How to transfer very large files to an Android device with adb

Today I learned that the Android File Transfer tool has a 4GB data transfer limit, but I was able to get around that by using the adb (Android Debug Bridge) command. The short story is that I used this adb command to transfer a 6GB file to my Android system, an old Nexus 9:

adb push ABigMovie.iso /sdcard/Movies

The bad news is that VNC choked and died when trying to play the movie, but the good news is that I found a good way to transfer very large files to an Android device. (I wasn’t really trying to go too far down the road trying to upload DVD images to my Nexus 9, I just wanted to see if I could upload very large files to an Android device. (You can’t fit many ISO images on an old Android device.))

In a related note, I found the Android /sdcard/Movies path through a little trial and error. For future reference, I found that this command lists all of the directories on an Android device:

adb ls /sdcard

The output of that command looks like this:

$ adb ls /sdcard

000041f9 00001000 5a31ec5e .
000041c9 00001000 58c58c32 ..
000041f9 00001000 58c58c57 Android
000041f9 00001000 58dc6424 Music
000041f9 00001000 58c58c3e Podcasts
000041f9 00001000 58c58c3e Ringtones
000041f9 00001000 58c58c3e Alarms
000041f9 00001000 58c5d2d4 Notifications
000041f9 00001000 58c5d902 Pictures
000041f9 00001000 5a31ecc6 Movies
000041f9 00001000 5a01e0fe Download
000041f9 00001000 5998ecef DCIM
000081b0 00000010 58dc6301 Music:.pos
000041f9 00001000 59b28d95 Temp
000041f9 00001000 59866d57 kindle
000041f9 00001000 592cf85d Books
000041f9 00001000 59b28d15 .RecycleBin

You can also learn a little more about the Android filesystem reality with a few more commands. After running adb shell, I poked around the filesystem a little, like this:

flounder:/ $ ls -al /sdcard
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 21 1969-12-31 17:00 /sdcard -> /storage/self/primary

flounder:/ $ ls -a /storage/self/primary
.  .RecycleBin Android DCIM     Movies Music:.pos    Pictures Ringtones kindle 
.. Alarms      Books   Download Music  Notifications Podcasts Temp    

Finally, here are two good ADB resources I found whilst poking around the interwebs: