Android developer options: what they are for and what should active

All about Android developer options. Guide to get the best out of Android Developer android feature.

Android has many options to configure the mobile to our desires. Android developer option is one of the best options to configure some advanced settings. We can go to settings and there scroll down the screen, there is also an advanced section called android “developer options“. In this hidden menu, we have a long list of adjustments that many times go unnoticed but can help us in several situations.

You may also interested to read: How to prevent apps from updating alone on Android.

How to access developer options on Android?
How to disable developer options in Android?
Main android developer options
Debug Developer Options
Network Developer Options
Android developer options on pointers, animations, and drawing
Android developer Options for Hardware Accelerated Rendering
Media Developer and Monitoring Options
Application Developer Options

How to access developer options on Android?

The first step is to access developer options by going to Settings> Device information and pressing the build number seven times. Once we click repeatedly we will get a message of “You are now a developer!“. Then simply go back and in the list of settings will appear at the end this new section called Developer Options.

Keep in mind that developer options in Android depend on the Android OS versions (Android 6, Android 5.1, Android 4.4, etc.), not on phone manufacturer (note 3, 4, 5, Moto g, HTC, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy, etc.). For example, I share the images of Huawei developer options (Huawei GR5 2017) with android OS 7.0 Nougat.

How to disable developer options in Android?

Once you enable developer options on Android, you can’t disable it, except you reboot your android phone to go back to its initial settings. However, you won’t require disabling or turning off developer options for Android as these settings open the window of useful and awesome features.

The question that we will try to solve here is what all Android developer options are for and what their function is. A list to try to quickly discern what we can be useful and understand all the possibilities we have in our Android, whatever the manufacturer.

Main android developer options

Main developer options android

Take bug report

This option can be used in two ways, but both for the same purpose: an interactive report and a full one. It is too elaborate a document of text with much information that shows the general operation of the mobile and it allows knowing if something is failing. Very useful when we have a problem and we want to share information in some forum or web for us to solve it.

Desktop Backup password

If we connect our Android to the PC and we have activated the USB debugging, we can through ADB commands make a backup of our Android. Through this option, we can also create a password for that backup to be encrypted and only accessible by us.

Stay awake

A very clear choice. If we activate it the screen will never go into rest while we are loading, very useful if for example we see a movie from the mobile or the tablet and we do not want it to go out.

Enable Bluetooth HCI snoop log

Through here we can enable HCI snoop log via Bluetooth. A developer or security expert can analyze the Bluetooth HCI (Host Controller Interface) with this option. If it is activated a package is generated in the device in the path (/sdcard/btsnoop_hci.log) and from there with tools like Wireshark can be analyzed.

Enable OEM unlock

If you want to remove the protection of your Android this option you must activate. In some mobiles the bootloader is already unlocked, in the rest through here we can do it and then the anti-theft protection will be removed, which allows us, among other things, to root the mobile.

Image Color Mode

An option to activate the RGB mode is added to the AMOLED screens. This is a very common way of calibrating the screen that provides different tones; In general less saturated, but also somewhat more muted.

Running services

This option sends us to a section where the memory of the device is displayed, which occupy the applications and the active processes in each moment. You can also see the applications that are in cache and how much they occupy. An essential section to control all the resources consumed.

Webview implementation

Webview is that process that allows applications to have an internal browser to connect to the internet. Before it was an application of its own but from Android 7.0 Nougat is the Chrome app itself that acts as web view. From this setting, we can decide which the default application for it is.

Enable Multi-process Webview

Android claims that this option is enabled by default in the future. From Android Nougat, allows Webview to be a multi-process and manage the memory more efficiently.

Automatic System Updates

If we activate this option, the system itself will look for new updates and, we will directly skip the notice to update. If we do not have it activated we must press each time to check for new versions.

Demonstration mode

With this option, we can activate the demonstration mode. It is handy to take screenshots always showing the same status bar, clean notifications, with the network to maximum coverage and battery to the maximum.

Debug Android Developer Options

Debug Android Developer Options

Android USB debugging mode

What is USB debugging mode?

USB debugging is essential to access from the computer once the Android SDK is installed. If we want to exchange data between the PC and our mobile or we want to configure it, we must do it with this option activated.

How to enable Android USB debugging mode?

Many of us asking how to enable Android USB debugging mode, USB debugging is the option to enable it. Just tap on the button beside “USB debugging” to activate it.

Revoke USB debugging authorizations

Let Google explore the applications you have installed through ADB or ADT and see if they can be harmful. An additional layer of security comes in handy in case we install applications that way.

Logger buffer size

From 64KB up to 16MB, in the development options, we can set the size for java. The usual 32Kb, but it depends a lot on the architecture of the CPU of the device. If we set a very large buffer, we will notice a greater latency between the sound when we speak and when it is received, but it will also consume less.

Increase the readability under sunlight

It is an option to improve the contrast and that the letters are better defined when direct light strikes. Although in most tests the results are quite unsatisfactory.

Network Android Developer Options

Network Developer Options Android

Enable Wi-Fi verbose logging

Through a logcat, if we have enabled that option a developer can access much more precise information about what is using the Wi-Fi. We do not recommend enabling it unless you are using it.

Aggressive Wi-Fi to mobile handover

If we enable this option, when we have bad Wi-Fi coverage will be automatically passed to the mobile data. With this, we will win on the battery, as you will not have to constantly look for WiFi and you will also have to disconnect the Wi-Fi when leaving the house. On the other hand, we can take some surprise with the data, since we can connect to them and we thought we were under WiFi.

Always allow Wi-Fi roaming scans

Imagine that we have two WiFi accesses with the same name, but one of them has a better signal than the other. This option will allow mobile access to the SSID that most interests us at any time. Although, of course, we will see a slight increase in the consumption of the battery when looking for less and less time.

Mobile data always active

When we activate the WiFi, the mobile data is deactivated to not spend or consume battery. With this option, the data will remain active in the background and what we gain is that when the WiFi disappears, the change will be much faster since it will already be active.

Select USB configuration

When connecting the USB to the computer we can do it in different ways. From here we will choose them. We only have a load, Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), Image Transfer Protocol (PTP), RNDIS (USB Ethernet), Audio and MIDI. The most common are the loading mode or if we want to transfer files the usual is to use MTP and turn our mobile into a multimedia device.

Disable absolute volume

If we connect a Bluetooth headset and want to control the volume independently, we should activate this function. We eliminate the maximum volume that in some cases is very annoying. Android 6.0 gave problems, but in Nougat 7.0 was corrected.

Android developer options on pointers, animations, and drawing

Android developer options on pointers, animations, and drawing

Show touches

Let’s go to the settings that modify what is displayed on the screen and how it is done. The first one is to show punters if it is activated each time we press the screen will appear a small circle that marks where we have clicked. Minimalist and only lasts a few seconds.

Pointer location

Another setting to show the location of our ringtones, but this is much more complete. It will leave us marked on the screen all the way to our last touch gesture, with the coordinates and even with the pressure executed.

Show screen updates

We do not realize it, but the screen of our mobile is updated constantly. If this option is on, it will turn on every time it changes, with a very flashy pink flicker. It is only recommended if we want to know when the screen is active and the content has changed.

Show layout bounds

Very curious. The activation will show the edges of each item on the screen. With this, we will know to what extent that section and the limits where our touch will be activated. Provides sufficient information on how mobile menus are distributed.

Window animation scale

With the arrival of Material Design to Android animations play a very important role. They are a key element to give a sense of fluency or show surprising and effective transitions. Here we can configure the speed at which windows and menus are opened, from disabling so that there is no animation or 10x so that the effect is noticed and see that effect of curtain or enlargement.

Transition animation scale

A similar effect, but at the time of the change of screens. If we put a lower speed, the change will be immediate, if we choose a longer animation time when we change we will notice the animation more and we will even be able to appreciate how the windows appear little by little.

Animator duration scale

In this section, we establish the speed at which the various elements of a menu are loaded. If we choose a shorter time, everything will appear instantly. If we choose a higher time, the animations will lengthen and everything will be shown step by step.

Simulate secondary displays

With this setting, we can choose to simulate screens of various resolutions, from 480p to 4K. We will see a small floating window that will repeat what is shown on our mobile, but in that new resolution. There is also the option of displaying a dual-screen at 720p and 1080p.

Smallest width

A very useful and recommended option. From here we can modify the Android DPI and resize what is shown. This is especially useful if we have a tablet and want more information to be displayed.

Android developer Options for Hardware-Accelerated Rendering

Android Developer Options for Hardware Accelerated Rendering

Android Force GPU rendering

If we want to know what force GPU rendering is, first we need to understand what GPU is. GPU is the graphic processor unit. With this option, we force to render 2D elements in all the applications, although they do not do it by default. It is a double-edged sword since in some points it improves the performance and the quality of what is shown but at other times it gives problems.

Show GPU view updates

With this setting, each screen that is using the GPU will receive a red layer. Basically, we will use it to know when the graph of our hardware is being used.

Show hardware layers updates

Just as before we had an option to know when the screen was being updated, with this option we will know when the hardware layers are active.

Debug GPU overdraw

There are some applications that have the ability to display information on top of others. With this option, we can choose to show us when this happens to know if the behavior is normal or if they are overlapping incorrectly.

Debug non-rectangular clip operations

A very technical section. Better to go to StackExchange, but we understand that it is an option to help developers create better-defined areas.

Force 4x MSAA

If you have a high-end mobile this adjustment may be a good idea. Forcing the multi-sample anti-aliasing improves the rendering of games and images in OpenGL ES 2.0 and all will be seen with better graphics. On the contrary, the yield will decrease in proportion.

Disable HW overlays

With hardware overlays activated each application has its own portion of memory if we disable it will cause the mobile to go significantly slower. Mainly a debugging option for developers.

Simulate color space

Through this option, we can configure our Android to fit any vision problem. We do not talk about accessibility issues since that is configured from another menu. This option is for developers to see how people with these problems would see their application: from Monochromacy, Protanomaly (red-green) and Deuteranomaly (red-green) or Tritanomaly (blue-yellow).

Media Developer and Monitoring Options

Media Developer and Monitoring Options

Disable USB audio routing

From Android 5.0 Lollipop we have the possibility of USB audio and connect through this way devices such as amplifiers, microphones, speakers, or mixers. From here we can disable it.

Strict mode enabled

The first option of monitoring, we will receive a warning on the screen when the applications are realizing applications that are extended in the time. Useful for developers to know if everything works properly.

Show CPU Usage

Activating this setting will show the CPU usage in the upper corner. We see three numbers: the first represents the charge at the last minute, the second in the last five, and the third in the last fifteen. Useful for applications that are over-consuming.

Profile GPU rendering

Similar to the previous one, but it shows through bars the use of the GPU. It is updated in real-time, but when occupying so much screen becomes uncomfortable if you are not going to use that information for something concrete.

Application Developer Options

Application Android Developer Options

Don’t keep activities

The Android system itself is already in charge of closing and managing applications in the background. When we switch between applications, they stay in the background waiting to be opened again. If we enable this option, the system will be much more aggressive and will consider the applications closed upon exiting.

Background Process Limit

If you want to close Android applications and do not continue running in the background you must go to this setting. Here you can determine how many processes will be managed. We have the usual limitations that is recommended, going through remove all process until you have four apps at a time.

Show all ANRs

You will see an “application does not respond” message every time something fails. Most applications are created to share all kinds of resources, but sometimes some overlap with others and do not manage the energy well, then it is when we will see this message that does not have to be that the application fails at all.

Inactive apps

Clicking takes us to a screen where it shows a list of all our applications, those that we have active and those that the own Android has left inactive because we have not used them in a while.

Forced allow apps on external storage

Since the Android 7.0 Nougat version, you can force the applications to be installed in the SD memory. And it is very effective, more than 90% of the apps can be installed completely in the SD. Except for some system applications or messaging like WhatsApp, almost all applications will be able to be transferred to the card to free up space. Very useful if you have a new and updated mobile but with little internal memory.

Force activities to be re-sizable

We ended up with another feature available on Android Nougat. It is related to the Android multi-screen. With this setting, we will force all applications to adapt to the split-screen, even if they are not a prior configured or optimized to operate in that way. We will need to restart the device to activate, although we recommend taking care as some can give all kinds of problems.

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