How to Enable USB Debugging on Android Devices



Android means, unstoppable and seem-less customisation. This could be achieved via several ways, in which the first one is definitely rooting, others could be custom ROMs and tweaks. But before you perform any of these procedures, it is necessary to create a link between the PC and your Android device. One such link is formed by the Android Debug Bridge (ADB), and so to allow the PC and device to communicate and recognized any commands, it is essential to enable USB debugging first.

ADB is a command-line tool used by a PC to communicate and form a virtual link with an Android device. This connection can then be used to print logs, reboot device into different modes, manage system files, open root shells, sideload update zips, and much more. ADB is of great use to App, ROM and kernel developers, to track down their projects for errors. On the other side, it comes in handy to the experienced users too, so that they could provide proper feedback to the developers.

Most of our upcoming tutorials will require you to have USB debugging enabled on your Android phone, to use and operate ADB commands. The process is short and easy, but not everyone knows how to do it. This will be when we enter the scene and help our users enable USB debugging on Android.

Note: Enabling USB debugging shall not harm your Android phone in any manner. The steps mentioned below are meant only for devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and up.

Steps to enable USB debugging

  1. Open your phone’s app drawer and go to Settings.
  2. Now, browse the settings and look for a section named About phone (This section is common in almost every Android smartphone/tablet).
  3. Look for Build number (for me, it is MMB29P). Tap on the build number simultaneously for 5 times. When you have, a message will be shown – You are now a developer!
    Enable USB Debugging-Steps
  4. By doing this, you have enabled Developer options in Settings, and it is placed right above About phone.
  5. Go to Developer options and make sure it is enabled.
  6. Scroll down a bit until you see USB debugging, and finally enable it.
  7. You will be prompted with a message, select OK.
    Enable USB Debugging-Prompt

This is it! The toggle corresponding to USB debugging should now be turned on. You can now go ahead, connect your phone to the PC and operate on ADB commands.

Some common ADB commands have been listed below for reference:

  • List all the devices currently communicating with the current PC via ADB.
    adb devices
  • Push/transfer a file to a specific directory on the phone.
    adb push <file-name-with-extension> <path-to-transfer>
  • Pull/transfer a file from the phone storage to PC.
    adb pull <path-to-file-and-filename> <path-to extract>
  • Reboot your device into OS mode.
    adb reboot
  • Reboot your device into bootloader mode:
    adb reboot bootloader
  • Reboot your device into recovery mode:
    adb reboot recovery

ADB and fastboot, both are Android platform tools that comes packed within the Android SDK. You can download Android SDK from here and set it up on your PC.

If you’re willing to hide the Developer options from your Settings for some reason, you can simply go to Settings > Apps. Scroll down and open Settings app and Clear Data. If you have any issues enabling/disabling USB debugging on your Android phone or tablet, you can prompt us via the comments.