Learn how to manually apply an OTA Update from ADB.



If you have an Android Smartphone which has not been updated for a long time or has gone slow even after a factory reset, then you might require doing a manual update or installing a new ROM. It is not as daunting a procedure as it sounds and does not require any special technical expertise. With the use of ADB Sideload command you can install custom ROMs, update the current version of Android, and install Google app packages on your Smartphones. 

ADB stands for “Android Debug Bridge” and is a new mode of Android which was released with the Android Jelly Bean version. For the uninitiated, ADB is an extremely adaptable command-line tool that ensures a smooth flow of data between your PC and Android device. Using this, one can easily install necessary mod applications and also the mods which are needed to enhance the appearance and functioning of your Smartphones.

It is not the same as ADB mode but a new feature that was added to ASOP or stock recovery in Jelly Bean. With just one command line, you can apply ADB Sideload to push and install a zip from your computer. ADB Sideload is not really meant for average users, but for those who are into ROM development; this tool can save a lot of time.

Inside-Out of ADB Sideload – ADB is a client-server program with mainly 3 components:

    • Client – This runs on your development machine and sends commands. The client can be invoked from the command line using the ADB command.
    • Daemon – This is a background process running on each device which processes commands.
  • Server – This is responsible for the communication between the client and the daemon. It runs on the development machine as a background process
  • ADB Sideload – Sideload refers to the process of transferring data between your PC and mobile phone. It is similar in meaning to “upload” in the sense that you would need to Sideload an ADB program from your computer to the mobile phone to finish the update process. Sideload is considered better than other methods which can do the same job because of many reasons as mentioned below:
    • No wireless data charges are applied in this method
    • It has no geographical limitations.
    • Content can be stored in the mobile device permanently and does not require streaming
    • You are able to optimize content for each mobile device using this method.

apply update from adb

Things you can do with ADB Sideload:

  • Flash custom ROM files
  • Mods, and OTA(over the air) updates
  • Optimize the content of any Android device
  • Debug and unbrick your phone
  • Simultaneously run multiple commands

Prerequisites for applying ADB Sideload:

  • First thing, charge your device till its 60% charged at the minimum.
  • Take a complete backup of your device
  • Enable USB debugging on your phone by going to Settings -> Developer options
  • Activate Developer options following the below steps:
    • Go to Settings -> About Phone
    • You will see a “Build Number” button, tap on that for 7 times till it shows “You are now a Developer
  • Download and install the appropriate USB drivers for your device on your PC. Windows 10 already has them but for other versions of Windows, you can download the complete ADB tools package.
    • Download ADB and Fastboot for Windows
    • Download ADB for Mac and Linux
  • Make sure your device and PC are connected using a cable

How to apply update from ADB Sideload 

    1. Extract the ADB and Fastboot files on your PC. It has a bunch of files but the main ones that you would be using are:
      1. abd.exe
      2. fastboot.exe
      3. AdbWinApi.dll
      4. AdbWinUsbApi.dll
    2. Go to the folder where you have extracted the ADB and fastboot tools content and on a blank space right click mouse and select “Open command window here”
    3. In the command window type “adb devices”. This is done to test if ADB is properly installed on your computer and is compatible with it. You should get a serial number followed by the word “device” on the command prompt if everything is fine.
    4. If your phone is prompted to enable USB debugging then press OK there
    5. Connect your device to the computer and reboot your device in recovery mode with the use of   Reboot manager app
    6. In the recovery mode, enter the ADB Sideload option which might differ for custom recoveries:
      1. For recovery in TWRP, go to “Advanced -> ADB Sideload
      2. For recovery in CVM, go to “Install -> Install Zip From Sideload
    7. Copy the zip file which you want to use for updating your device into the ADB folder.
    8. Type “adb sideload [name of the file].zip” in the command prompt. This will start the process of sending the zip file to your Android device. You will see a progress bar in the command prompt while this is happening.
    9. Once the zip file is sent to your Android device it will be automatically installed.
      1. Your device would then open and verify the zip
      2. After that, the zip file is downloaded and written onto your device. This is a time-consuming process so be ready for that.
      3. Once the installation is done, “Install from ADB complete” will appear on your screen.
    10. Reboot your device.
    11. And you are done!

How to apply ADB Sideload using TWRP Recovery

If you want to apply ADB Sideload to install a custom ROM then you must have TWRP recovery console installed on your device.

    1. Firstly the OTA file should be downloaded to your PC.
    2. Then download ADB and Fastboot tools on your PC and extract its contents
    3. Go to the folder where you have extracted the contents of the ADB and Fastboot Tools and click on an empty space in the folder and right-click the mouse. From the options displayed select “Open command window here. This will open the CMD or command prompt.
    4. Reboot your device by selecting the TWRP recovery mode.
    5. Once you are in TWRP go to “Advanced -> ADB Sideload
    6. Use a USB cable to connect your device with the PC
    7. In the command prompt type “adb sideload [filename].zip”. Here [filename] is the name of the ADB file you want to Sideload.
    8. Once the file is sent to your phone, reboot it.
    9. You have successfully applied ADB Sideload in recovery mode.

When do you need to use ADB Sideload:

The option to “Apply Update from ADB” is available in many recovery modes including TWRP, Stock recovery, and CWM recovery. ADB Sideload is possible only if your android phone can boot in recovery mode. The ADB Sideload update is helpful in many scenarios like:

  • Android cannot access the normal screen but can get into recovery mode
  • Some unknown system problems are making android act up
  • Android is locked and not allowing any operation with any other tools or apps using PC.
  • The Android update is released but is not available for your country or area as yet.
  • You do not want data loss which might happen while forcibly flashing ROM.
  • You want to load a different version of Android.

Android is a popular and solid platform being used for many Smartphone developments. ADB acts like a bridge between your android device and PC for a smooth flow of data and a powerful tool that can repair a bricked device or install necessary mods and apps as and when needed. The procedure for ADB Sideload is easy and helps in avoiding many glitches and snags in your phone.