last part of command.

Obtaining package name of an app is easy, but obtaining class name of action isn't. There are two problems:

  1. Many app developers keep class info private.

  2. Not all developers do smart modular programming. Its good habit to divide an app in multiple classes which could be triggered by intents, but not all developers are smart.

Solution of 1st problem: Decompile the app using apktool and see all info. There are also other ways, but this one is always-working method (unless app is based on NDK instead of SDK).

Solution of 2nd problem: Nothing.

Don't worry, most of popular apps follow best programming practice and they provide Public API from which you can get class info.

  • @Izzy Here's my problem: I'm unable to launch this Activity of Settings app: com.android.settings/.Settings$StorageSettingsActivity. Try it yourself. Actually, what is that string after $ sign ? Is it like a sub-class in the Settings activity?
    – Gokul NC
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 16:46
  • @GokulNC you might need to quote the entire thing (single quotes), or $StorageSettingsActivity might be seen as a variable and "expanded" to an empty string (unless there's a variable defined by that name).
    – Izzy
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 20:44
  • Ooh, I didn't even realize that.. Thanks BTW :)
    – Gokul NC
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 5:07

Like Sachin Shekhar said, you must use the following command :

am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n <package_name>/<full_class_name>

See a concrete example :

  • getting the apk file from your Android device or any Market places
  • running this command :

aapt dump xmltree com.android.settings*.apk AndroidManifest.xml

I would like to start "tethering" menu, so I search an activity in the output :

   E: activity (line=190)
    A: android:name(0x01010003)=".TetherSettings" (Raw: ".TetherSettings")

So the final command is :

am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n com.android.settings/.TetherSettings

The aapt command is part of the Android SDK

  • Just .TetherSettings in the command wouldn't work. Its not FULL class name..
    – iOS
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 19:17
  • 2
    No, you can ommit the com.android.settings PATH, that's why I said it's relative. Test it on any app you'd like. Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 20:46
  • 2
    I didn't say that it'll not work with other apps. The dot before class name does the magic. But, this shouldn't be encouraged.
    – iOS
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 2:14
  • 1
    You said that's luck, this is not. Do you have sources for your assertion ? Why this shouldn't be encouraged ? Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 2:20
  • For an Android developer, its certainly not luck. But, on broad scale, I'd say Android supports relative paths by the luck of user. This shouldn't be encouraged to non-developers due to error prone nature.
    – iOS
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 2:33

Use a general purpose logging app (just search logcat on playstore). The logs should show you the app name, class and intent.
Following that run the command in an adb shell or from inside a terminal application in your device:

am start -a <intent> -n <class>
  • Could you expand the answer? Suppose I have gotten the app name, class, and intent from the logcat, then what should I do to "run a specific app's action via terminal" (as per the OP's main question)?
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 2:42

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