Are you looking for the developer options in your new Android phone but can’t find them? Do you want to disable your phone’s animations, enable USB debugging or change the behavior of your background applications? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to enable the hidden developer options in phones that come with Jelly Bean 4.2 or above. If you are running an older version of the Android OS, the developer options should already be available in your settings screen.
What can you do with the Android developer options?
Through the developer options menu you can enable many diagnostics functions like showing the CPU usage or forcing GPU rendering. You can turn on USB debugging to get direct access to your phone from the PC ADB command line tool. You can change the background process limit or let activities be immediately killed upon exiting the app. Depending on what ROM you’re running, you can even add an advanced reboot menu or configure root access.
How do I enable the hidden developer options?
- Navigate to your phone’s ‘Settings‘ screen and scroll to the bottom. Notice that there are no ‘Developer Options‘ shown. Tap on the ‘About phone‘ entry.
- Scroll down in your ‘About phone‘ screen and locate the ‘Build number‘. Tap 7 times on the ‘Build number‘ entry.
- You will get a notification that the developer options have been enabled.
- If you go back to the main settings screen and scroll down, you’ll see that the ‘Developer Options‘ have been added. Tap on this entry to see what is inside.
- You might have different options depending on what exact OS version or custom ROM you are running. The options displayed here are from CyanogenMod 10.2 on a rooted HTC Sensation. The ‘Launch Tools‘ entry takes you to a special tools menu (more on this at step 12). The ‘Advanced reboot‘ improves your reboot menu with more choices (only with rooted ROM).
- When you scroll down, you can enable ‘USB debugging‘. This allows you to remote control your Androi phone over USB with the ADB command line tool for PCs.
- If you’re developing apps, you can set a debug app here. You can also ‘Show touches‘ to check whether your touch screen is correctly calibrated.
- Here you see the different options to configure the animations (more on this at step 11). You can also ‘Force GPU rendering‘, which might fix performance in older apps.
- If you have a powerful device, you can ‘Force 4x MSAA‘ to enhance visual quality in OpenGL ES 2.0 games. This might however introduce visual glitches. ‘Disable HW overlays‘ can fix compatibility problems in video apps. There’s also the option to ‘Show CPU usage‘ here.
- Here you can set options to choose how background apps are handled. You can also improve the back button so that it kills the current app if long-pressed.
- One of the options that most users will find useful is the ability to change the animation settings of the standard interface. You can either change their speed, or turn them off completely. There are three different types of animation you can configure through the ‘Window animation scale‘, ‘Transition animation scale‘ and ‘Animator duration scale‘ entries.
- There’s also a shortcut to the development tools. Just tap on the ‘Launch Tools‘ entry to get to this window. The ‘Developer options‘ entry simply takes you back to the previous screen. The ‘Connectivity‘ allows you to enable or disable all kinds of connectivity modules.
- Here’s the bottom part of this tools window. One of the more useful tools is the ‘SMS Tester‘ with which you can test your SMS-activated apps without incurring any costs.
Many of these options can give you very weird results, as they are meant to be used on a production phone, so be careful when changing settings and always remember what the initial settings were.