Enable your device for development
- 2 minutes to read
Activate Developer Mode, sideload apps and access other developer features
If you're not creating your own applications on your PC, you don't need to enable Developer Mode. If you're trying to fix an issue with your computer, check out Windows help. If you're developing for the first time, you'll also want to get set up by downloading the tools you need.
If you are using your computer for ordinary day-to-day activities such as games, web browsing, email or Office apps, you do not need to activate Developer Mode and in fact, you shouldn't activate it. The rest of the information on this page won't matter to you, and you can safely get back to whatever it is you were doing. Thanks for stopping by!
However, if you are writing software with Visual Studio on a computer for first time, you will need to enable Developer Mode on both the development PC, and on any devices you'll use to test your code. Opening a UWP project when Developer Mode is not enabled will either open the For developers settings page, or cause this dialog to appear in Visual Studio:
When you see this dialog, click settings for developers to open the For developers settings page.
You can go to the For developers page at any time to enable or disable Developer Mode: simply enter "for developers" into the Cortana search box in the taskbar.
Accessing settings for Developers
To enable Developer mode, or access other settings:
- From the For developers settings dialog, choose the level of access that you need.
- Read the disclaimer for the setting you chose, then click Yes to accept the change.
Enabling Developer mode requires administrator access. If your device is owned by an organization, this option might be disabled.
Developer Mode features
Developer Mode replaces the Windows 8.1 requirements for a developer license. In addition to sideloading, the Developer Mode setting enables debugging and additional deployment options. This includes starting an SSH service to allow this device to be deployed to. In order to stop this service, you have to disable Developer Mode.
When you enable Developer Mode on desktop, a package of features is installed that includes:
- Windows Device Portal. Device Portal is enabled and firewall rules are configured for it only when the Enable Device Portal option is turned on.
- Installs, and configures firewall rules for SSH services that allow remote installation of apps. Enabling Device Discovery will turn on the SSH server.
For more information on these features, or if you encounter difficulties in the installation process, check out developer mode features and debugging.
How to enable Developer Options on your Android device
If you want to take more control over your Android device but aren’t sure where to start, we suggest looking at Android’s built-in Developer Options.
Allow me to begin with a warning. The Developer Options menu contains a number of items that truly are for trained professionals. Please do not change anything if you do not understand what it is. At the very least, take note of the default setting and be prepared to come change things back if anything goes wrong.
With that said, here’s how to enable Developer Options on Android devices!
Why enable Developer Options?
As the name implies, Developer Options is a set of tools and settings designed to assist an app developer in optimizing their products and tracking down errors. For example, the option called Pointer location provides a precise reading of user input. While this is great for a developer that needs to understand touch location and movement, the overlay is fairly unusable for your everyday computing.
If you are willing to do a little tinkering, there are some cool features in Developer Options. One can take a deeper look into CPU and RAM processes, limit background processes, force apps into split screen mode, access advanced reboot options, simulate or hide notches, speed up animations, and more. It is also an important process for those of you who like rooting and installing custom ROMs.
How do you enable Developer Options?
We are working with a Google Pixel 3 XL running Android 9.0 Pie. This offers the stock Android experience, as designed by Google. You may find some differences depending on the device and software you are using. Other manufacturers tend to organize settings differently. Look into said differences before moving forward, but the general gist of the process should still be the same.
- Open up your Settings app.
- Tap on the About phone option.
- Scroll down again and find the Build number entry.
- Start repeatedly tapping on the Build number. Android will pop up a message informing you that in x amount of clicks you will become a developer. Keep tapping until the process is complete. It should be seven taps.
- You will be asked to enter your PIN number.
With that out of the way, head on back to the main Settings menu and you will now see Developer Options listed.
Now you know how to enable Developer Options on Android! We know many of you aren’t exactly developers and we are a curious bunch, so hit the comments and tell us why you are choosing to access this delicate part of your phone.
More Android how-tos!
Android DevelopmentHow ToTips & Tricks
How to unlock and enable Developer options on any Android phone
Even if you're leery about rooting your Android phone and installing a custom ROM, you can still try out some features and settings that aren't turned on by default. Every Android phone comes equipped with the ability to enable Developer options, which lets you test some features and access parts of the phone that are usually locked away. As you might expect, Developer options are cleverly hidden away by default, but it's easy to enable if you know where to look.
Find your Android Build number
Before you can enable Developer options on your Android phone or tablet, you'll first need to find your phone's build number. On most phones, you can simply type build number into the search field, but here's how to find it on a few popular devices:
Google Pixel: Settings > System > About phone > Build number
Samsung Galaxy S8 and later: Settings > About phone > Software information > Build number
LG G6 and later: Settings > About phone > Software info > Build number
HTC U11 and later: Settings > About > Software information > More > Build number
OnePlus 5T and later: Settings > About phone > Build number
Reveal Developer options
Once you’ve found the screen with your Build number, you'll need to tap on it seven seven times. That's right: seven times. After a few taps, you'll see a small pop-up alert telling you that "You are now X steps away from being a developer" with a number that counts down with every additional tap.
After the seventh tap, a message will appear telling you that "You are now a developer!" and the Developer options will be unlocked as an option in Settings. Some phones will include a general message about tinkering with your Android phone, but you can simply tap OK. While many of the options are strictly for developers, including things like USB debugging and bootloader unlocking, you'll also find things such as high-fi audio codecs, notch options, and CPU usage among the toggles. Experiment at your own risk.
Turn off Developer options
While Google used to require a factory reset to rid your phone of Developer options, it's easier to jettison now. In most Android phones running Nougat and later, you'll see a on/off toggle at the top of the screen, which will let you switch off Developer options. The screen will gray out, and once you leave, it'll be gone from your phone. To get it back, you'll need to follow these steps again.
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Michael Simon covers all things iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, with a little Android thrown in. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.
Did you know there’s a secret menu hidden in the Android Settings called “Developer Options” that provides access to additional, useful tools? As the name implies, these tools are mostly meant for developers, but there are some things non-developers might also like, such as turning off animations to speed up your device, faking your GPS location, or turning on USB debugging so you can back up app data on your phone with or without rooting or unlocking it.
Today we are going to show you some of the benefits regarding the developer options, how to enable those options on your Android device, and how to disable them again afterwards. The process is easy – but not obvious.
The Benefits Of The Developer Options
The term “Developer Options” might seem daunting if you’re not a developer, but there are some features you might still find very useful.
Speed Up Your Device By Slowing Down or Turning Off Animations
When you switch between apps and screens in Android, the animations are played by default. If you have a slow Android device, these animations could slow down your device even further. If you have a fast phone, switching between screens and apps could be instantaneous without the animations. Either way, you can adjust the speed of the animations or turn them off completely.
Speed Up High-End Games & Apps
If you’re using a high-end Android device and you play high-end, graphics-intensive games on it, the “Force 4x MSAA” (multisample anti-aliasing) setting in the Developer Options can help improve the images and graphics rendering in OpenGL ES 2.0 games and certain other apps.
Enable USB Debugging
USB debugging may sound like a scary, programming term, but it’s probably the most widely used Developer option. It allows your Android device to communicate with the Android SDK (Software Developer Kit) using a USB cable. The device can receive commands, files, and other similar items from the computer, and the computer can pull information like log files from your Android device.
So why use USB debugging? It’s required if you want to root, unlock, and install a custom ROM on your Android device. Or if you want to capture screenshots of your device’s screen using a program on your computer. The latter is useful if you’re having problems using the Home button-Power button method of capturing the screen. USB debugging is also required if you want to use Android Debug Bridge (ADB) commands to send files back and forth between your Android device and your computer or create complete local backups of your entire device without rooting it.
However, security is a concern when USB debugging is enabled. Leaving USB debugging on when your Android device is connected via USB keeps your device exposed. This is fine when the device is connected to your own computer while performing tasks that require USB debugging. However, you should disable USB debugging when you’re not using it.
The problem comes into play if you need to plug your phone into an unfamiliar USB port—like a public charging station. Theoretically, someone who had access to that charging station could use USB debugging to access your device and steal private information from your device or copy some kind of malware onto it.
Set a Desktop Backup Password
If you turn on USB debugging and use ADB to create a complete backup of your Android device over USB, as mentioned above, you can protect the backup by encrypting it with a password using the “Desktop backup password” setting in the Developer options. Note that you will not be able to access the backup if you forget the password.
Fake Your GPS Location With a Mock Location App
Faking your GPS location can be useful in different situations. Maybe you want to prevent certain apps from determining where you really are, or you may want to check in someplace without actually going there. In any case, you can fake your GPS location using the “Mock location app” setting in the Developer options and a GPS spoofing app.
Stay Awake While Charging
The screen on your mobile device turns off after sitting idle for a specified amount of time. You can bypass this time limit while your device is charging using the screen saver function, which allows you to run one of a limited number of apps. However, what if you’ve downloaded a third-party app you want to run while your device is charging, such as an alarm clock app?
The “Stay awake” setting in the Developer options will keep the screen awake while charging and allow you to view and interact with any app at the same time.
Show CPU Usage
If you’re curious about what’s going on behind the scenes on your Android device, you can turn on the “Show CPU usage” setting in the Developer options. The CPU (central processing unit) usage displays on top of any app you’re using. Three numbers are displayed. The numbers represent the system load average on your device over the last one, five, and fifteen minutes (read from left to right).
You probably won’t want this displaying all the time, but the information is handy sometimes and you can avoid installing any third-party floating CPU apps to perform the same task.
View Running Processes
In addition to viewing the system load average, you can view information about the processes running on your Android device. In the Developer options, tap “Running services” to see a list of what services are in use and how much of your RAM each app is using and how many processes and services each app is running.
You can switch between viewing the services in use (“Show Services in Use“), which is the default setting we just mentioned, or viewing cached processes (“Show Cached Processes“). Cached processes are processes for apps that are not currently running in the foreground, meaning you’ve switched away from them.
An example of a cached background process would be an app you opened, did a few things in it, and then pressed the Home button to return to the Home screen. These cached background processes are kept in memory while there is enough memory to do so, so you can switch back to them more quickly.
However, as your Android system requires more RAM for other processes, the cached background processes are the first to get terminated to free up RAM for apps you’re currently using.
Tap the blue text in the upper-right corner of the Running Services screen to switch between showing the services in use and showing the cached processes.
Background Process Limit
If you looked at the running processes and found a lot of cached background processes running, and you want to claim back some of that memory (maybe you don’t have much memory on your device), you can limit the number of background processes that run. The “Limit background processes” option in the Developer options allows you to limit the number of background processes that are allowed to run or not allow to run.
For example, you can select “At most 2 processes” on the “Limit background processes” dialog box, and the current app and the two most recent apps you ran and switched away from are the only processes that can run at one time. This should free up a good chunk of memory on your device.
Install Any App To The SD Card
If you have limited internal storage space on your Android device, but you have a SD card in the device, you may want to install some apps to the SD card. Not all apps allow this, but the “Force allow apps on external” setting in the Developer options allows you to install any app to the SD card, whether it was programmed to do so or not.
Keep in mind though, sometimes there’s a good reason the developer of an app blocked the ability to install the app to an SD card. Some apps look for files in a specific place and the app won’t be able to find those files if it’s installed in an unexpected place. So when you install an app to your SD card using the “Force allow apps on external” setting, be prepared to uninstall it and reinstall it on the internal storage, if the app doesn’t work when installed on the SD card.
This can save you a lot of internal storage space if you install large apps that will work just as well installed to your SD card.
Force Any App to Work In Split-Screen Mode
Split screen mode was introduced in Android Nougat and it’s a pretty handy feature. However, some apps don’t work in split screen. The “Force activities to be resizable” setting in the Developer options forces apps that don’t normally work in split screen to do so. Note that split screen view might cause some apps to not work correctly, but sometimes they don’t work simply because they have not been optimized for split screens.
Once you turn on the “Force activities to be resizable” setting, restart your device. Now – theoretically – all your apps will work in split screen mode. Be prepared, however, for some of them to not look so great or to crash altogether.
How To Enable Developer Options
To enable developer options, swipe down from the top of your device’s screen and tap the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the notification bar that displays.
Scroll to the bottom of the list of settings and tap “About device”.
In the right pane, tap “Build number” seven times.
A message briefly displays saying that Developer mode has been turned on.
Now, when you scroll down in the left pane past “About device”, the “Developer options” item is available.
How To Disable Or Hide Developer Options
If you no longer need to use the Developer options, you can disable them, leaving the Developer options item still available in the Settings. If you would rather not have the Developer options available at all in the Settings, you can hide the Developer options item entirely.
In either case, we need to be in the Settings. So if it’s not open already, open it again by swiping down from the top of your device’s screen and tapping the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the notification bar that displays.
To disable Developer Options, tap “Developer options” at the bottom of the left pane.
Then, tap the “OFF” slider button at the top of the right pane.
If you’d rather hide the Developer options item completely, tap “Apps” in the left pane.
Scroll down in the list in the right pane until you find the “Settings” app and tap on it.
On the Settings App Info screen, tap “Storage“.
Tap the “Clear Data” button on the Settings Storage screen.
You are warned that all files, settings, accounts databases, etc. will be deleted permanently. DON’T PANIC! Only the Developer options settings are set back to defaults. The other settings on your device are not affected.
So, tap “Delete” on this dialog box.
The Developer options item is now removed from the left pane in the Settings.
Have you used any of the Developer options features? If so, which ones and how did they work for you? Let us know in the comments.
Developer options enable
Back in Android 4.2, Google hid Developer Options. Since most “normal” users don’t need to access the feature, it leads to less confusion to keep it out of sight. If you need to enable a developer setting, like USB Debugging, you can access the Developer Options menu with a quick trip into the About Phone section of the Settings menu.
How to Access the Developer Options Menu
To enable Developer Options, open the Settings screen, scroll down to the bottom, and tap About phone or About tablet.
Scroll down to the bottom of the About screen and find the Build number.
Tap the Build number field seven times to enable Developer Options. Tap a few times and you’ll see a toast notification with a countdown that reads “You are now X steps way from being a developer.”
When you’re done, you’ll see the message “You are now a developer!”. Congratulations. Don’t let this newfound power go to your head.
Tap the Back button and you’ll see the Developer options menu just above the “About Phone” section in Settings. This menu is now enabled on your device—you won’t have to repeat this process again unless you perform a factory reset.
How to Enable USB Debugging
To enable USB Debugging, you’ll need to jump into the Developer options menu, scroll down to the Debugging section, and toggle the “USB Debugging” slider.
Once upon a time, USB Debugging was thought to be a security risk if left on all the time. Google has done a few things that make that less of an issue now, because debugging requests have to be granted on the phone—when you plug the device into an unfamiliar PC, it will prompt you to allow USB debugging (as seen in the screenshot below).
If you still want to disable USB debugging and other developer options when you don’t need them, slide the switch at the top of the screen. Easy peasy.
Developer Options are power settings for developers, but that doesn’t mean non-developer users can’t benefit from them as well. USB debugging is required for things like adb, which in turn is used for rooting devices. Once your device is rooted, the possibilities are endless.
How to get developer options on Android
There’s a hidden set of developer options on Android devices that you can access if you know how. Whether you want to enable USB debugging, unlock your bootloader so you can root your Android phone, or change the animation draw speed to give your phone a slicker feel, this is where you can do that and a lot more. Whatever your reason for wanting to access the hidden options, you have to unlock them first. Our guide below gives you the basics on how to get to the developer options.
By default, the developer options in Android phones are hidden. This is because they’re designed for use by developers who want to test various functionalities and make changes that may impact the phone’s performance. It’s not smart to go tinkering with the developer options without a specific purpose and an understanding of what each option refers to. But now that you’ve been warned, here’s how you can get developer options on Android.
How to access developer options in Android
You can unlock the developer options on any Android smartphone or tablet by locating the build number in your Settings menu and tapping it multiple times. However, the exact location of the aforementioned build number may differ depending on your phone’s manufacturer. The following example uses a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE running Android 11.
- Go to Settings > About Phone.
- Tap Software Info > Build Number.
- Tap Build Number seven times. After the first few taps, you should see the steps counting down until you unlock the developer options. You may also have to tap in your PIN for verification. Once developer options are activated, you will see a message that reads, You are now a developer.
- Go back to the Settings pane, where you will now find Developer options as an entry.
- Tap it and toggle the switch on if it is not already, and from there, you can proceed to make adjustments to your phone.
On phones running Android 10, you’ll usually find the About Phone menu under Settings > System > About Phone — all the other steps above are the same.
It’s simple to deactivate developer options straight from your Settings if you don’t need to access them anymore. The first step to do this is to head over to Settings, click Developer Options, and hit Off. And, you’re done. Yes, really. That’s all there is to it. After you’ve completed this step, you will no longer be able to access Developer Options from the Settings menu. But, you can still modify these settings later if you change your mind and want to return them to their initial state. Simply follow the directions mentioned above.
You can also investigate other more advanced settings using Android’s developer options. Remember that developer mode was initially intended for app debugging and manipulating system responses and functionality. The selections within developer mode typically include debugging, networking, input, hardware-accelerated rendering, media, monitoring, and applications. It’s up to you how you want to customize the settings, as you can categorize them according to your specific preferences.
We recommend visiting the official Android Developer website to get more insight on this subject and examine the developer options’ full list. Know that these options may be different depending on the device you’re using. Typically, the choices depend on the type and model of the device you are working with.
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