The 15 Best Android Developer Options Worth Tweaking

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The 15 Best Android Developer Options Worth Tweaking

Android has a plethora of changes in its main Settings app, as well as settings panels in individual applications. However, did you realize that the Developer settings menu conceals extra tools that you may try?

The Developer options section of Settings is hidden by default, but it’s simple to discover and explore. Let’s take a look at the greatest Android Developer solutions you should consider.

How to Access Developer Options in Android

By default, Android conceals the Developer options menu. Because the choices aren’t required for typical usage, novice users aren’t tempted to change settings that might ruin their experience.

While we’ll explain each option as we go, keep an eye on what you tap in this menu. Accidentally adjusting some parameters may result in performance difficulties.

To access Developer options, go to Settings and scroll down to the About phone area at the bottom. Tap here, and you should see the Build Number item at the bottom of the ensuing page. Tap it a few times till you get the message You are now a developer!

After that, return to the main Settings page and choose the System option. If you expand the Advanced area (as needed), you’ll see a new Developer options menu item.

For this list, we utilized a Pixel 4 running Android 12. Keep in mind that if you have a phone from another manufacturer or use a different version of Android, this procedure (as well as the items in the menu and their names) may alter. Google also modifies the settings in the Developer options menu from time to time, so what’s here today may go in the future.

What are the greatest Developer choices to use now that you’ve accessed this menu? Because they are designed for software engineers, not every choice is applicable to the ordinary user. Let’s have a look at the most helpful options.

1. Stay Awake

When you activate this option, your phone’s screen will remain illuminated when hooked into a charger. This is helpful for developers to keep an eye on their apps over lengthy periods of time, but it can also be used by regular users.

If you need to keep Twitter or a similar app open for live updates but don’t want to continually touching the screen, this option may assist. Just keep in mind that if you have an AMOLED screen, you should avoid keeping it on for too long to avoid screen burn-in.

2. OEM Unlocking

As you may know, most Android smartphones allow you to install a custom ROM, which replaces the original operating system with a new one. You must first unlock your bootloader in order to do so. The flashing procedure, which overwrites the present OS, will fail if this is not done.

It is important to note that activating this option does not unlock the bootloader; rather, it allows the phone to do so later via fastboot instructions. As a result, unless you intend to install a custom ROM on your device, you should not enable this. Turning it on makes your phone more susceptible.

3. Running Services

To evaluate current processes in Windows, utilize the Windows Task Manager. There isn’t an app for this on Android, however this Developer options item comes close. Running Services displays how much RAM the currently running programs are utilizing. Tap one to learn more about its existing procedures and offerings.

While this is important information, you should not be concerned about anything you see here. Android handles RAM well on its own, so you shouldn’t need to meddle.

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We urge that you only use this material for research purposes. If it seems that applications are regularly using too much RAM, learn how to correctly manage memory on your Android phone.

4. USB Debugging

Without including USB debugging, no collection of Android Developer options tips would be complete. It is necessary for developers and beneficial to everyone else.

USB debugging allows your Android device to communicate with your computer by issuing commands. When combined with the Android SDK on your computer, you may send instructions to your phone to install applications, gather logging data, or even root it. For additional information, see our detailed description of USB debugging.

It’s a really useful feature. However, in order to maintain security, you should only activate this option when necessary and then turn it off.

To ensure your safety, Android needs you to manually accept any USB debugging connections to new PCs. Someone who took your phone when it was enabled for USB debugging could still meddle with it by authorizing the connection to their own PC. To reset any computers you’ve previously trusted, press the Revoke USB debugging authorizations option underneath the slider.

5. Feature Flags

You may be familiar with the phrase “flags” from other Google programs, such as Google Chrome. They are experimental features that Google may or may not include in future stable editions. These features for Android may be found in the Feature Flags menu.

This menu was empty on our Pixel 4 running Android 12 at the time of writing. More choices may appear here at various times, particularly if you’re using a beta version of Android. Take a check every now and then to see if there’s anything new you’d want to try.

6. Force Peak Refresh Rate

Some recent Android smartphones, such as the Pixel 6 series, feature displays that can produce at high refresh rates. Historically, most phones utilized 60Hz as the standard frequency, however this is changing as smartphones get more powerful.

If your phone dynamically changes refresh rates depending on particular parameters, such as recent Pixel smartphones, you may use this option to set it to always utilize the high refresh rate. However, keep in mind that this will increase power usage.

If you want to know what refresh rate your phone is presently using, activate Show refresh rate to show it on the screen all the time.

7. Mobile Data Always Active

With this option enabled, your phone will keep its mobile data connection active even while connected to a Wi-Fi network. It does so to speed up network switching, which is useful if you often switch between the two.

It is up to you whether you should utilize this. Using mobile data in the background may drain your battery faster, particularly if you’re in a bad coverage location. In such circumstances, you may wish to disable the Developer option.

If you utilize Wi-Fi Calling, however, you should leave this enabled. Calls will drop if you switch network types without it.

Also, if you often send photo messages over MMS, you should not turn this off since MMS does not operate on Wi-Fi for certain carriers. It’s preferable to keep it turned on and just turn it off if you really need more battery life.

8. Default USB Configuration

When connected to a computer via USB, Android offers multiple modes. It will only charge your smartphone by default, and you must pick a data transmission option each time you connect, which gets laborious if you connect often.

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Select a default mode, such as PTP, USB tethering, or others, using this option. However, for optimal security, you should leave this alone.

9. Disable Absolute Volume

Absolute Bluetooth volume is enabled by default on Android, which means that the volume controls on your phone and Bluetooth device regulate the same volume level. This is often handy, however it might create issues with certain Bluetooth devices.

When you turn off absolute volume (by activating this slider), your phone volume and the Bluetooth device will utilize distinct volume levels. If your Bluetooth device’s volume isn’t working correctly with your phone, or if it’s unusually loud or silent, try this. Using absolute volume disabled, you may set your Bluetooth device’s volume to an acceptable level and then fine-tune it with your phone’s volume keys.

Absolute volume adjustments may require you to detach and rejoin any Bluetooth devices, or even reset your phone.

10. Show Taps and Pointer Location

This set of choices allows you to view additional information about what you’re touching on your phone. When you activate Show Taps, a little circle shows on the screen where your finger taps. This is helpful in two scenarios.

The first is for accessibility—those who struggle with precise movements may benefit from visual input on where they’re touching. These circles are especially handy if you’re doing a screencast, such as a tutorial, from your phone. They allow viewers to see precisely where you’re touching.

Enabling Pointer position may provide additional touch data. This will display lines on the screen that reflect where you’ve touched, as well as statistics about your inputs at the top of the screen. This might come in handy if you’re trying to figure out why a portion of your Android screen isn’t functioning.

11. Animation Scales

You may not see them depending on how quick your phone is, but Android uses animations when launching or moving between applications. You may change the length of these transitions by using the Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale.

If you want to make your Android smartphone seem faster, try setting them to 1.5x the default speed (or greater). However, depending on how fast your smartphone is, these animations may serve to conceal some hidden loading times while moving between applications. As a result, if your phone seems cumbersome after speeding them up, it’s better to adjust them back to normal.

12. Override Force-Dark

Android has had a system-wide dark mode since Android 10 was released. If you enable it in Settings > Display > Dark theme, suitable applications should show in dark mode as well—though not all apps support this currently. Enabling this slider forces all programs to utilize dark mode, which is useful if you dislike bright settings.

However, keep in mind that outcomes may vary. Some applications, for example, continue to utilize bright components or feature text that is difficult to see on a dark backdrop. Give it a go and see how your favorite applications appear.

13. Don’t Keep Activities

This Android Developer option is provided as an instructional example. When you activate this slider, Android will kill all app processes as soon as you exit them. Developers may use this to observe how their app works under various conditions, and we can use it to demonstrate why you shouldn’t dismiss applications on your Android smartphone all the time.

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Closing applications manually or using a task killer on a regular basis removes background processes—processes that Android maintains alive to ensure you can go back to other apps fast. This forces your phone to perform more work (stopping and restarting the process) than if you had just left it alone.

You may activate this option if you want to experience the terrible performance that killing every program delivers, but you should not leave it on once you’ve tested it.

14. Standby Apps

Modern Android versions keep note of which applications you use the most often, enabling your phone to assign resources to apps based on how much time you spend on them.

This normally occurs in the background, but if you want to see what frequency your phone has allocated to each app or modify it, access this option. You’ll see one of multiple numbers next to each program, and you may touch any item to change its settings.

The settings are:

  • Active: Apps that you are now using or have recently used. Background use is not restricted in these programs.
  • Working Set: The app is often used, however it is not presently operating. These are often applications that you use on a regular basis. Android imposes a few modest constraints on them.
  • Frequent: Any app that you use often but not on a daily basis. This includes applications that you run on a regular basis throughout the week. They are subject to further limitations than those listed above.
  • Apps that you seldom use, such as those that you exclusively use in certain areas, are considered rare. Android imposes several limitations on certain applications.
  • Restricted: The software consumes a lot of resources, is seldom used, or behaves suspiciously.

If you’ve disabled Android’s Doze optimization for any applications, you’ll see that they’re grayed out and have the Exempt status.

There’s also a Never option that only applies to applications you’ve installed but never used. Android bans these applications the most of any category.

15. Select Mock Location App

It’s no secret that our phones monitor our whereabouts on a daily basis, which creates privacy issues. But did you know that Android may report false locations instead of your actual location? This option requires the installation of an additional program capable of creating mimic places, such as Location Changer.

Once you’ve installed the app and chosen the Developer option, you can use it to make your phone claim that you’re wherever you want. Keep in mind, though, that this simply spoofs GPS coordinates; applications and websites may discover your true location using other data points, such as your IP address. You may want to utilize a VPN on Android to further obscure this information.

The Best Android Developer Options for Everyone

Other choices are available in the Developer options menu, although most of them are worthless unless you’re building Android applications. It’s fantastic that Google makes these tools available to developers, who would otherwise have to jump through a lot of hoops to duplicate particular scenarios.

Even better, as we’ve seen, many of these Developer features are still useful to the general user. Try them out immediately to get the most out of your Android phone.

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