You can forward/reverse ports on Android device using adb

I'm developing an Android app as a side project and today I learned about adb forward and adb reverse. Basically, they allow you to forward or reverse traffic to specific ports between an Android device and your development machine.

Let's say I need my app to fetch something from http://localhost:3000/some-data. When the app is running on the phone localhost refers to the phone itself, and my server is running in my dev machine. So, if I do this:

adb reverse tcp:3000 tcp:3000

Now when the app tries to access localhost:3000 it will actually reach out to my dev machine's 3000 port. Very useful if you're developing the app's backend as well (as I am).

Similarly, if I wanted to access a server inside the phone from my dev machine, I could run:

adb forward tcp:5000 tcp:5000

And now if I run curl http://localhost:5000 in my dev machine it will hit the server running on the phone. Pretty neat!

Learned by kevin-perez on Jun 30, 2021

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