How to Use USB Debugging on an Android Phone

By James T Wood

Identifying or troubleshooting the errors that occur in Android applications requires that you use a feature known as USB Debugging. This debugging mode is designed to work with the Android Software Developer's Kit (SDK) to isolate problems when testing new software for Android phones. To use the Android SDK, you'll need to download and install the Java SDK because it runs on the Java platform.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cable

Step 1

Download "Java for Developers" from the Downloads section of Oracle.com. Double-click on the downloaded file to install the software on your computer.

Step 2

Navigate to Developer.android.com and download the Android SDK. Double-click on the downloaded file to install the software. When prompted, choose "Accept All" and download any available software updates for the SDK. Downloading and installing these files will take several minutes.

Step 3

Press the "Home" icon button on the Android phone that you want to debug. Press the "List" icon button and then tap "Settings" on the screen. Press "Applications" and then "Development." Tap the box next to "USB Debugging" to enable it. A green checkmark will appear in the box when debugging is active.

Step 4

Connect the Android phone to your computer using the USB data cable supplied with the phone. Open the folder in which you installed the Android SDK; it will typically be in "C:/Program Files/Android/android-sdk/" if you accepted the defaults during installation. Double-click on the "Tools" folder and then double-click on the "DDMS.BAT" file to launch the Dalvik Debug Monitor Server.