Copy Images and Movies from Google Glass Using The Terminal

On occasion, I’ve needed to use The Terminal over macOS’s GUI to copy images and movies from Google Glass onto my machine. Since upgrading to macOS Mojave, I’ve needed to use The Terminal exclusively to copy files from Google Glass, since macOS Photos throws an error, per Figure 1 below.

Error message generated by macOS Photos when trying to import images/movies from Google Glass
Figure 1: Error message generated by macOS Photos when trying to import images/movies from Google Glass

Others have had this issue, also: Thus, I discuss below how to setup and use The Terminal in macOS to copy files from Glass onto your local machine.

Install Android’s Platform Tools

  1. Launch, which is in Application/Utilites.
  2. Install the open-source package management tool Homebrew by typing the following into The Terminal: ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Enter your password when prompted.
  4. Install Android’s Platform Tools: brew cask install android-platform-tools

Prepare Google Glass

  1. Turn on Glass and wait for the login screen.
  2. Connect Glass to your computer.
  3. Type adb shell in The Terminal. If you are not presented with error: device unauthorized, continue to step 6.
  4. Return to Glass, which should be prompting you to Trust this computer? Tap to confirm.
  5. Tap again to Always allow.
  6. From Glass’ home screen, swipe back to the Settings page, then tap.
  7. Swipe forward to the Device info page, then tap.
  8. Swipe forward to the Turn on debug page, then tap.

Copy Files

  1. In The Terminal, type adb shell. You should see something akin to shell@glass-1:/ $
  2. Now, navigate to the images/movies folder by typing cd /mnt/sdcard/DCIM/Camera/
  3. Any images or movies will reside in the Camera folder. List them by typing ls
  4. Open a new Terminal window: ⌘ + N
  5. Navigate to the Desktop: cd Desktop
  6. This next command copies files from Glass’ Camera folder to your Mac’s Desktop folder, and, in this example, we’ll imagine that a file called FILE.jpg exists in the Camera folder. To copy this imagined file, we’d type adb pull /mnt/sdcard/DCIM/Camera/FILE.jpg . ← Note the dot (.) at the end of the command preceded by a space. Of course, you’d replace FILE.jpg with a file (or files) residing in your Glass’ Camera folder.


  1. Thanks for the helpful post! I just pulled out my old Glass to start taking new photos and videos but can’t seem to share with G+ or use the Image Capture app to copy them and forgot how I, someone who even took months to write a Glass development book, used the Terminal to access Glass years ago.. Thanks to your post, all the old good memories of Glass came back 🙂

  2. Is there a more simple way to do this, I own Google Glass running XE24 and when i connect my Glass to my Mac it doesn’t recognize it?

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