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How to enable USB debugging on Android

Posted: , by Victor H.


How to enable USB debugging on Android
If you ever tried to tinker with your Android smartphone, you've probably heard of ‘USB debugging’. 

Enabling USB debugging is the first step required before you start installing custom ROMs, rooting, or any such hackery. Best of all - enabling the setting is extremely simple and quick, and in fact, you can do it in less than a minute.

Before we start, though, let’s just clarify what USB debugging is. A feature aimed mostly at developers, USB debugging opens up direct access to the Android system for the Android SDK (Software Development Kit). You can have the Android SDK downloaded on your computer, but unless you have USB debugging enabled, it won't work with your device. With all this in mind - whether you are a developer or someone who has decided to flash a custom ROM, or simply root your phone - here is how to enable USB debugging on different versions of Android:

How to enable USB debugging on Android KitKat and Jelly Bean (4.2 and later)

1. Navigate to Settings > About Phone > scroll to the bottom > tap Build number seven (7) times. You'll get a short pop-up in the lower area of your display saying that you're now a developer.

How to enable USB debugging on Android

2. Go back and now access the Developer options menu, check ‘USB debugging’ and click OK on the prompt.

How to enable USB debugging on Android

That’s it, you’re done!

You can now enable and disable it whenever you want by going into Settings > Developer Options > Debugging > USB debugging

How to enable USB debugging on Android 4.1 and 4.0

1. Navigate to Settings > Developer options and enable them.

2. Once you have enabled developer options, you will be able to check the USB Debugging field. Simply scroll down to it and check it - a pop-up window will notify you that you’re now a developer. That’s all it takes!

How to enable USB debugging on Android

How to enable USB debugging on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and earlier

Navigate to Settings > Applications > Development > USB Debugging
Enable it - as simple as that!

How to enable USB debugging on Android

Note: You can use this how-to tutorial guide to enable USB debugging on Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, Note 3, Note 2, HTC One (M8), LG G3, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z2, Z1, Moto X, Moto G, as well as tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab series.

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  • Options

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 07:30 5

1. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

Turn it off after rooting/unlocking.

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 07:52 2

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10406; Member since: 14 May 2012)

This. Only turn it on when you're going to need it.

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 09:57

5. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 1157; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)

Why? Any issues with it?

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 10:40 1

6. jroc74 (Posts: 5961; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I'm curious too. I've been rooting, running ROMs since the Droid 1 days...I have been out of the loop over the past few there any issues with leaving it enabled?

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 17:04 1

9. andynaija (Posts: 761; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

I think (might actually be another reason) it's turned off so apps or a computer (if USB connected) cannot randomly have permissions to the system.

Not an android wiz but I have a little basic knowledge.

posted on 15 Mar 2014, 21:09

11. jroc74 (Posts: 5961; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


posted on 14 Mar 2014, 08:15

3. Jovan (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Mar 2014)

As an idiot, I have a question. My Phone (Xperia ray) constantly shows low memory messages. I have noticed that the updated apps are installed as well as the ones embedded into the ROM. e.g. Google Play (20Mb) is installed as well as Android Market, The Facebook update install takes another 40MB of space. Would enabling USB Debugging mode allow the updates to install over the original ROM program?

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 08:34

4. Jovan (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Mar 2014)

Nevermind, I found the answer.

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 11:37

7. fbermudez86 (Posts: 6; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)

Intregrate update into ROM using Titanium Backup xD

posted on 24 Mar 2014, 08:26

12. Jovan (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Mar 2014)

Cheers fbermudez86, I'll give that a go. :-)

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 16:25

8. skymitch89 (Posts: 1283; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

I see no issues with leaving USB Debugging on after enabling it. I usually leave it on so that if & when I go to use my tethering app I don't need to hassle with my phone.

posted on 14 Mar 2014, 21:50

10. roscuthiii (Posts: 2117; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

PhoneArena. what is with these bottom of the barrell Android beginner articles lately?

It is understandable that not every user is going to have more advanced knowledge and could certainly use the information provided, but an actual Android: How To section would probably work better than these sporadic posts which can be overlooked. I say overlooked because even though there is filter with clearly defined tabs of which Android is one, it seems not to actually work. So, anyone that does come to PA looking for this info is going to have to go on a hunt to find it.

Maybe in another browser the filter works properly? Perhaps some settings changes to my current? Either way... ain't working now.

posted on 21 Nov 2015, 20:15

13. Zeekerpaul (Posts: 6; Member since: 15 Nov 2015)

There isn’t any danger in leaving USB debugging mode enabled, but the reason that it isn’t on by default is because it causes a lot of driver issues if you plug it into a computer. You’ll notice while USB debug mode is off that you can easily mount your phone as an external drive, enable (built-in subscription based) tethering, or just have it charge. With Debug mode on, you usually need to download/install an additional driver on your computer if you want to retain the same features.

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