Turning on Developer Options in Android 4.2.1

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.




  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

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

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

    You deserve a pizza trophy!

  7. @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.

  8. 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.


  9. 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?

  10. @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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