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    Debugging on Mobile Devices

    In this topic, you will learn about debugging JavaScript on mobile devices. During development testing and debugging content on mobile platforms can be very challenging.

    Overview

    In this document you will learn how to get started with debugging on mobile devices and covers the following solutions:

    • Debugging on iOS devices
    • Debugging on Android devices
    • Using Charles on mobile devices

    iOS debugging

    Minimum requirements for iOS debugging

    • Safari version 6+ running on Mac MacOS
    • iPhone or iPad with iOS 6+

    Using Safari Remote Debugging

    Apple's iOS 6 update introduced Safari Remote Debugging, which allows you debug web pages in the Safari app on iOS devices. To get started, follow the steps below:

    1. Connect your iOS device to your machine via USB cable.
    2. On your device, open the Settings app. Select Safari, scroll down to the bottom of the page and open the Advanced menu. Enable the Web Inspector option.
      Web Inspector
      Web Inspector
    3. Still on your device, open the Safari app and browse to any web page.
    4. On your Mac, launch Safari, open the Preferences (Safari > Preferences), and navigate to the Advanced section. Enable the Show Develop menu in the menu bar option.
      Show Develop Menu
      Show Develop Menu
    5. Open the Develop menu. You will see your iOS device listed. When you mouse over your device name, you will see the URL to the site you've browsed to on your device displayed.
      Find the Device
      Find the Device
    6. Select the URL and a Web Inspector window will open, allowing you to preview, inspect, and debug content on your mobile browser from your desktop.
      Debug on Desktop
      Debug on Desktop
    7. In the Resources section, you can preview and inspect the web page. Hovering over elements in the Web Inspector will highlight the corresponding elements in the browser on your iOS device.
      Inspecting Elements
      Inspecting Elements
    8. You can also use the Debugger and Console sections to further debug your page by setting breakpoints, logging data, etc.

    Android debugging

    Minimum requirements for Android debugging

    • Chrome 32+ running on Mac or Windows
    • Android device with Chrome for Android 32+

    Note: The steps in this section were written using a device running Android 11.

    Enabling debugging on your device

    Before you can begin debugging content on your device, you need to enable USB debugging in your device settings.

    1. If you are a running Android 4.2+, you will need to enable your device's Developer options before you can turn on USB debugging. On your device, open the Settings app and select the About phone menu. Locate your device's Build number and tap it seven times.
    2. Enter your device password. You should now see a message that states, You are now a developer!.
    3. To access your Developer options in Android 11, return to Settings and select System.
    4. Expand Advanced, and tap Developer options.
      Developer options
      Developer options
    5. Scroll down to USB debugging and turn on the toggle.
      Enable USB Debugging
      Enable USB Debugging
    6. For more details, see Android's Configure on-device developer options document.

    Remote debugging using Chrome for Android

    Now that USB debugging is enabled on your device, follow these steps to start remote debugging with Chrome:

    1. On your computer, launch Chrome and browse to chrome://inspect#devices.
    2. Select the checkbox for Discover USB devices.
      Discover USB Devices
      Discover USB Devices
    3. Connect your device to your machine using a USB cable. On your device, you will be prompted with a dialog asking if you would like to allow USB debugging. Select Allow to let your computer to connect to your device.
      Allow Connection to Device
      Allow Connection to Device
    4. On your device, open the Chrome app and browse to a web page.
    5. Return to Chrome on your computer. On the chrome://inspect#devices page, you should see your connected device. Below your device name, you will be able to see a list of all of the pages open in Chrome on your device.
      Connected Devices
      Connected Devices
    6. To begin debugging a web page, select the inspect link below the page URL. This will open Chrome's Developer Tools.
      Inspect Web Page
      Inspect Web Page
    7. To the left of the Elements tab, you can select the device icon to open DevTool's Screencast feature. This allows you to open a live preview of the content as it appears on your mobile device. For more information on how you can use screencasting to interact with your device, visit Google's documentation.

    Charles for mobile

    Charles is a web proxy that can be run on your own computer, allowing you to record data that is sent and received via your web browser. Visit the Charles website for more information on this application.

    Minimum requirements for Charles

    • Charles is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux
    • iOS and/or Android device

    Setting up Charles on your machine

    Follow the steps below to get Charles running on your machine.

    1. Download and install Charles on your machine.
    2. On your computer, run Charles. From the menu, select Proxy > Proxy Settings. Ensure a port has been assigned (e.g., 8888).
      Proxy settings
      Proxy settings
    3. Select OK to save changes and close the dialog.
    4. From the menu, select Proxy > SSL Proxy Settings. Ensure the Enable SSL Proxying option is selected.
      SSL Proxy settings
      SSL Proxy settings
    5. In the Location section, select the Add button. In the Edit Location dialog, navigate to the Port field and enter 443. Select OK to save this change.
      Location port 443
      Location port 443
    6. Select OK to close the Edit Location dialog.
      SSL settings with location
      SSL settings with location
    7. Select OK to exit the SSL Proxying Settings dialog.
    8. Navigate to Help > SSL Proxying > Install Charles Root Certificate on a Mobile Device or Remote Browser.
      Install root certificate
      Install root certificate
    9. You should see a message that identifies the local Server IP and Port number (8888) that you will use to set up the device. You should also see the URL to download and install the certificate. Copy these to your computer for later use.
      Certificate message
      Certificate message

    Setting up Charles on your device

    In this section, you will learn how to set up your iOS and/or Android device to work with Charles on your computer.

    Setting up your iOS device

    1. On your device, make sure you are connected to the same network as your computer. You can verify this by navigating to settings > Wifi and selecting the network name to show advanced options.
      Device network
      Device network
    2. In the HTTP section at the bottom, select Manual mode. Then, add the Server IP and Port number (8888) that you copied from Charles in a previous step.
      Wifi details
      Wifi details
    3. On your device, open a browser and navigate to http://www.charlesproxy.com/getssl. You will be redirected to your device settings where you will be prompted to install the Charles Proxy Custom Root Certificate profile. Select the Install button to install the Charles certificate on your device.
      Install Charles certificate
      Install Charles certificate
    4. Follow the steps to install the Charles certificate. When complete, select Done.
      Charles profile installed
      Charles profile installed
    5. Next, you are ready to ensure that your device trusts the Charles certificate. On your device, navigate to General > About > Certificate Trust Settings. Here you should find the Charles Proxy certificate.
      Certificate Trust Settings
      Certificate Trust Settings
    6. Enable the Charles certificate. Notice the warning message. You may want to disable this certificate when not debugging with Charles.
      Enable trust certificate
      Enable trust certificate
    7. Now, you will be able to see any data sent and received in Charles.
      See Charles data
      See Charles data

    Setting up your Android device

    1. On your device, go to Settings > Network & internet.
    2. Tap Wi-Fi.You will see a list of networks that you have connected to on your device.
    3. Select the wireless network that you are currently connected to. Remember, this network must match the network you are connected to on your computer..
    4. Tap the pencil icon to edit your internet settings.
    5. Set Proxy to Manual.
    6. Paste the value for your Charles Proxy hostname, which you should have copied it to your clipboard in the step above. For the Proxy port, enter 8888.
      Proxy host/port values
      Proxy host/port values
    7. Tap Save.
    8. On your device, open a browser, navigate to https://www.charlesproxy.com/getssl/. This should automatically download the Charles SSL certificate to your device.
    9. To install the certificate with Android 11, follow these steps:
      1. Open Settings.
      2. Navigate to Security > Encryption & credentials > Install a certificate.
      3. Select CA certificate.
      4. You will see a warning. Select Install anyway.
        Install anyway
        Install anyway
      5. Select the Charles proxy SSL certificate.
      6. Confirm the certificate installation.
    10. In your device's default browser, navigate to a website. You will be able to see any data sent and received in Charles. Note that it may help to filter the structure list (in this case filter for brightcove).
      See Data Transfer
      See Data Transfer
    11. To filter network traffic so that you only see traffic from your Android device and not your local machine:
      1. In the Charles top menu, select Proxy.
      2. Uncheck macOS Proxy (or Windows Proxy).
    12. Optional: To clear certificates from your device (running Android 11):
      1. On your device, open Settings.
      2. Navigate to Security > Encryption & credentials.
      3. Tap Clear credentials.
      4. Tap OK to confirm.

    Page last updated on 24 Aug 2021