I want to use some third party software to clear my device's screen unlock pattern which I forgot. They require USB debugging enabled but I don't have it enabled in my Android.

How do I turn on USB Debugging through Recovery mode, or Fastboot?

  • 4
    As it turns out, this again seems to be an XY problem. Instead of trying to get your supposed solution working (enabling USB debugging), your question should have included that you've locked yourself out and forgot the PIN. Completely different issue, covered e.g. in our locked-out tag-wiki. Please start reading there. If you cannot fix your issue with those hints, ask a new specific question including what you've tried, where you're stuck, your device and Android version. Good luck! – Izzy Jun 10 '15 at 18:18
  • Isn't this question basically "how can I hack an android phone"? – Simon Woodside Jun 14 '17 at 2:57

Details for that can be found in our usb-debugging tag-wiki (where I've just added them):

By default, USB debugging is disabled with stock ROMs (some custom ROMs however have it enabled by default). To toggle it on or off, you can find the corresponding switch in Settings › Development – a section originally hidden with Android 4.2 and up. You can make this section visible by going to Settings › About device and "hammering" the entry telling your ROM's build version until a toast-message congratulates you for having become a developer.

If your issue is however that you cannot boot up your device normally, and thus cannot reach the settings section described above, please take a look at the following questions:

  • tnx . but i know this . for example i forgot the pattern of my devices . i can issuse this whit 3rd softwere like shuami or whit adb command . but both of them need usb debugging for remove pattern without remove files . if that is turn off , my problem is Shine . must to enable it .how ? – Jenabictak Jun 10 '15 at 16:39
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    That's why you should include as much details as needed with your question. How should anyone expect that? OK, I did – which is why I linked those two questions (please follow the links). – Izzy Jun 10 '15 at 18:15

Based on OP's clarification done in the comments below Izzy's answer, I propose the following solution if one's device is locked out and ADB is not enabled under Settings.

Note that this method is tested on Stock Android 4.2.1 and Stock CM 12.0 (Android 5.0) , both devices having custom Recovery (ADB always enabled as default) . If your Stock Recovery allows ADB shell access then you may also consider this solution.


  1. You should try your pattern-cracking software (or whatsoever the genre it has) from inside the Stock Recovery to see whether it works with the former's environment (ADB shell available there or not).
  2. Since I would never try step 1., I would do the following:

    For Jellybean 4.2.1:

    1. Boot into Recovery and mount Data partition.
    2. Open a shell on PC and type:

      adb pull /data/property/persist.sys.usb.config ~/

      Repace ~/ with home directory of your OS.

    3. Open that file in a text editor and you would possibly see mtp written there. Change it to mtp,adb.

      Note that sometimes Android doesn't understand the text file changes if the line terminator is "DOS Terminators" which Notepad would probably do on Windows (mine is Linux so no issue here).

      In that case, I would suggest not using adb pull but doing:

      adb shell
      echo 'mtp,adb' > /data/property/persist.sys.usb.config

      You may verify that the echo command overwrote the file by using:

      adb pull /data/property/persist.sys.usb.config ~/

      and seeing the file's content in some text editor.

    4. Unmount Data and reboot into Android OS. USB Debugging would probably be enabled.

    For Lollipop 5.0:

    JB 4.2.1 users can also follow this method if the previous one didn't work for them.

    1. Boot into Recovery and mount Data partition.
    2. Repeat step 2 and 3 used in JB 4.2.1 method.
    3. We need to tweak some parameters in settings.db. Type:

      adb pull /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db ~/
    4. Back it up at some other location too, and open the file in an SQLITE editor. I'm running Linux and DB Browser for SQLite works well. It's also available for Windows OS/OSX.
    5. In the global table, change the value for:
      • adb_enabled to 1
      • development_settings_enabled to 1
    6. Check that verifier_verify_adb_installs is set to 1 in the global table.
    7. Check that as default, in the secure table:

      • adb_notify is 1
      • adb_port is -1

      These checks in step 6 and 7 are not necessary but should be done so that troubleshooting becomes rather easy if the solution doesn't work for you.

    8. Save the changes in settings.db and copy it back into Android by typing:

      adb shell 
      rm /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db
      adb push ~/settings.db /data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/

      That delete (rm) command is not necessary since adb push should overwrite the file, but I executed it for my peace of mind.

    9. Unmount Data and reboot into Android OS. ADB probably would be enabled.

This is how it actually worked out when tested on my devices.

Source: Not really a source but got a hint from a comment under this answer.

  • And I think that pattern (through file editing) can be cleared in this way without turning on the USB debugging in Android. Don't know how though! – Firelord Jun 11 '15 at 6:08
  • If adb isn't working (which I think is what this question is regarding), how do you use adb to pull/push files? – PaulG Feb 7 '16 at 11:30
  • @PaulG: The setting about USB debugging that you see in Developer options, all it does is run or stop the adbd daemon in the Android OS. When you're outside the Android OS, the settings in the environment you're booted into governs whether adbd should be running or not. // A custom recovery is a different environment and TWRP and CWM runs adbd per their default settings. That's what I noted in the second paragraph of the answer that a custom recovery is needed. // Let me know if you're still unclear at some point. – Firelord Feb 7 '16 at 14:06
  • Do note that question doesn't say adb is not working, but that USB debugging is not enabled in the Android OS. Those are two different things. – Firelord Feb 7 '16 at 14:10
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    @alfetopito the concept of settings.db was removed since Android 6.0. The tables in that database can now be found in /data/system/users/0/. The files have the naming scheme settings_*.xml. – Firelord Jun 25 '17 at 7:54

protected by Community Dec 1 '15 at 19:55

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