Chromebooks fill a very specific niche as they are so specialized and limited. They’re great for web browsing, basic tasks like word processing, and the simple interface is perfect for anyone who doesn’t know much about computers. Since Google controls exactly what you can install on a Chromebook, it’s also very secure.
All that ease of use and security comes at a cost; If you need to do something more complicated than write an essay or send an email, you may need to enable developer mode.
What is Developer Mode on Chromebooks?
The development mode is similar to jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an Android phone. All of these devices are typically locked down, meaning only approved apps can be installed, and the ability to make changes to the system is limited.
When you enable developer mode, you gain a much greater degree of control over your device. However, your Chromebook will also be inherently less secure, as you’ll lose all of the security features that ChromeOS is known for.
How to enable Developer mode on your Chromebook
Enabling developer mode on a Chromebook is easy; you don’t need to download anything or enter complicated commands. The entire process only requires you to press a few specific keys when turning on the Chromebook, then press another combination of keys during the boot process.
These key combinations do not appear on the screen, so you will need to follow the instructions below to successfully enable developer mode.
Enabling developer mode also wipes your Chromebook, which means your login information and any locally stored data is deleted. You won’t be able to restore this data, so back up anything you don’t want to lose.
Enabling developer mode on your Chromebook is easy, and you can turn it off if you change your mind.
Here’s how to enable developer mode on a Chromebook:
- If chrome book is on, turn it off.
- Press and hold esc + refresh , and then press the power button .
- The refresh key has an icon that looks like a circular arrow pointing clockwise. Usually it is the F3 key.
- Wait for the screen that says “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a USB stick.»
- Press Ctrl + D .
- If prompted, press Enter .
- Wait for the device to reboot.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Chromebook.
Your Chrome OS is not missing or damaged, the screen in Step 3 is the normal screen you get when you turn on developer mode.
These instructions work for most Chromebooks using a virtualized developer switch. Some Chromebooks have a slightly different process, including early models like the Cr-48 and Samsung Series 5, which have physical developer mode switches. Chromium maintains a list of all Chromebook models, where you can find out if your device has a developer switch.
What can be done with a chromatography book in developer mode?
Chromebooks are extremely limited by design, but Developer Mode opens them up. The biggest thing that changes when you enable developer mode is that you get access to the developer shell, a powerful tool for advanced users.
Enabling developer mode allows you to access a real Linux shell from crosh.
The shell allows you to perform tasks such as pinging an IP address or website, connecting to a Secure Shell (SSH) server, and running a variety of other Linux commands; this works because ChromeOS is based on Linux.
One of the most useful things developer mode allows you to do is install a standard Linux desktop environment; you can keep the ChromeOS interface and switch to a full Linux environment whenever you need to do something more complicated.
For more on this, check out our full guide to installing Linux on a Chromebook.
Chromebook developer mode issues
Developer mode has many positives, but there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of before turning it on:
- Google doesn’t support developer mode : When you enable developer mode, you can void your warranty, which means you could be on your own if you have any issues with your Chromebook in the future.
- You lose all your data – Turning on developer mode erases all the data you have stored locally on your Chromebook. If you don’t back up everything, it’s gone forever.
- It’s easy to lose all your data again : When you turn off developer mode, your data is wiped again. Unfortunately, turning off developer mode is as easy as pressing the space bar while the Chromebook starts up. This makes it all too easy to accidentally wipe your hard drive at any time.
- Takes longer to boot : Every time you boot with developer mode enabled, you have to look at a warning screen.
- Your Chromebook will be less secure : Chromebooks have many security features that are completely disabled when you turn on developer mode.
How to disable developer mode
If you decide developer mode isn’t for you, turning it off is even easier than turning it on. In fact, it’s so easy that you’re literally one click away from getting your Chromebook back to its original state every time you restart it.
Please back up your data before disabling developer mode as all locally stored data is deleted when disabling developer mode.
All you need to do to turn developer mode off is to press the space bar at the right time.
Here’s how to turn off developer mode on your Chromebook:
- If your Chromebook is on, turn it off.
- Turn on your Chromebook.
- Wait for the screen that says “OS verification is OFF”.
- Press the space bar .
- Follow the instructions on the screen to set up your Chromebook again.
If your Chromebook has a physical switch, you’ll need to turn it off to get back to normal. This is the same parameter that you used to enable developer mode.