The big selling point of Chromebooks and Chrome OS is its inherent simplicity. Granted, the operating system has evolved significantly from its early days as essentially just a glorified browser, with growing offline features and support for Android apps. Chrome OS devices are getting more powerful and certainly more capable, allowing for a pretty good, albeit simple, PC experience.
However, this means that there isn’t much in the way of customization or developer-friendly features available at first glance. If you are looking to go beyond the basic capabilities of your Chromebook, the first step requires enabling Developer Mode, which is akin to gaining root access on your Android device.
If you are looking to enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook, here’s how!
Enable Developer Mode on a Chromebook
- First, make sure that you back up and save any important information you may have stored on your device. Enabling Developer Mode wipes your login info and any locally-stored data which cannot be restored.
- If your Chromebook is on, turn it off.
- You will first have to go into recovery mode. To do so, press and hold the Esc key and refresh key (circular clockwise arrow key usually three spaces to the right of the Esc key) and then press the power button.
- Keep holding the three buttons until a screen pops up that says “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert USB stick.” Don’t worry, this is just a part of the process and nothing is actually wrong with the OS.
- Press and hold Ctrl and then press the D key.
- If required, press Enter.
- Wait for the device to restart and go through the Chromebook setup process again.
How to disable Developer Mode on a Chromebook
- As easy as it is to enable Developer Mode on a Chromebook, it is even simpler to disable it.
- Remember to backup your data once again as even disabling Developer Mode erases everything.
- If the device is on, turn it off.
- Once the screen that says “OS verification is off” shows up, press the space bar.
- You will have to go through the Chromebook setup process again.
Cons of enabling Developer Mode
There are a lot of advantages to enabling Developer Mode on your Chromebook. It gives you access to the developer shell, allows you to install a standard Linux desktop environment, and is something you will need to enable if you are a Chrome OS developer. Developer Mode is certainly not for the average user and some amount of technical know-how is needed to take full advantage of this mode.
However, there are a few disadvantages that you need to be wary of as well.
- Google doesn’t support Developer Mode, so you may be at risk of voiding your device warranty.
- All the security features are disabled when Developer Mode is turned on.
- You lose your data when enabling or disabling Developer Mode. As you can see from the steps required to disable it, an accidental press of the space bar at the wrong time is all you need to lose all your data once again. Making continuous backups if you’re working on something important is definitely recommended.
- Chromebooks boot up extremely fast. But that is a feature you will lose when Developer Mode is enabled.
Other Chromebook resources
So there you have it for this guide on how to enable Developer Mode on a Chromebook! Once you buy your first Chromebook, you’ll likely have plenty of questions. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are some resources to make life with your new Chromebook easier –