Every Android User Should Tweak These 10 Developer Options

Ben Stegner 08-11-2016

Android is a simple platform to pick up and use, but there’s a lot of depth hiding beyond the attractive Material Design surface Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More . There are plenty of little tips and tricks scattered around the operating system 13 Android Tips & Tricks You Probably Didn't Know About Come with us as we dive into the Android operating system and explore some cool hidden features. Read More that might not be evident unless you know about them.


One hidden Android feature, the Developer Options, is actually fairly well-known but houses a lot of options that you may not have tinkered with. Let’s dive into the Developer Options menu!

How Do I Access the Developer Options?

In modern versions of Android 7 Reasons You'll Want to Upgrade to Android Nougat If you're thinking about making the jump to Android 7.0 Nougat, maybe these features could convince you. Read More , the Developer Options (DO) menu is hidden by default. This is presumably to keep inexperienced users 9 Things Not to Do When Getting Your First Android Phone These common pitfalls should be avoided for the optimal Android experience. Read More from changing settings that could adversely affect performance. We’ll clearly explain each setting, but be sure to watch what you’re tapping while in the DO.

To open up the DO menu, first open Settings on your phone and scroll all the way down to the System header at the bottom. Tap About Phone and find the Build Number entry. Tap it several times until you see a little message that says “You are now a developer!” Once this is done, you’ll find a new Developer Options menu entry close to where About Phone was.

Note that this process may be slightly different if you have a phone that’s not running stock Android, like a Samsung or HTC device. Because hardware manufacturers customize Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More , one of the above steps may fall under a different name.

Useful Developer Options Settings

Let’s discuss the items in the DO that most people will want to check out, along with their intended development uses The Best Languages for Mobile App Development in 2016 The world of mobile app development is still going as strong as ever. If you want to get started, it's not too late! Here are the languages you should think about learning. Read More where appropriate.


1. Stay Awake

With this option enabled, your phone’s screen won’t ever turn off when it’s plugged into a charger. For developers, this is useful so you can keep an eye on your app over long periods of time, but you can also take advantage of it.

If you need to keep Twitter or a similar app open for live updates and don’t want to constantly tap the screen to keep it awake, this setting can help. Just note that if you have an AMOLED screen, you should be careful about leaving the screen on for too long to prevent burn-in. AMOLED Burn-In Can Be Avoided! And It's Easy! AMOLED burn-in can be reduced with the right tricks. This article lists the apps and options for saving AMOLED screens. Read More

2. OEM Unlocking

Unlocking your bootloader is one of the first steps to using a custom ROM on your phone 12 Reasons to Install a Custom Android ROM Think you don't need a custom Android ROM anymore? Here are several reasons to install a custom Android ROM. Read More . If the bootloader is locked, you won’t be able to get into Android’s recovery menu and install a new OS.

This setting won’t actually unlock the bootloader, but it gives the phone “permission” to do so. Thus, you probably shouldn’t enable this if you don’t plan to do any Android modding. It could help you fix a rare boot issue The Android Repair Guide to Fixing Boot Problems Is your Android phone or tablet failing to power on? Odds are good you'll be able to fix it with these simple steps. Read More , but it also makes your phone more vulnerable if a malicious person got ahold of it.


3. Running Services

In Windows, you can use Windows Task Manager 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Probably Didn't Know Here are handy Task Manager tricks every Windows user should know, including how to bring up the Task Manager quickly and more! Read More to see which processes are running. It can help you diagnose why your computer is running slowly and see which programs are using the most resources. Android doesn’t have a solid equivalent to this in the main Applications menu, but this Running Services entry is close.

Running Services lets you view how much RAM apps are using, as well as currently running apps on your phone. Don’t be too stressed out by anything here; Android does a fantastic job at managing RAM, so you don’t need to intervene.

What you can do here is check to see which apps are running processes in the background, which can help you identify battery-sucking apps. Remember that RAM boosters and task killers are absolutely terrible Why RAM Boosters and Task Killers Are Bad for Your Android At first glance, RAM boosters and task killers sound incredibly useful, but a closer look shows that they could actually be harming your phone instead. Read More , so use this menu for information only.

4. USB Debugging

Perhaps the feature that most people dive into the DO for, USB Debugging is essential for developers and useful for anyone else. We’ve explained the specifics of USB debugging What Is USB Debugging Mode on Android? Here's How to Enable It Need to allow USB Debugging on your Android? We explain how to use debugging mode for pushing commands from your PC to your phone. Read More before — its main purpose is to let you perform actions on your phone using commands on your PC. Paired up with the Android SDK on your computer, you can issue commands to your phone to install apps, collect logging information, or even root the device The Complete Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone or Tablet So, you want to root your Android device? Here's everything you need to know. Read More .


It’s certainly a useful tool, but for security 9 Ways to Protect Your Privacy on Android Android offers various privacy-friendly features, but Google doesn't always make it clear how we should use them. Let us take you through some of the best ways to protect data on your Android. Read More , the wise option is to enable this only when you need it, and turn it off afterwards. As a safety feature, Android requires you to manually approve all connections to new PCs. However, this wouldn’t prevent someone who stole your phone from using USB debugging to mess with it.

5. Select Mock Location App

It’s no secret that our phones are able to track our location, which some see as an invasion of privacy Smartphone Privacy Settings You Need To Activate Today Smartphones ship with plenty of default settings that could be leaking your info. Let's dive in and tweak them. Read More . But did you know that Android is able to report fake locations instead of real ones? This DO setting actually requires a separate app to be installed to handle mock locations, such as Fake GPS location or Fake gps – fake location.

Once it’s installed, you can use this option to make your phone report that you’re anywhere you like. Try confusing your friends into thinking that you’re in the middle of the ocean, for instance. We’ve also discussed how to play Pokemon GO on a PC How to Play Pokemon GO on Your Windows PC Playing Pokemon GO in the wild can be dangerous. We'll show you how to catch Pokemons from home, using your Windows PC and free tools. Read More using an Android emulator and mock locations.

6. Cellular Data Always Active

By default, when your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it stops the connection to mobile data. This makes sense, because being on Wi-Fi saves data 8 Useful Tips to Reduce Mobile Data Usage and Save Money Want to get the most out of your mobile data plan? These apps and tricks can help you squeeze out every last megabyte. Read More and is faster than a 3G connection. By enabling this option, however, you can keep mobile data live in the background all the time.


This is not recommended for those on a limited data plan, but if you experience issues with your phone taking a long time to switch between Wi-Fi and data, it might be worth a try.

7. Disable Absolute Volume

Here’s an interesting case of a setting that came directly out of user feedback. Some Bluetooth speakers or devices might have issues working with Android’s volume control. Normally, changing the volume on your phone should change the volume of the Bluetooth device. Some devices don’t work with this feature, or have the volume become extremely quiet or super loud.

If you’ve experienced this problem with your devices, try enabling this setting. Otherwise, you should leave it turned off for normal functionality.

8. Show Taps

When this option is enabled, a small circle appears on-screen wherever your finger touches. This can be useful in two situations. The first is as an accessibility feature Accessibility on Android: Make Your Device Easier to Use Android includes features to make sure that everyone can enjoy their phone. Even if you aren't disabled, the Accessibility menu holds some neat tricks to look into. Read More — those who have difficulty with precise motion might appreciate having feedback of where they’re touching.

Having these circles is also useful if you’re creating a video, as viewers will be able to see exactly where you’re touching.

9. Animation Scales

Depending on how fast your phone is, you might not notice them, but Android plays animations when opening or switching between apps. Using the Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale, you can adjust how long these transitions take.

You can set each of these animations to be double the default speed, anywhere up to ten times as long, or completely off. You’ll probably notice a difference no matter which speed you pick, so if you’d like to make your device feel a bit snappier How to Make Android Faster: What Works and What Doesn't If your Android device doesn't feel as fast as it once was, try these tweaks to get it running faster (plus common "tips" to avoid). Read More , try reducing the animation time.

Note that depending on how speedy your device is, these animations might act to mask some hidden loading times when switching between apps, so it might be best to leave them alone if your phone seems sluggish.

10. Don’t Keep Activities

We’re including this one as more of an educational tool 7 Best Educational Apps For Android To Learn Something New A free education is actually readily available on Android. Let's run through all the best apps for learning new things! Read More than anything else. When you enable this option, Android will destroy every app’s process as soon as you leave it. Developers can use this to test how their app behaves under different circumstances, and we can use it to see how awful task killers are.

Task killers destroy processes running in the background — processes that Android is using to make sure you can switch back to other apps quickly. This ends up forcing your phone to do more work stopping and starting the process than it would if you had just left it alone.

Don’t enable this setting unless you really want to experience the awful performance this brings for a few minutes!

Developer for a Day

There are plenty of other settings in the Developer Options, but most of them don’t have any use for those who aren’t developing Android apps. It’s awesome that Google provides these tools for developers who would otherwise have to jump through a lot of hoops to re-create certain conditions. Neatly, many of the settings still have use for the average user, as we’ve seen.

Looking to become an Android app developer? Check out the best YouTube videos on the subject 6 Awesome YouTube Videos To Help You Learn Android Development Want to learn how to develop Android apps? Then these YouTube videos are perfect for you. Read More .

Which Developer Options do you use on your own phone? If you have questions on any of the other settings, leave them down in the comments and let’s talk!

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  1. Lorenzo Hernandez
    January 12, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I would like the log buffer size explained and if adjusting it would increase performance.

    • Christina Malleo
      May 20, 2019 at 5:09 am

      I can't thank you enough for the dev info fix for headset volume! I have struggled with this issue since Pixel 1. I was just about to send my 3XL back.
      There are plenty of people with this issue. I'm baffled as to why Google doesn't provide the fix! Hugs!!!

  2. Samantha
    September 27, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    I'm hoping you can educate me on how to properly use usb debugging, and get a better understanding on what developer options would benefit me and how to execute them properly. I'm concerned with the security of my phone. I'm worried that someone has put Spyware on my phone, if i used my computer for the usb debugging option would it detect anything? Also I really want to know what apps are factory and are sapose to be on my phone, because Spyware uses fake names to fool people.
    My battery dies more than once a day and on battery monitoring things it says that I have videos running like 9 hours in a row as well as audio recording.
    Please help me ?

    • Ben Stegner
      September 29, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      If you're worried about spyware on your phone, I would recommend running an anti-malware scan with Malwarebytes:

      Is your phone rooted? Do you download apps from anywhere outside of Google Play? If neither of those are true, I doubt that your phone is infected. If Malwarebytes doesn't find anything, I would suggest a factory reset of your phone to be sure. Have you reviewed your apps list for anything suspect?

  3. Mark
    January 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I have a galaxy express 3 that doesn't have Miracast. I would like to know that if I turn on the authorize wireless display will my phone be able to Miracast