Android Debugging Instructions

Chrome on Android has java and c/c++ code. Each “side” have its own set of tools for debugging. Here's some tips.

Instructions for Google Employees

See also go/clankium/06-debugging-clank.


You can run the app by using one of the wrappers.

# Installs, launches, and enters logcat.
out/Default/bin/content_shell_apk run --args='--disable-fre' 'data:text/html;utf-8,<html>Hello World!</html>'
# Launches without first installing. Does not show logcat.
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk launch --args='--disable-fre' 'data:text/html;utf-8,<html>Hello World!</html>'


Chromium logging from LOG(INFO) etc., is directed to the Android logcat logging facility. You can filter the messages, e.g. view chromium verbose logging, everything else at warning level with:

# Shows a coloured & filtered logcat.
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk logcat [-v]  # Use -v to show logs for other processes

If this doesn‘t display the logs you’re looking for, try adb logcat with your system adb or the one in //third_party/android_sdk/.

Warnings for Blink developers

  • Do not use fprintf or printf debugging! This does not redirect to logcat.

  • Redirecting stdio to logcat, as documented here, has a bad side-effect that it breaks See here for details.

Take a Screenshot

build/android/ /tmp/screenshot.png

Inspecting the View Hierarchy

Generate an Android Studio project, and then use Layout Inspector.

Debugging Java

For both apk and test targets, pass --wait-for-java-debugger to the wrapper scripts.


# Install, launch, and wait:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk run --wait-for-java-debugger

# Launch, and have GPU process wait rather than Browser process:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk launch --wait-for-java-debugger --debug-process-name privileged_process0

# Have Renderers wait:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk launch --args="--renderer-wait-for-java-debugger"

# Have tests wait:
out/Default/bin/run_chrome_public_test_apk --wait-for-java-debugger
out/Default/bin/run_chrome_junit_tests --wait-for-java-debugger  # Specify custom port via --debug-socket=9999

Android Studio

  • Open Android Studio (instructions)
  • Click “Run”->“Attach debugger to Android process” (see here for more).
  • Click “Run”->“Attach to Local Process...” for Robolectric junit tests.


  • In Eclipse, make a debug configuration of type “Remote Java Application”. Choose a “Name” and set “Port” to 8700.

  • Make sure Eclipse Preferences > Run/Debug > Launching > “Build (if required) before launching” is unchecked.

  • Run Android Device Monitor:

  • Now select the process you want to debug in Device Monitor (the port column should now mention 8700 or xxxx/8700).

  • Run your debug configuration, and switch to the Debug perspective.

Debugging C/C++

While the app is running, use the wrapper script's gdb command to enter into a gdb shell.

When running with gdb attached, the app runs extremely slowly.

# Attaches to browser process.
out/Default/bin/content_shell_apk gdb
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk gdb

# Attaches to gpu process.
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk gdb --debug-process-name privileged_process0

# Attach to other processes ("chrome_public_apk ps" to show pids).
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk gdb --pid $PID

When connecting, gdb will complain of not being able to load a lot of libraries. This happens because of java code. The following messages are all expected:

Connecting to :5039...
warning: Could not load shared library symbols for 211 libraries, e.g. /system/framework/arm/boot.oat.
Use the "info sharedlibrary" command to see the complete listing.
Do you need "set solib-search-path" or "set sysroot"?
Failed to read a valid object file image from memory.

If you have ever run an ASAN build of chromium on the device, you may get an error like the following when you start up gdb:

/tmp/<username>-adb-gdb-tmp-<pid>/gdb.init:11: Error in sourced command file:
"/tmp/<username>-adb-gdb-tmp-<pid>/app_process32": not in executable format: file format not recognized

If this happens, run the following command and try again:

$ src/android/asan/third_party/ --revert

Using Visual Studio Code

While the app is running, run the gdb command with --ide:

out/Default/bin/content_shell_apk gdb --ide

Once the script has done its thing (generally ~1 second after the initial time its used), open and ensure you have the Android launch entry.

Connect via the IDE's launch entry. Connecting takes 30-40 seconds.

When troubleshooting, it's helpful to enable engine logging.

Known Issues:

  • Pretty printers are not working properly.

Waiting for Debugger on Early Startup

# Install, launch, and wait:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk run --args="--wait-for-debugger"
# Launch, and have GPU process wait rather than Browser process:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk launch --args="--wait-for-debugger-children=gpu-process"
# Or for renderers:
out/Default/bin/chrome_public_apk launch --args="--wait-for-debugger-children=renderer"

With an IDE

Once gdb attaches, the app will resume execution, so you must set your breakpoint before attaching.

With Command-line GDB

Once attached, gdb will drop into a prompt. Set your breakpoints and run “c” to continue.

Symbolizing Crash Stacks and Tombstones (C++)

If a crash has generated a tombstone in your device, use:

build/android/ --output-directory out/Default

If you have a stack trace (from adb logcat) that needs to be symbolized, copy it into a text file and symbolize with the following command (run from ${CHROME_SRC}):

third_party/android_platform/development/scripts/stack --output-directory out/Default [tombstone file | dump file]

stack can also take its input from stdin:

adb logcat -d | third_party/android_platform/development/scripts/stack --output-directory out/Default


third_party/android_platform/development/scripts/stack --output-directory out/Default ~/crashlogs/tombstone_07-build231.txt

Deobfuscating Stack Traces (Java)

You will need the ProGuard mapping file that was generated when the application that crashed was built. When building locally, these are found in:


When debugging a failing test on the build waterfall, you can find the mapping file as follows:

  1. Open buildbot page for the failing build (e.g.,
  2. Open the swarming page for the failing shard (e.g., shard #3).
  3. Click on “Isolated Inputs” to locate the files the shard used to run the test.
  4. Download the .mapping file for the APK used by the test (e.g., ChromePublic.apk.mapping). Note that you may need to use the tools/luci-go/isolated to download the mapping file if it's too big. The viewer will provide instructions for this.

Googlers Only: For official build mapping files, see go/chromejavadeobfuscation.

Once you have a .mapping file:

# For a file:
build/android/stacktrace/ PROGUARD_MAPPING_FILE.mapping < FILE
# For logcat:
adb logcat | build/android/stacktrace/ PROGUARD_MAPPING_FILE.mapping

Get WebKit code to output to the adb log

In your build environment:

adb root
adb shell stop
adb shell setprop log.redirect-stdio true
adb shell start

In the source itself, use fprintf(stderr, "message"); whenever you need to output a message.

Debug unit tests with GDB

To run unit tests use the following command:

out/Debug/bin/run_test_name -f <test_filter_if_any> --wait-for-debugger -t 6000

That command will cause the test process to wait until a debugger is attached.

To attach a debugger:

build/android/adb_gdb --output-directory=out/Default --package-name=org.chromium.native_test

After attaching gdb to the process you can use it normally. For example:

(gdb) break main
Breakpoint 1 at 0x9750793c: main. (2 locations)
(gdb) continue