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    First published: December 2017

Remote Debugging Ionic apps

When you use ionic serve to run your application in the browser, your browser’s DevTools can be used to debug your app. You can:

  • View console logs
  • Show history and details of Network requests
  • Inspect elements, HTML, JavaScript or CSS
  • Inspect Storage, Cache, Manifest or Service Workers
  • Profile your app for Performance or Memory problems

When testing a Debug build of your app on emulators, simulators or real devices with ionic cordova run ios|android or similar (like ionic cordova emulate or after distributing a test version built with ionic cordova build via a third party beta distribution service), your app is not running directly in a browser any more. It is executed in the WebView of Cordova.

Fortunately, you can set up development devices for remote debugging with your desktop browser to use the debugging functionality as well.

Note: You can not debug apps running in Ionic View or the Ionic DevApp. As these apps are downloaded from the stores they are built in production/distribution mode where debugging is disabled. You have to specifically build a Debug build of your app for debugging.


Android Remote Debugging with Chrome

Remote Debugging for Android happens with the Chrome DevTools you are already familiar with from usage on desktop. It can be used with a physical Android device or Android emulator.

Chrome of course works on all platforms like Windows, macOS or Ubuntu Linux.



Now Chrome on your desktop machine should discover your device and the WebView inside your app:

  • Open chrome://inspect (or via ⠇> More tools > Remote devices in a running DevTool instance)
  • The Devices list should contain your device with the WebView of your app:
    Chrome Inspector
  • The first time you execute this process with a combination of mobile device and desktop computer, you will have to accept a “Allow USB Debugging” prompt on your device.
    Allow USB Debugging

If your device and app do not appear, read these more elaborate instructions on Remote Debugging for Android from Google that also offer several problem resolution steps.

By clicking “inspect” next to your WebView you can now open the DevTools for your app and use all its usual functionality. You will also see a “Screencast” of your app next to the DevTools panels for navigating your app and selecting elements.

Chrome Inspector, Chrome Developer Tools

Your first stops will probably be the “Console” and “Network” tabs to look for warnings or errors that can tell you why your app is not looking or behaving like it should.


iOS Remote Debugging with Safari (macOS only)

macOS offers Safari Web Inspector as the tool to remote debug iOS apps on physical iOS devices but also simulators. You use the Safari Develop menu to find your app and start the debugging session.

Safari is unfortunately only available for macOS and can not be installed on Windows or Ubuntu Linux.


  • Navigate to Settings › Safari › Advanced on your iOS device and enable the Web Inspector.
    iOS Settings > Settings > Safari > Advanced
  • Navigate to Preferences › Advanced in Safari on your Mac. Check “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option at the bottom.
    Safari Preferences > Advanced
  • Connect your physical iOS device to your Mac


Now Safari on your Mac should be able to see your app running on your device:

  • Navigate to the Develop menu in Safari, and select your device: Safari > Develop > app
  • Click on your app running on the device that you want to debug.

It will open a Web Inspector window for your app, showing the usual developer tools functionality, hovering over elements in the “Elements” view will highlight them on the device.

Safari Web Inspector

Your first stops will probably be the “Console” and “Network” tabs to look for warnings or errors that can tell you why your app is not looking or behaving like it should.

    First published: December 2017