Developer options tips and tricks: make the most of Android

The developer options may have been designed for the pros but that doesn’t mean the average user can’t take advantage of them. This article contains device tips usually hidden in that section, which can help improve both the look and feel of your smartphone. These are our favorite developer options tips and tricks.

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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 > System > About phone, then 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 (woo hoo). Now, return to the regular settings menu and scroll to the bottom. Somewhere above About phone in the system settings, you will see Developer options.

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.

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Keep the screen always on when 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.

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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 quickly but if you’re okay with that, say hello to smoother, less-laggy graphics. Nice. 

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Optimize graphical performance with MSAA. / © AndroidPIT

4. Set the speed of the system animations (for a speed increase, kinda)

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. 

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Set the speed of the system 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.

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.

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

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