If you have any Android device using version 4.2 or newer, the Developer options have been hidden from sight. These options include the following:
- Desktop backup password
- Stay awake (while charging)
- Protect SD card
- USB debugging (necessary when using the Android SDK)
- Allow mock locations
- Show touches
- Show pointer location
- Window and Transition animation scale
To the majority of users, these options mean nothing. But for a select few, these options are necessary. For example, if you use the Android Software Developer Kit for any reason, the only way you can get it to communicate with your device is to enable USB Debugging and to set the device to Stay Awake. Without those options enabled, trying to get the SDK to communicate with your device will be problematic, at best. As a side note: For the longest time, I had to use the SDK to take screenshots of devices (until they enabled the feature within the OS).
Fortunately, I was doing a bit of research and came across a method to unhide those Developer options. Here’s how you get the Developer options back:
- Open up the Settings
- Locate About Phone
- Scroll down until you see Build Number
- Tap on Build Number seven times (after the third tap, Android will start counting down how many taps remain before the developer options are enabled)
- Once you hit the seventh tap, you'll get a message that says “You are now a developer!”
That’s it. If you go back to Settings, the Developer options should now be available (Figure A).
The Developer options back in play on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4.
Warning: You cannot disable the options once you’ve enabled them. The only way to do this is to reset your phone to factory defaults. But for power users who need these options available, you now know how to find them.
Do you use the Developer options on your Android device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.