VNC to your rooted Android via USB

VNC to an Android is no big deal provided the platform is completely open and based on Linux. There are already some VNC servers for Android out there and droid VNC server is one you can download straight from the Market.

Usually you would VNC to your Android device via WiFi as it’s the easiest way, but in the occasion that WiFi is not available, you can also do this via USB connection… though it’s a bit hacky 🙂

First, you need to make sure the followings are installed:

  1. A VNC server in your Android device. I use droid VNC server which can be found in the Android App Market on the device.
  2. Any VNC client on your computer such as RealVNC viewer.
  3. The USB driver for your Android device. For example, HTC devices need to install HTC Sync to get the proper USB driver installed (you can uninstall HTC Sync after installing it if you don’t plan to use it).
  4. Latest version of JDK (note: not JRE).
  5. Latest version of Android SDK.
  6. Make sure <strong>Android SDK Platform-tools</strong> is installed from the SDK manager. If not, you can install it in the <strong>Available packages</strong> section.
    Install Android SDK Platform-tools from Android SDK and AVD Manager

After you’ve installed the above, try these steps:

  1. Make sure your Android device is rooted.
  2. Turn on USB debugging mode in your device: Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging.
  3. Connect your device to Windows and let it install the drivers automatically. You should be able to see at least an Android USB device showing up in the Windows Device Manager.
    Android USB Device showing up in Windows Device Manager
  4. Start the VNC server on your device and note down the VNC port it is using. For droid VNC server, the default port is 5901.
  5. Start a command prompt in Windows and execute the following:
    cd C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools
    adb forward tcp:5901 tcp:5901
  6. Start your VNC client and connect to localhost:5901.

You may need to repeat step 5 each time before you need to connect to your device, so it’s a good idea to make a BAT file for it.

This is it. If you are lucky enough, then you’ll be VNCing to your device now. However, connecting via USB doesn’t provide any perceivable improvements on performance. So unless WiFi is really not available, I recommend going with the “normal” way.

RealVNC Viewer connecting to Android


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