Why do I get access denied to data folder when using adb?


Question

I connected to my live device using the adb and the following commands:

C:\>adb -s HT829GZ52000 shell
$ ls
ls
sqlite_stmt_journals
cache
sdcard
etc
system
sys
sbin
proc
logo.rle
init.trout.rc
init.rc
init.goldfish.rc
init
default.prop
data
root
dev
$ cd data
cd data
$ ls
ls
opendir failed, Permission denied

I was surprised to see that I have access denied. How come I can't browse around the directories using the commandline like this?

How do I get root access on my phone?

1
168
4/21/2011 4:51:38 PM

Accepted Answer

There are two things to remember if you want to browse everything on your device.

  1. You need to have a phone with root access in order to browse the data folder on an Android phone. That means either you have a developer device (ADP1 or an ION from Google I/O) or you've found a way to 'root' your phone some other way.
  2. You need to be running ADB in root mode, do this by executing: adb root
133
10/7/2014 7:19:07 AM

Starting from API level 8 (Android 2.2), for the debuggable application (the one built by Android Studio all the times unless the release build was requested), you can use the shell run-as command to run a command or executable as a specific user/application or just switch to the UID of your application so you can access its data directory.

List directory content of yourapp:

run-as com.yourapp ls -l /data/data/com.yourapp

Switch to UID of com.yourapp and run all further commands using that uid (until you call exit):

run-as com.yourapp
cd /data/data/com.yourapp
ls -l
exit

 
Note 1: there is a known issue with some HTC Desire phones. Because of a non-standard owner/permissions of the /data/data directory, run-as command fails to run on those phones.

Note 2: As pointed in the comments by @Avio: run-as has issues also with Samsung Galaxy S phones running Cyanogenmod at any version (from 7 to 10.1) because on this platform /data/data is a symlink to /datadata. One way to solve the issue is to replace the symlink with the actual directory (unfortunately this usually requires root access).


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