How to enable USB debugging on Android

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.

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

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 2.3 Gingerbread and earlier

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

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.

Story timeline



1. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Turn it off after rooting/unlocking.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

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

5. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Why? Any issues with it?

6. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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?

15. SarahPalin

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 25, 2016

You also can read this. It's a good share.​gging-on-android.html

9. andynaija

Posts: 1265; Member since: Sep 08, 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.

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010


14. SarahPalin

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 25, 2016


17. MeekSpaul

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

Because malicious apps can damage system easily.

3. Jovan

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 14, 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?

4. Jovan

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 14, 2014

Nevermind, I found the answer.

7. fbermudez86

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Intregrate update into ROM using Titanium Backup xD

12. Jovan

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 14, 2014

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

8. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 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.

10. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 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.

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