I'm troubleshooting my aCal installation and the good folks at aCal asked me for the output from tcpdump -A -- do I need to root my phone and install busybox or can I do this from a terminal emulator?

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    All apps on Google Play which use tcpdump seem to require root. A quick test on my Linux machine showed: as root it works, as unprivileged users I simply get an error message stating "tcpdump: no suitable device found". So I guess that would require root. On the other hand: it doesn't hurt to either install a terminal app and try, or try doing it via adb shell.
    – Izzy
    May 22, 2013 at 18:56
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    While the answer is up to date for 2.3, it must be noted that tcpdump, or features similar to tcpdump, should be available in newer Android version by establishing a software VPN Jul 30, 2020 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Yes, tcpdump is an administrator-level application (I highly doubt there will ever be an Android permission level to view all other apps' network traffic). Once rooted, if you have tcpdump binary (compiled for your device's cpu type) on sdcard, try:

mount -o remount rw /system/
cd /sdcard
cp ./tcpdump /system/xbin

Now you can use tcpdump command.

Without rooting, you could intercept traffic on your wifi LAN by setting a proxy to your computer in your device settings, and installing mitmproxy in a virtualenv on your computer and running it.

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