Enabling Developer Options in Android 4.2 and Up

Recently I was working on a project where I needed to build and push an .apk to a brand new Samsung Note 3 running Android 4.3. I was confused though in that while I am pretty experienced developing on Android devices I could not find were the Developer options setting was so that I could turn on debugging and push the .apk to my device. Doing a little googling I found out that Google, as of Android 4.2 hid, the Developer Options from the casual user and apparently some of us less aware developers. So here is a quick blog post of how to re-enable Developer options on your device.

Go to “Settings” and then “More” as in Figure 1.

You will see that the Developer options is missing but you should also see, at the bottom of the menu, an option called “About Device” as in Figure 1. Select it.

Figure 1: Settings screen showing the “More” tab with the noticeably absent “Developer options” item.

You should now see a screen that shows detailed information about your phone as in Figure 2.

Figure 2: About device screen showing your Android devices detailed information.

To enter into developer mode you need to scroll to the bottom of your “About device” screen and tap on the grayed out “Build number” text seven (7) times. After taping three times Android will give you a running countdown of how many taps you have to go till you have enabled the developer mode as you can see in figure 3.

Figure 3: Android notifications letting you know how many taps you have to go till you enable developer options.

After you have tapped on the screen seven times Android will notify you that development options are now enabled and you can go back one screen to the Options> More tab. You should now see something like Figure 4.

Figure 4: Note the difference between this image and Figure 1. We now have the Developer options item in the menu.

Select “Developer options” from the More tab and you should see a screen like figure 5.

Figure 5: The hidden developer options screen.

Now you should turn on “USB debugging” which will allow you to develop against your device and push files to it. Depending on what you are doing there are now a plethora of developer options and you may want to enable other settings. Finally, depending on how you develop, you may also want to turn on the ability to install applications from other sources such as directly from your gmail or a website. I know that at work when developing applications people often send out new builds via email or our builder server puts a new build up for testers on an internal website. To enable this you need to go back to the Settings> More tab and select “Security.” From there you can select install from untrusted sources like you seen in figure 6. Finally a note of caution. If your just a casual Modder or developer you should seriously consider turning off these settings after you have done your development in that that can potentially allow people who have access to your device, or even people who push malware to your device remotely, to install dangerous applications. For me I usually only enable developer options and installation from other sources on devices I get from work. For my own personal devices on the rare occasions I install something not from the Google Play store I immediately revert back to suggested settings.

Figure 6: The “Unknow sources” setting in the Security tab.

Hopefully other casual developers find this useful. As time presents ill try to write a blog post describing the other settings in Developer options.

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