I am trying to solve the problem of having an empty list of devices when running adb devices. Why is it not appearing?

I have tried the following to no avail:

  • Installed Kies and ran Tools > Install driver; then restarted
  • Turned off the Mac OS X firewall in
  • run sudo adb devices instead of just adb devices
  • Read the user manual from Samsung, which simply refers me to use Kies
  • Attach S4 to a different macbook in case the USB input is faulty
  • Try both different USB inputs in my Macbook Pro

The output I see after doing a fresh restart and plugging in the S4:

./adb devices
* daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
* daemon started successfully *
List of devices attached 

(with nothing more shown underneath)

Also, even after installing the drivers using Kies, the device does not appear there.

I am running OS X 10.9 on a Macbook Pro. The phone lights up and does start to charge when it is plugged in to any of the 2 USB ports on my Macbook.

What else can I try to have my brand new S4 appear in this device list?

EDIT It seems according to this thread (http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s4/282817-pc-cant-detect-galaxy-s4.html) that it may just be a faulty cable. I'm currently using the cable that came with the S4. I'll try other cables.

3 Answers 3


Answer: I was using the cable that Samsung provided with the phone

Solution: Go get a USB<>MiniUSB cable that was provided with a digital SLR a few years back and use that instead. The S4 now appears in the adb output and in Kies just fine.

<sarcasm>Thankyou Samsung</sarcasm>

  • Same issue and same resolution for a brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 (in addition to enabling Developer Options and USB Debugging).
    – Mattio
    Sep 2, 2016 at 14:09

If using a better cable doesn't work be sure to enable the USB debugging feature under Developer options > Debugging

  • Enable USB Debugging mode solve the problem! For those who don't know how to enable it (it's very hidden on Android 4.3 onward), see this.
    – Richard Fu
    Apr 8, 2016 at 7:31

This worked for me: try unlock screen after phone is connected. Screen lock seems to block access to the device from USB as well it seems.

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