How to enable USB debugging on Android

Updated: February 3, 2023

This guide will come in handy if you decide to restore erased data from the device, reflash it, get root rights or make a backup.

USB debugging is a mode in which the Android device provides advanced access to its operating system for computer programs. This feature is actively used by application developers. But for ordinary users, debug mode can also be useful. It allows utilities like PhoneRescue to recover accidentally deleted files. And applications like Helium create backups of mobile device data using a PC. These are just typical examples.

There are many different situations in which you might need USB debugging. If you need to activate it, here’s what to do.

How to activate debugging

The first thing to do is to enable “Developer Mode“. Follow the appropriate steps, depending on your device.

  • On a clean Android, open the settings and find the “About Phone” item. 
  • There, look for the “Build Number” item. Tap it until the message “You have become a developer” appears.
  • On Xiaomi smartphones, press “Settings” → “About device” → “All features“. Press “MIUI version” until the above message appears.
  • On Samsung smartphones, under “Settings” → “About phone” → “Software information“. Click on the “Build Number” section.

All other smartphones have the same principle. 

  1. All you have to do is find “About device“, “About system” and so on in the settings, and in it “Build number“. Click on it several times, and the developer mode will be enabled.
  2. Now find the “For developers” section in the settings. In many firmwares it appears at the bottom of the main settings menu, but in MIUI you can find it in “Settings” → “Advanced“. Also “For developers” is easy to find with the built-in settings search.
  3. In the section that opens, make sure that the “For Developers” switch is activated. Then find the “USB debugging” button and enable it too. Done.

Debug mode gives you deep access to your system, which opens up new loopholes for intruders. For example, they can easily connect your lost device to your computer and try to retrieve data. Therefore, it is better to disable the debug mode after use. This can also be done in the “For Developers” section.

If you want to hide the developer menu, tap “Settings” → “Apps” → “All apps“. Find “Settings” there and tap “Clear Data“. The additional menu will be hidden.

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