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What are Android developer options? How to enable it?

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  • 8 min read

Developer options is a hidden setting available in Android devices. And, as the name suggests, it is mainly used by developers. Let’s dive in to see what these Android developer options are and how we can enable them?

Developer options are hidden settings and tools present in an Android device. These give developers many features that they can use to test and debug any apps they are developing. It also provides settings such as ‘keep your phone awake’ or ‘do not use lock screen’, which regular users can use to customise their phone.

You don’t need to use developer options for the apps you install from the Play store. The app you are developing on your laptop or computer is in the development stage and is not released to the Play Store. To deploy and debug these apps from your system into your phone directly, you need to have the developer mode turned on on your phone.

Also read: What is App Stack on Android?

How to access and enable the developer options?

By default, Developer Options are hidden on Android devices to prevent usual users from accidentally messing with them. Follow the steps given below to access and turn on Developer Options on your Android.

  • Open settings, tap on About Phone.
  • Tap on Build Number seven times. You will see a toast message saying “You are now in developer mode”. Your developer mode is on and you can access the developer options now.
  • Go to Additional Settings then tap on Developer options.
  • Turn on the developer options by enabling the toggle.

Android developer options explained

You can perform various tasks using the developer options. Let’s see some of them here.

  • USB Debugging – It allows you to communicate to your system via Android Debug Bridge when connected through a USB. You can install the apps you are developing using USB and test and debug your app.
  • Enable bluetooth HCI snoop log – This option allows you to store the details of Bluetooth HCI packets in a file in the device which you can retrieve later on to analyze the data stored.
  • Memory – This option shows you the average memory use, available memory, total memory, and other stats.
  • Picture color mode – You can turn it on to use sRGB color mode.
  • Running services – This option gives you access to various services running on your device and control them.
  • Keep screen on while charging – Turning this option on keeps your screen on when it is plugged in for charging.
  • Do not use lock screen – This option if turned on, will stop the use of the lock screen on your phone.
  • OEM unlock – Allows bootloader to be unlocked.
  • Atuomatic system updates – This option automatically updates your device whenever restarted.
  • Quick settings developer tiles – Shows some quick options to apply.
  • Desktop backup password -This option provides you the feature to backup and restore the apps and data to and from your system.
  • Select mock location app – You can write a fake GPS location of your device using this option to test your apps.
  • Enable view attribute inspection – You can use this option to save the view attribute details in mAttributes member variable so that you can later on use it for debugging.
  • Select debug app – You can select the app you want to debug.
  • Wait for debugger – The selected app for debug waits until debugger gets attached.
  • Verify apps over USB – This options enables Google to check the app you just installed using USB for any malicious thing.
  • Bug report shortcut – This option adds a bug report button in the power menu, so that you can collect and send a bug report.
  • Wireless debugging – You can debug without using USB when WiFi is connected.
  • Logger buffer sizes – You can set the size of the log buffer.
  • Enable GPU debug layers – Allows GPU debug layers to load from local device storage.
  • Show refresh rate – Displays the current refresh rate.
  • Select USB configuration – You can choose how your device will be identified when it is connected to a system using USB ranging from simply charging to data transfer.
  • Enable Wi-Fi verbose logging – You can turn on this feature to increase the WiFi logging level for each SSID.
  • Always keep mobile data active – This option keeps your mobile data always on.
  • Show bluetooth devices without name – Turning this option on will show you the bluetooth devices having only MAC address and no name.
  • Wireless display certification – This option enables the advanced confirguration controls and settings for the wireless display certification.
  • Bluetooth AVRCP Version – You can choose the AVRCP version you want to use for controlling the bluetooth devices.
  • Bluetooth MAP version – You can choose the map version you want from the available list given.
  • Maximum connected bluetooth audio devices – You can choose how many bluetooth audio devices your phone can connect to at a time.
  • Bluetooth Audio Bits Per sample – Using this option, you can set the number of bits of information in each audio sample.
  • Bluetooth Audio Channel Mode – You can choose mono or stereo.
  • Bluetooth Audio LDAC Codec – You can optimize the sound to increase audio quality, connection quality using this option.
  • Pointer location – This feature shows you on the screen where you are tapping. A bar appears on top of the screen which gives you coordinates as well.
  • Show taps – The feature gives visual feedback every time you tap the screen.
  • Show surface updates – This option flashes the entire screen whenever the contents are updated.
  • Show layout bounds – This feature shows the boundaries and margins of the clip or object on the device.
  • Force RTL layout direction – This feature forces the screen layout direction to be from Right to Left for all locales.
  • Window animation scale – You can set the speed for the window-animation playback. The lower the scale you set, the higher is the speed.
  • Transition animation zoom – You can set the amount of animation zoom.
  • Animator duration scale – Using this option, you can change the duration of animation which happens while closing and opening the application.
  • Simulate secondary displays – It allows you to create secondary display for different sizes.
  • Smallest width – You can change the amount of smallest width.
  • Simulate color space – You can change the color of the whole UI of the device.
  • Show view updates – It displays the element drawn with the GPU.
  • Debug GPU overdraw – It gives you the information when the app is doing more rendering than required.
  • Show hardware layer updates – Shows you when your hardware layer updates.
  • Debug non-rectangular clip operations – You can create non – rectangular clipping canvas area turning off the current clipping area on canvas using this option.
  • Force 4x MSAA – Enables MSAA in OpenGL ES 2.0 apps.
  • Disable HW overlays – This option disables hardware overlays which leads to increase in the processing power consumption.
  • Disable USB audio routing – You can disable the automatic USB audio routing to external devices using this option.
  • Strict mode enabled – This option flashes the screen when the main thread of the application performs long operations.
  • Profile GPU rendering – Displays the GPU rendering on the screen as bars.
  • Always show crash dialog – Displays dialog box every time an app crashes.
  • Show background ANRs – Enabling this option displays an ‘App not responding’ dialog box whenever any app hangs.
  • Show notification channel warning – Displays on-screen warning when an app posts a notification without a valid channel.
  • Background process limit – You can set how many processes can run in the backgorund at a time using this option.
  • Don’t keep activities – This option forcefully closes the app as soon as you leave the main view.
  • Reset ShortcutManager rate-limiting – A limit is set on the number of times the background app can call a shortcut.

Apart from this, several other options can come in handy at times.

  • Bluetooth Audio
  • WebView implementation
  • DSU loader
  • Allow screen overlays on settings
  • Revoke USB debugging authorization
  • Verify bytecode of debuggable apps
  • feature flags
  • App compatibility changes
  • graphics driver preferences
  • system tracing
  • Force full GNSS measurements
  • WiFi scan throttling
  • WiFi enhanced MAC recommendations
  • Tethering hardware acceleration
  • enable absolute volume
  • enable gabeldorsche
  • Bluetooth audio codec
  • Bluetooth audio LHDC codec
  • display cutouts
  • override force-dark
  • background check
  • Adaptive notification priority
  • adaptive notification ranking
  • disable apps
  • enable freeform sizecompat
  • disable permission monitoring
  • force desktop mode
  • enable freeform windows
  • force activities to be resizable
  • logging level
  • max request per session
  • max visible datasets

Also read: How to create an Android App?

Chetali Shah

An avid reader and an engineering student. Love to code and read books. Always curious to learn new things :)

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