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Remote Debugging Android Devices

Remote debug live content on an Android device from your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

remote debugging illustration


  • Set up your Android device for remote debugging, and discover it from your development machine.
  • Inspect and debug live content on your Android device from your development machine.
  • Screencast content from your Android device into DevTools.


To begin remote debugging, you need:

  • Chrome 32 or later installed on your development machine.
  • USB drivers installed on your development machine, if you're using Windows. (Ensure Device Manager reports the USB driver correctly)
  • A USB cable to connect your Android device to your development machine.
  • Android 4.0 or later.
  • Chrome for Android installed on your Android device.

Enable USB debugging on your Android device

On your Android device, open up Settings, find the Developer options section, and enable USB debugging. If you're running Android 4.2 or later and you can't find Developer options you may need to enable it.

Connect and discover your Android device

On your development machine, open Chrome. You should be logged in to one of your user profiles. Remote debugging does not work in incognito or guest mode.

Open DevTools and select More tools > Inspect devices.

opening the inspect devices dialog

From here you can see the status of all connected remote devices. You don't have any devices connected right now, so your dialog should look similar to the following screenshot. Make sure that Discover USB devices is enabled.

empty inspect devices dialog

Connect your Android device to your development machine using a USB cable. You should connect your Android device directly to your development machine, not through any intermediate hubs.

If this is your first time connecting this Android device to this development machine, you should see an unknown device that is pending authorization on your Inspect Devices dialog.

pending authorization

If this is the case, then you need to open the Allow USB debugging prompt on your Android device and grant the permissions.

Tip: If you have encounter any issues during the discovery process, you can start the process anew by going back to Developer options and tapping Revoke USB debugging authorizations.

After allowing USB debugging, you should see your device in the Inspect Devices dialog.

inspect devices dialog with connection

Debug content on Android device from development machine

From the Inspect Devices dialog, select your device from the menu on the left.

inspecting a device

From here you can see a variety of information about your connected Andoid device:

  • At the top you can see the model name of your Android device followed by its serial number (for example, Nexus 5 #08ae8c2700f43a61).
  • If one or more Chrome tabs are open, then you'll see a Chrome heading followed by the version number of Chrome that's running (for example, Chrome (49.0.2623.105)). If no Chrome tabs are open, you won't see a Chrome heading.
  • Underneath the Chrome heading, each open tab gets its own heading. You can interact with that tab from this section.
  • If there are any running apps using WebView, you'll see a heading for each app.

To open a new Chrome tab, enter a URL in the textfield under the Chrome heading and then click Open. A new tab automatically opens and loads the specified URL.

To reload, focus, or close an open tab, click the more options icon next to the inspect button.

reload, focus, or close a tab

To open up DevTools on your development machine and inspect or debug the live content on your Android device, click the Inspect button next to the tab that you want to investigate. A new instance of DevTools opens up on your development machine.

devtools instance for remote content

Note: The version of Chrome on your Android device determines the version of DevTools on your development machine used during remote debugging. So, the DevTools window on your development machine may look different than what you're used to.

When you hover over or select an element in the Elements panel, that element is highlighted on your Android device.

You can also tap on your Android device screen to select an element. First, click on the select element (select element button) button in DevTools, and then tap on your Android device screen. The element is selected in the Elements panel of DevTools. Note that the select element button is automatically disabled after the first touch, so you need to re-enable it every time that you want to use this feature.

Screencast from Android device to development machine

Enable the toggle screencast button (toggle screencast button) to view a screencast of the content on your Android device from within your DevTools window.

screencasted android device content in devtools

Screencasts only display page content. Transparent portions of the screencast represent device interfaces, such as the Chrome omnibox, the Android status bar, or the Android keyboard.

Note: Screencasts continuously capture frames, so you should disable your screencast if your test is sensitive to frame rates.

You can interact with the screencast in multiple ways:

  • Clicks are translated into taps, firing proper touch events on the device.
  • Keystrokes on your computer are sent to the device.
  • To simulate a pinch gesture, hold Shift while dragging.
  • To scroll, use your trackpad or mouse wheel, or fling with your mouse pointer.