We use cookies on our websites. Information about cookies and how you can object to the use of cookies at any time or end their use can be found in our privacy policy.

6 min read 19 comments

Developer options tips and tricks: make the most of Android

Update: More tips and tricks!

If you are not tech-savvy, using the developer options on your Android device might seem intimidating. However, there are many options which the average user can take advantage of easily. This is why this article contains tips on how to get the most out of this hidden section - to help you improve both the look and feel of your smartphone. These are our favorite developer options tips and tricks.

Jump to:

Enable/Disable developer options

The first step toward developer options heaven is to actually enable them. To do this, go to Settings > About phone or Settings > About > Software information > More. Scroll to Build number and tap it seven times in a row.

By doing so, you will be notified that you have become a developer. You can then return to the settings menu and scroll to the bottom. You should be able to find the Developer options somewhere above About or About phone in the system settings.

Untitled
Tap Build number 7 times to unlock developer options. / © AndroidPIT

If you change your mind and want to disable the developer options, just open them in the settings and you'll see a simple on/off toggle in the upper right corner.

1. Stay awake (so your display stays on while charging)

By enabling this option, your display will remain active whenever your device is charging. This, naturally, means your battery life is not threatened and if the display requires your frequent attention, it can be very useful. 

To lock the device, you will need to use the physical power button.

Screenshot 20181124 155626
With this developer option you can keep your screen awake while charging. / © AndroidPIT

2. Limit background apps (for faster performance)

This setting lets you select the number of apps which remain running in the background. The limit caps at four apps, but you can choose to have no background apps running at all, if you wish.

With zero background processes, all of your applications will be terminated after use, which means whatever you're doing currently will receive Android's full attention and resources. This does mean, however, that switching apps will be slower.

Screenshot 20181124 161318
Limit processing your device carries out for background services. / © AndroidPIT

3. Force MSAA 4x (for better gaming graphics)

Enabling 4x MSAA improves the quality of graphics in games and OpenGL ES 2.0 applications. This requires more processing power and consumes battery more quickl,y but if you're okay with that, say hello to smoother, less-laggy graphics. Nice!

Screenshot 20181124 160635
Optimize graphical performance with MSAA. / © AndroidPIT

4. Set the speed of the system animations

Okay, this trick doesn't actually speed up your device, but it's a great way to trick your brain into thinking your device became faster.

Disable all of the device animations so that there is no transition effect when doing certain tasks (such as swiping between homescreens). The outcome is a device which feels quicker and smoother. Try it. 

Screenshot 20181124 160317
Disable or change animations. / © AndroidPIT

5. Aggressive data handover (for faster internet, sort of) 

This doesn't speed up your mobile data per se, but it does speed up how fast mobile data is adopted after a Wi-Fi signal is dropped. This setting can be a little dangerous if you don't have a huge amount of mobile data to spare, because it means you device will be quicker to access it. Think twice before enabling it.

For example, your Wi-Fi signal may drop momentarily – as Wi-Fi signals tend to do – and your phone will immediately swap to mobile data, even if the Wi-Fi signal returns quickly. 

If you never run over your mobile data limit, enable this setting and whenever you leave home or the office, you'll see your device switch to mobile data faster once you're out of reach of Wi-Fi. To make the effect even more pronounced, enable mobile data always active, too.

wifi
Speed up the transition between Wi-Fi and mobile data networks. / © AndroidPIT

6. Check running services

The Running services option is very similar to Task Manager on a Windows PC. It allows you to see what processes are currently running on your smartphone, how much RAM is in use and what apps are using it. The listed applications are ordered by their memory usage.

When you tap on an app, you can also see the specific processes and services it's using. This allows you to kill RAM-hungry apps, which you are not actively using (don't do this with system apps). However, we don't recommend terminating a single app process without stopping the app itself, since it can cause crashes and functionality issues.

running services
Very similar to Task manager on PC. / © AndroidPIT

7. Mock location

Tired of YouTube videos that are not available in your region? There are multiple apps on Google Play which allow you to spoof your location. Pick an app of your choice - one of the most popular ones is Fake GPS location, and install it. Then head to the developer options and find the Select mock location app option. When tapped it should display the location spoof app you just installed. Select it and then open the app to choose where you want to be 'transported'. All that's left to do after is to enjoy your media without region locks.

mock location
One of the most useful developer options for beginners. / © AndroidPIT

8. Split screen

Split screen was first introduced on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The feature divides the screen into two, allowing users to have 2 apps displayed simultaneously. It's useful now more than ever - smartphone screens get bigger and bigger every year.

Not all apps support split screen, but you can change that via the developer options. Find the Force activities to be resizable option and tick it. You will need to restart your Android device for it to take effect. It should work with most applications, but it's not a flawless method, so expect some app crashes and issues.

resizeable
CAPTION – REPLACE ME! / © AndroidPIT

9. Ringtone with Bluetooth headphones

As Bluetooth and wireless headphones become more popular, this a small but useful feature you can find in the developer options. By default, when using Bluetooth headphones, you hear a generic ringtone when you get a call. If you want to hear your actual ringtone and avoid confusion when listening to music or radio, you can enable this in the developer options by ticking Enable in-band ringing.

bluetooth
Just tick the Enable in-band ringing option. / © AndroidPIT

We recommend that you do not enable the sections of the developer options that you do not fully understand. None of them are irreversible but their effects can be negative in the short term. If you leave a setting enabled and forget about it, your device might act in a way which consumes lots of battery life or data. Be careful. 

What's your favorite setting in the developer options? Let us know in the comments below.

19 comments

Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • Hi,

    I'm having trouble with this. It already says I'm a developer however the developers option is not showing up in my settings. I'm using a Huawei Nova 3i. Please help. Thank you


  • thankyou sir,,,,


  • thankyou for these tips sir


  • Thanks for the rundown, I missed it first time around. I much prefer using an app like Greenify to control specific apps, as opposed to trying to limit the number of processes in D Options not knowing what's being affected. I've found a few screen transitions jam with the three animation settings at 0.0, but no problems if that tick of time is set at 0.5. I keep thinking split screen in a new Nougat tablet might offer new joys and productivity, but haven't got into it yet.


  • Dan M 5 months ago Link to comment

    Best ones are the animations and the force 4x. Set animations all to off and enable 4x. Makes a huge difference!


  • That's a useful post for me thanks! for sharing these insights


  • I don't play with developer option. I only turn it on when I want to change my phone location which I will later turn it off. The bottom line is be careful with that setting on your phone because it's not for novice.


  • Developers options is no joke, you have to be careful in what you do here. Limiting background apps will decrease your phones multitasking ability, animations adjustment can be tricky, and done wrong will make things like unexpected responses, jitter, and can outpace the display, if adjusted foolishly(you really have to find the right setting for your display). This article is kinda generic, and just touches on things you shouldn't touch(alternately, even the things in the article that can be adjusted wrong with consequences). I could see someone messing with the background processing limit, which no one knows what the standard limit is(the best answer seems to be mfgr related to memory), and turning on "don't keep activities", at the same time(I'd rather use a app like l speed and adjust the min free settings, but that's really risky, ya gotta know what your phone's memory can handle) fun! There should be more caution in this post, and there should be a whole paragraph on reading up on what these setting mean. I've been modding my phones since 2009, and yes, I had to learn the hard way(never lost a phone though), from gingerbread to nougat( no custom Oreo rom for my phone yet). Oh, and one more thing, rookies should not touch development tools, until they get some experience, and education in what they are about, even I hardly ever go there, and I know what's up with that! Be careful investigate/read.


    • Perfectly worded most people just say don't touch it but you instead say educate yourself before diving in . I miss the gingerbread days I started with a froyo all the way to my Galaxy with it's Oreo. My daily driver is my Nvidia shield k1 with nougat which I enjoy but for something from Nvidia and the price is very disappointing. Shield tv pro is really cool and good to have minus the fact the k1 tablet has gamepad mapping but the shield tv doesn't but sideloaded emulators work pretty well even psx and ppsspp like a dream. So guess all's not too bad but the tablet was a let down with constant dragging.


  • How do I disable the developer option


    • If you change your mind and want to disable the developer options, just open them in the settings and you'll see a simple on/off toggle in the upper right corner.


  • Thank you nice stuff , I have used some of these before but there's so many. Is there a complete run down on what all of them do some where. If not to use but learn a little something and better understand what not to touch.


  • Dear team, you seem to be doing some great work and in really vast scales! Such warm words! Try launching a blog for all marketing-inclined people and get success! You can hire professional web-developers and get promoted with marketing company - create cool stories, useful articles and share experiences locally! And just think about meetups you would hold! Think of it! :)


  • andy May 22, 2016 Link to comment

    The worst one that you can enable ,and you'd think it would do just what it says is (don't keep activates ) this will mess around with all you apps like ebay /amazon ie if you look at something 40 items down to check the size or what ever click on it ,when you back up you will end up at the top of the page or were you started ,bloody annoying if you looking for a tv stand 😒😂😂


  •   18
    Deactivated Account May 2, 2016 Link to comment

    Really nice article. Useful tips.


  • I'm using a lot of these tips a pretty kong time; they are really wery useful. Thanks for post!


  • Alex May 2, 2016 Link to comment

    Its so useful!!But millions of people already knew this!Including me!!!Anyways thanks for posting!


  • Rom for Xperia T3?please please please


  • Thanks!