How to Enable Developer Options and USB Debugging on Android

How to Enable Developer Options and USB Debugging on Android

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Justin Duino / How-To Geek

To enable developer options, on Android, go to Settings > About phone and tap “Build Number” seven times. You will then have a new “Developer Options” section in the settings. USB debugging can be enabled from developer options.

Every Android device—from the Amazon Fire TV to the Samsung Galaxy—has a hidden “Developer Options” menu full of options. However, you don’t need to be a developer to take advantage of these secret features. We show you how to find them.

What are Android Developer Options?

As the name suggests, the “Developer Options” – sometimes called “Developer Mode” – are meant to be used by Android developers. There’s a hidden menu in the Settings app with a bunch of features and options that help test and debug apps.

You’ll see things like “Wireless Debugging”, “Bug Report Shortcut”, “Show Surface Updates”, “Show Clipboard” and “Rendering Profile HWUI”. Many of these things mean nothing to the average user, but they are valuable to developers and advanced users. That’s why they are hidden by default.

These are not settings you should mess with carelessly. That being said, there are a few developer options that can be very useful for everyone. Let’s get started by enabling developer mode.

How to Enable Developer Options on Android

First, swipe down once or twice (depending on your device) to fully expand the quick settings. Tap the gear icon to open the Settings app.

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Scroll down to the bottom of the settings screen and tap “About Phone” or “About Tablet.”

Press "About the phone."

Next, we need to find the “Build Number.” On a Samsung Galaxy device, first go to “Software Information”.

Finn "Building number."

Tap “Build Number” seven times to enable developer options. After a few taps, you’ll see a message with a countdown that reads “You’re now X steps away from being a developer.”

Continue tapping the build number.

After you press enough times, you will see the message “You are now a developer!” and you must use your device’s unlock method to verify.

“Developer options” can be found in the “System” section of the Settings app. On some devices, the “Developer options” are simply on the main screen of the Settings app.

Developer options in settings.

That’s all it takes! Android’s Developer Options screen is now hidden on your device.

What is USB Debugging on Android?

One of the most used developer options is USB Debugging. We’re about to show you how to enable it, but what does it actually do?

USB Debugging allows a computer to communicate with your Android device. The computer must also have the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) installed to be able to do this.

With USB debugging enabled, you can run commands from your computer to boot into certain modes or perform tasks that cannot be activated from the phone itself. It is necessary if you want to root your phone, install a custom ROM or control your phone screen from your PC.

One thing to keep in mind is that enabling USB Debugging can be a security issue. After all, you are giving your computer access to your phone. That’s why – as you’ll see below – you have to manually grant permission from your phone.

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How to Enable USB Debugging on Android

To enable USB debugging, you need to go to the developer options menu. Swipe down once or twice (depending on your device) to fully expand the quick settings, then tap the gear icon to open the settings.

On some devices, the “Developer options” are simply on the main screen of the Settings app. Other devices put the developer options in the “System” section.

Developer options in settings.

Scroll down and look for “USB Debugging” under Debugging. Activate the switch next to it.

Turn on "USB Debugging."

When you connect your Android device to a PC with a USB cable for the first time, it will ask you to allow USB debugging. You can tap “Allow” and select “Always allow from this computer” to never have to do it again.

Allow USB debugging from computer.

To remove computers that you have given access to your device via USB debugging, go to the developer options menu and select “Revoke USB debugging authorizations”.

Press "Revoke USB debugging authorizations."

That’s all it takes to enable USB Debugging! You are ready to use it. You can now use adb commands or other tools that require access to USB debugging.

How to Disable Developer Options on Android

You can disable the Developer Options settings as easily as enabling it. This will revert all the changes you have made and hide the developer options again. Just go to “Developer Options” and turn off the switch at the top of the screen.

Turn off "Use developer options."

The device must restart to apply the change. You can always turn Developer Options back on by following the steps at the top of this page again.

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Developer options are power settings for developers, but that doesn’t mean non-developer users can’t take advantage of them as well. Developer options are available on almost all Android devices – even Android Auto – but the individual options may vary by device type. Now that you have them enabled, you have taken your first step into a bigger world!

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