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What is USB debugging and how do I enable it?

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Android’s USB debugging feature may sound scary but it’s not as complex as it may seem. USB debugging is basically just a way to allow an Android smartphone to transfer information to and from a computer. It’s one of the coolest things about Android since it lets you root your device, give ADB commands, fix a bricked phone and more. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what it is and how to use it.

What is USB debugging?

As the name suggests, USB debugging relates to the act of tracking bugs via USB. Traditionally, Android app developers would use this process to test software and find problems using the Android Studio development kit on a computer. Nowadays, it is used by both developers and Android users to assist in tasks such as installing custom recovery, rooting a device, installing a new ROM and more.

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How do I enable USB debugging?

To enable USB debugging, you first must enable the ‘Developer options’ menu in Android (if you haven’t already). Here are the complete steps:

  • Open your device’s Settings menu
  • Scroll down to About phone
  • Tap on Build number about 7 times until you see a message saying “Developer options are activated”
  • Tap the back button and you will see the Developer options menu appear at the bottom of the settings page
  • Tap on it and scroll down until you see USB debugging; press it and hit Ok to enable it

If you have a device which is running Android 2.3 or earlier, here are the steps to follow:

  • Open the Settings
  • Tap on Applications (sometimes called Apps or App Manager)
  • Scroll down until you find the Developer options
  • Tap on this and enable USB
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Now you’re all set, USB debugging has been activated. You will now be able to install custom ROMs to your Android device, or even operate your smartphone remotely if you have broken the screen.