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How To Enable USB Debugging On Your Android Phone

How To Start USB Debugging On AndroidAre you interested in creating Android Apps, or maybe just running home diagnostics on your device?  If so, one of the first things you’ll want to do is connect your phone to your computer. But to do this, it requires that you set up your phone and enable USB debugging mode accordingly.  Let’s enable Debug Mode!

When paired with a computer running Android SDK (or another diagnostic program), Debug Mode can allow you to pull up all sorts of useful information about your phone.  In the screenshot below I’m using the DDMS tool from the Android SDK to monitor where RAM is being used on my Samsung Galaxy S Android phone.  But this is just one example of what you can do!

Android memory usage monitor

Enable USB Debugging Mode On Your Android Mobile Phone Device

For older versions of Android please scroll down.

Newer versions of Android (4.0+)

Step 1

Launch the Settings app on your phone.  This app can be found in your App Drawer, or by Pressing the menu button on the outside of your device.

launch settings app from androidimagelaunch settings app from menu button on android

Step 2

In the Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0+) or newer version of the Android OS, the System USB Debugging is now located under Developer Options > Android Debugging.

Before the Developer Options menu will appear, some versions of Android now require that you unlock it by tapping the secret “Build Number” unlock area. This is found under Settings > About Phone> Build Number

unlock developer mode

Done! That’s all there is to enable USB debugging in the new version of Android.

Ice Cream Sandwich Android USB Debugging

Older versions of Android

The same as above, except after entering the Settings menu you’ll need to enter Applications options.

Android Applications Settings

Next tap Development.

Android Development Applications Settings

Check the box for USB debugging.*

*You can also Enable, Stay Awake, and Allow mock locations to make things easier when you are running tests.

Android USB Debugging, Stay awake, and Allow mock locations


Your phone should now be in Debug Mode. If you go into the notification bar, you’ll find an Ongoing alert stating USB debugging connected.  Note that even while USB debug mode is enabled you can still Mount your Android phone to your computer to transfer files without causing any problems!

Android USB debugging connected alert



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78 Responses to How To Enable USB Debugging On Your Android Phone

  1. android-man September 17, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Awesome – Is there a simple way to backup your phone this way also?

    • Steeve August 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks man totally worked!!

    • James December 13, 2013 at 5:55 am #

      Yes, if your phone is rooted, Titanium Backup Pro is by far the best backup utility out there

    • Vasudev May 27, 2014 at 7:02 am #

      Thank you, awesome it is so simple super.

    • mac August 1, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      hello there…!!1
      i need to know if there is other ways that makes my android phone get in to hard reset mode because the three combination key wont work for me and i even tried to connect to mobogenie but how could i enable usb debug mode please help…..!1??

  2. unknown October 7, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Thank you so much! Was really helpful;-)

  3. Tanny December 6, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    i am locked out and cannot enable debbuging. not linked with google account and have no 3 button combi. “/ HEEEEEEEEEELPPPP need to master reset but adb wont connect to device, odin connects but hangs at file analysis. newB but im sure ive done EVERYTHING

    • constantynae January 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

      @tanny I have the exact same problem, did you manage to do anything? Send me a reply pls if you found any solution. Any help would be appreciated

      • Tanny January 12, 2011 at 1:55 am #

        YES! i have my galaxy S working perfectly now 🙂 Go to youtube and Search Galaxy usb jig. when in download mode odin WILL flash but i just chose to reset. the youtube video does no justice for how fiddly the thing is to make, but it does work so be patient. dont buy a jig kit its only like 50pence to get all the bits you need.

    • debashish February 4, 2014 at 6:30 am #

      please help bro .
      your problem is now my problem
      any solution please contact me

  4. MrGroove January 20, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Excellent Dennis! Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad the article helped out!

  5. cdnewl January 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Nice,, Thanks a lot.

  6. Aaron March 2, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Thanks for this info! I am using EasyTether Pro and I have a question. Once I check the box for ‘USB Debugging’ do I (and should I) leave this box check alway? Or should I manually check this box every time I go to use my EasyTether Pro app? Is there any danger in leaving the box for ‘USB Debuggin’ always checked?
    Also, why wouldn’t something like USB Debugging be a default feature anyway?
    Thanks for any help and information!

    • grooveDexter March 2, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      Great feedback! To answer your question, once you check USB Debugging it should remain checked indefinitely. There are a few things that can disable it; certain apps, system updates, and total loss of battery life (in some cases).

      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.

      USB debug mode also uses up more system resources on the phone, so if you need to use it while it is charging you might notice slower performance. But, most USB-based tethering apps need it enabled because it grants elevated access privileges.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for the groovy question!

      • Puneet February 10, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

        whenever i m trying to turn on USB debugging it restarts my phone & after the restart again debug mode is unchecked.. & same restarting thing is there… can’t connect my Phone to PC.. any solution

  7. Dawn Hurd June 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Can someone hack in your phone going through USB debugging. Is that what this is for. Do they need access to your phone to hack in it?

  8. penis June 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    look at bet your bottom dollar on youtube the one with the guy in the mask

  9. May October 14, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Thank you! 😀

  10. TH October 19, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I have problem to log as debug mode even I have set the option to debug mode. It will still remain as USB storage, any advise on this? I am using Galaxy S, Android 2.3.3. Thanks.

    • KARTHICK March 6, 2013 at 6:48 am #

      Sir , Have you solved this problem ? Till now existing for me. If you got rid of this , pleaese show me the way.

      • faraday June 24, 2013 at 2:52 am #

        i hope by now you have the issue resolved.two years down the line.

        • Wolf June 24, 2013 at 4:22 am #

          > i hope by now you have the issue resolved.two years down the line.

          Yes – by buying a new phone with Android 4.1 (not because of the problem with USB debugging but because the old one had too small a memory and a lot of software doesn’t install on the SD card).

          The new phone (Samsung Galaxy S II plus) has USB debugging switched OFF by default, which is what I want. Connecting it to the Win7-PC at home as a hard drive now works fine without having to switch off USB debugging manually every time.

          Unfortunately, at work, where an old XP system without admin rights is installed, the PC does not find a driver for accessing the phone as a hard disk, so I cannot load pictures ONTO the phone (download of pictures still works with some XP-builtin camera app).

    • Mojeed July 2, 2015 at 2:48 am #

      Older versions of Android like 2.3.3:
      Task the following: Enter the Settings menu you’ll need to click Application options. Then click on development;you’ll see debug mode. Click on it….You should get it right now.

  11. Scott October 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Is there a way to enable USB debugging with a broken screen?

  12. hallebarde November 7, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    I don’t have the Development entry. What should I do ?
    Android 2.3.4, kernel
    infotmic “flytouch 3”

  13. Ajay Seth November 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks 🙂 Good Help

  14. shan November 27, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    nice post. its really help for my Android IP Webcam.

  15. Chandrakanth December 15, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Thanx a million Sir. It worked for my Samsung Galazy Note. Was struggling for a week. Wroked as a breeze..Thanx again.

    • Steve Krause December 15, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      You bet! And welcome to the groovyPost community!

  16. Edson December 27, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    I need a help with my phone Motorola XT531.
    After its Rooted, i could move many apk files to SDcard and create a link file to place in the original folder.
    So using this method was great.
    But I dont remember exactly why, I guess I move motoswitch.apk from system/app and did not create de link to replace it.
    So now i can not access the home and the worst the usb debug is not selected.
    Does anybody know how can I enable it? Or use the to restore just the system/app folder to the original place, because I’ve a original copy of it in the SDCard.

  17. Ali January 8, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks! Simple and easy to understand!

  18. Rosemarie Espinosa January 16, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I have a Droid RAZR. Following your instructions it will not let me changer the USB debugging to USB charge. Can you help me???????????

    • Ocilio December 14, 2013 at 8:08 am #

      Maybe you need to click some ones times on Adjust> About telephone> Compilation number

  19. Geoff Berry January 17, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    Just by switching off the USB debugging mode I resolved the issue tht had been driving me barmy.

    Thanks for your help.

    Geoff Berry

  20. Wolf January 24, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    Hi Austin,

    thanks for the post.

    Like Geoff Berry, I need to switch *OFF* USB Debugging on my Samsung Galaxy Ace in order to connect it as a mass storage device to my PC.

    The problem is that I have to do it every time again, which is a big hassle. Even when I have it switched off, as soon as I plug in the USB cable, it automatically switches on again, and I have to perform all the above steps again.

    Do you know of a way of permanently switching OFF the USB debugging once and for all?

    Thanks in advance.


  21. Jay DUB February 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Groooooveee Mannnnnnn! Yeah walked me right home, I love ya for this.

  22. Aisha February 20, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Thanks, was really helpful 🙂

  23. NaneNare April 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    NOT help
    Have any ideas?

  24. Edson April 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Some time ago I was had a problem related some posts above tha was about I got blank screen after I had moved a system file.
    So I asked for help on how to enable the usb debug without use settings menu, off course that was because if I got a blank screen i could not use settings menu.
    So far I don’t know how to enable de usb debug, but the solution were this steps.
    1 – Reset the cellPhone to default factory
    2 – paste the missed file on the sdcard using a PC.
    3 – using another phone send to you a sms and paste a link to an webmail.
    4 – using a PC, send to yourself a link to the file posted on your sdcard described above using the webmail.
    5 – turn on you phone, follow the initial setup screen.
    6 – Your sms will be received and so click on the link, then the webmail will be launched.
    7 – click on the link and select to install the missed file.
    Doing this steps I solve my problems, good look to you.

  25. panos May 20, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    thaanx. you are great!

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