How To Activate USB Debug On Your Android Device

Have you ever thought, it could happen even a common user needs to switch on the USB debug mode on his/her Android phone? One could think this may be required for an application developer, however, certain desktop phone managers can establish connection with your phone via USB cable only, when this setting is activated.

Certain Android powered devices require this option for various file operations, for example to automatically synchronize the content in the phone with the data stored on your desktop computer.

I was quite astounded at this when I wanted to use MyPhoneExplorer, a handy Windows phone manager with my Android powered phone for the first time. I opened the Help dialog of the app with brief information. It suggested me to make sure whether USB debugging is activated in my device.

Where will I find it?“, this question kept running through my head. There was nothing else to do, I opened the User Guide of my phone, and searched for this keyword. After skipping some matches, I found the desired chapter. I had to recognize, it is not so complicated, only a few steps needed.

I hope I will make you find it easier by following the below step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

First Thing First

If you already connected your mobile device with your computer via the USB cable, please unplug it from your phone, otherwise your device will prompt you a warning requesting to do so.

Activate Android USB debug warning

If the cable is left in the phone, you will tap the OK button in vain, the ‘USB debugging’ option will remain ticked. So, unplug the cable, please.

Where Can I Find It?

Let’s go deeper, step by step:

1. Tap the Applications shortcut in the idle screen.

Home screen

It may a bit faster when you press the menu key on your phone and tap Settings in the quick launch bar.

Quick launch bar

In this case you can skip Step 2.

2. Tap the Settings item in the applications list.

Applications screen

3. Select Applications in the Settings screen that opens.

Settings screen

4. Tap Development in this screen.

Applications screen

Now you got it! The first item in this screen, that is loaded, is ‘USB debugging’.

Some More Actions

Now tap the ‘USB debugging’ option in the display. Your phone will raise the question whether you want to switch on this setting. Confirm your decision by tapping the OK button.

A green tick will appear, it means that the check box is selected and this feature is activated.

USB debugging selected

Now you can replug your cable in the phone. When you replugged the USB cable, your device will notify you about the successful connection by displaying two appropriate indicator icons in the status bar (upper left corner of the screen).

Indicator icons in the status bar

When you scroll down the status bar, you can learn the meanings of these icons.

Status messages

Your Android powered device is now ready for the communication.

Security Concerns?

When I read the confirmation message, I was a bit afraid. When the USB debugging is activated, it can be used for synchronizing data between your phone and your computer. In addition to this, (unwanted) applications may be installed on your phone without your prior knowledge. Your user names and passwords stored by the applications installed on your device can be accessed. Logs, hardware information and the list of installed applications can be accessed as well.

Finally I realized, these all are things what an experienced user already should know. They may compromise your privacy, so ensuring your security, it is highly recommended to deactivate the USB debug mode at the end of your session.

Jozsef Tamas Herczeg

Jozsef Tamas Herczeg, a former librarian, is a software geek from Hungary. As a freelance English-Hungarian software translator, he has got his profound knowledge of the software applications. Follow him on Twitter.

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