USB debugging

This feature enables access to certain debugging (and other) functionality from a computer connected via USB.

Some PC-based tools which wish to be able to access your Android device may require the USB debugging option to be enabled on your device.

One such tool is adb, the Android Debug Bridge. This is a debugging tool available for Android developers to perform various functions on their Android device from a computer while it is connected via USB, primarily to install software directly onto the device for testing.

Security implications

Enabling USB debugging allows for potentially dangerous actions to be performed on your device via its USB port. These include but are not limited to:

  • Installing or uninstalling apps
  • Deleting data from apps
  • Changing which app permissions are enforced

The potential impact of these actions may be limited by the fact that your device needs to be physically connected via USB for these actions to be performed on it, and your device may warn you when an action is going to occur.

When USB debugging is enabled, be careful about connecting your phone to the computer while using software on the computer that you do not trust.

While enabled, you can use the Verify apps over USB setting to control whether to let Google inspect apps installed over USB for possible harmful behavior.

When not using USB debugging it is safe to leave the option switched off.