Turning on Developer Options in Android 4.2.1

December 7th, 2012 22 Comments

I’m positively giddy playing around with the face unlock feature on my new Nexus 4. This was announced for ICS a long time ago, but it never made it to my Nexus S, not sure why.

Thanks to Apple, there’s a lot of talk about delighting users, and I’m a very jaded user. So, I’m finding it crazy that this feature has me giggling. It’s weird.

Anyway, one noteworthy item already about Android 4.2.1. The developer options have been hidden. The stock OS has no cues as to how they can be unlocked. I spent a fair amount of time combing through the menus looking for them.

Turns out they’re now hidden behind the Build Number in About. You have to tap Build Number seven times to unlock them; a countdown appears as you tap.

Maybe I’m overly excited about face unlock, but I found this a bit exciting too. It’s an interesting way to hide developer features as an Easter Egg. Kudos to Google for that.


Update: Changobarrocho points out in comments how to disable and re-hide the Developer Options after they’ve been enabled, i.e. by toggling them off and by clearing the Settings app data, as described in this thread, which also includes the steps to turn on Daydreams, a screensaver-like feature hidden in Android 4.2. I love Easter Eggs.

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22 Responses to “Turning on Developer Options in Android 4.2.1”

  1. uvox Says:

    Hardly ever use them now. Even capturing a screenshot can now be done with a gesture (swipe with side of hand).

  2. Jake Says:

    Even so, developer options matter, and it’s good to know how to get them.

  3. uvox Says:

    Novelty of face lock wore off pretty quick for me. Using PIN numbers again. Easier UX for me. Siri syndrome, but nice to have option anyway.

  4. Jake Says:

    Interesting. Beyond the fun factor, I really like unlocking without manipulating the phone. It’s more convenient and easier, given how big the phone is and the gymnastics my fingers have to do to enter the pattern I use to unlock.

  5. uvox Says:

    wondering if the face detection can offer more than security too – like personalized search options. of course, it has the possibility for detecting emotions too, and maybe customizing the response accordingly. we’ve done some work on this in apps-ux. seems the technology is better at detecting negative emotion than positive right now…

  6. Jake Says:

    4.2 supports multiple users, and I wonder if each can use face unlock. If the OS supports face recognition, any app could use that to set personalized option. Theoretically. Pretty cool stuff and fun too.

  7. Tiago Leao Says:

    HAHAHA! that was hilarious… The message “You are now a developer” that appears after tapping the Build Number really cracked me up… LOL

  8. Jake Says:

    Who knew it was that easy to become an Android developer ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Pranav Says:

    thanx a lot dude ๐Ÿ™‚
    You saved me ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jake Says:

    I’m here to help ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Graham Wilson Says:

    Thank you thank you! A hilarious fix for a very annoying problem.

    You deserve a pizza trophy!

  12. Jake Says:

    Awesome, send one to my Amazon lock box ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. changoborracho Says:

    is there a way to re-hide them?

  14. changoborracho Says:

    If you don’t need Developer options you can either turn off the switch in that screen (left image) or clear data from Settings app (Settings > Apps > All > Settings) if what you want is to completely remove the Developer options entry from Settings screen (right image).


  15. Jake Says:

    Awesome, thanks for finding this. Love me some Easter Eggs.

  16. Nic Says:

    Nothing happens when I tap the build number… wtf?? Can anyone help me??

  17. Jake Says:

    @Nic: Are you sure you have Jelly Bean 4.2? Do you have a Nexus device? I don’t know if any carriers removed this from their versions of 4.2, so that might be the problem.

  18. tw Says:

    This article was a godsend. Unable to use my Dual XGPS with my tablet ((I’m a pilot) because the Developer Options link was gone. Now fixed. I wrote Dual and they have not responded with a fix. I’ll send them what you discovered.


  19. Jake Says:

    @tw: Happy to help.

  20. azeez Says:

    thanks a lot a very useful tip

  21. Freya Says:

    I’m new to tech and I just randomly ‘became a developer’ by clicking on that build thing lots, without having known about it before. I don’t know what being a developer means in terms of privilege/customisation etc, can someone help me out?

  22. Jake Says:

    @Freya: You probably don’t need developer privileges; you can reset and revoke developer privileges by following what changoborracho says in comment 14 above.

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