Apps for Android developers

These are a few of the Android apps that we use as Intohand on our test devices to aid Android design, development and testing. Watch out for part 2 of this article that includes apps ideal for rooted devices and several inspirational design apps.

Dev Apps

DevDrawer —

DevDrawer is probably my favourite developer sidekick app. It’s basically a home screen widget that you configure to list the apps you are working on or testing. Via the home screen widget it gives you quick and easy access to launch apps, uninstall or go to app settings. No need to burn time searching through the app menu. I also like how each listed app includes it’s package name which is essential when you are have release and debug builds running on your device. You can add multi widgets for different clients, but commonly you’ll have work and home apps. There is also an option to add wildcards in the package name to auto include apps for example for my personal apps I use com.scottyab.*.

If your device is rooted, you get ability to instantly uninstall or clear the app data from the widget without the need for interim system confirmation screen.

Screenshot cleaner —

Create beautifully clean screenshots ready for the Playstore listing. Take screenshot(s) on device and then open Screenshot cleaner. It allows you to scrub the system notification bar of those messy icons and optionally remove the on screen buttons. Screenshot cleaner auto detects your screenshots and offers an ‘apply to all’ feature to quickly and easily process all your current screen shots — a real time saver. There’s also a feature to blur sensitive data on the pro version.

Gridwichterle —

Gridwichele draws a grid over your app UI which makes it excellent for checking your UI layouts are aligned correctly and to design specifications. You can configure the grid size and colour of the lines.

Keyline pushing —

Similar to Gridwichele in the fact it overlays guides on screen however Keyline pushing is focused on Material design’s keyline margins.

Pixel Ruler —

Ideal for designers to user during QA, Pixel Ruler draws 4 draggable rules/guides over the top of your app. You can drag vertically and horizontally to measure specific margins/paddings etc.

Display Metrics —

Useful for quickly checking which Android resources ‘bucket’ a test device falls into (hdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi etc). Display Metrics also includes additional screen size and aspect ratio metrics. I’ve found this really useful when your client/beta testers are testing on an obscure device. Alternatives ScreenInfo.

Device stats —

Similar and not as pretty as Display Metrics, displays size metrics, hardware features, build info, device id, displays various supported SSL and crypto algorithm information. Additionally you can email/share the results. Disclaimer: I developed this to help identify devices with missing crypto algorithms.

FakeGPS —

You can set the fake locations in code but this is simpler and great for testers! Remember to enable mock locations in your Android device developer settings.

Good intentions

Although you can generate and send intents from adb shell activity manager, Good intentions gives your a GUI based way of sending various system and custom intents.


Let’s you view Android manifest and resource information about any app that are installed on the device. I’ve found this useful when checking the package name and signature of an app when debugging Google maps integration issues.

App extactor —

Allows you to copy any free app’s .apk file to the SD card. This can be useful if you need to copy apps to a device without the Playstore. However be sure any actions complies with the app’s software license agreement.

Wake lock detector

Useful for debugging when you have one or more background services to see if you’re accidentally not releasing wake lock and causing unnecessary battery drain.

MyFtp server

There are several FTP apps for Android, but this is just the one I’ve used for a while. Since the change to Android several years ago when plugging a device into a computer is no longer recognised as a mass storage device, it can be a lot easier to copy files to and from your device using an FTP client. The alternatives of adb push/pull or even the Android File Manager can be unwieldy for non-techies. I’d only use this on your home/secure network and not your local cafe WiFi due to security implications of unencrypted FTP traffic. A more secure option is to sftp with SSHDroid.

PortDroid network analysis

Network analysis app with several useful tools including ping, traceroute, port scanner and local network discovery. Developed by our very own Matt Rollings

Rest Client for Android

I’ve asked remote clients to try specfic REST calls to rule out local network, firewall or carrier restrictions that could be causing app connection issues

That’s just a few of the apps we like and use, see you again in part 2. Also thanks for input Elliot Long (@elroid) and Matt Rollings.

Originally published at

Scott Alexander-Bown

Written by

Google Developer Expert for Android, developer, author, speaker, father, book-lover and scruffy looking nerf herder. Founder @swmobilegroup