Google has hidden the developer settings in the latest version of Jelly Bean - here's how to get them back

A few months from now, this will seem funny. But for a little while, for a few scary hours, we had no developer settings on the Nexus 4. Ponder that for a moment. A Nexus device with no developer settings. Actually, it wasn't quite that bad. A little hackery, and we had a direct shortcut to the dev settings. 

But there's an easier way to enable the developer settings on Android 4.2. Oh, they're still on the phone, so nobody freak out. Google hasn't taken the "developer" out of its Nexus line, and it's not going to anytime soon. But the settings have been hidden from casual view in the settings menu. Here's how to get them back:

  1. Go to the settings menu, and scroll down to "About phone." Tap it.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom again, where you see "Build number." (Your build number may vary from ours here.)
  3. Tap it seven (7) times. After the third tap, you'll see a playful dialog that says you're four taps away from being a developer. (If only it were that simple, eh?) Keep on tapping, and *poof*, you've got the developer settings back.

So why would Google hide the developer settings on a Nexus? It likely has nothing at all to do with the device in this case. Think bigger. It's just a change in Android 4.2. If you're reading this blog, chances are you'll want to poke around in them -- or, in most cases, get to the USB debugging settings. There's not a whole lot of danger here. But ever since the dev settings were consolidated into a single menu in Android 4.0, it's seemed odd that they remained in plain sight on more consumer-friendly phones. Does your mom need dev settings? Nah. So, Google's hidden them in Android 4.2.

We're fine with that move -- and we expect it to be documented in the Android dev portal.


Reader comments

How to enable developer settings on Android 4.2


why do you seem like a douche bag with the sarcasm are you a ifan trolling on android central. first its 1% down to .5 will be buying the phone now this

It's weird because if you click his name he has two android devices. Not sure why he's so anti-android, I think Google do a lot of smart innovations with Jellybean.

This is great for me, being a technician for a major carrier. I would have customers coming to me, saying that their device is doing this & that, when the actual problem is that they tampered with the developer options. Thank you, Google.

I think Google is trying to shake the "it's a hackers/geeks phone" stigma. Good for them. And I didn't want this Nexus (still happy with my Gnex)until I saw the unboxing. Now I want one.

Yeah, It is obvious that the Nexus line is no longer exclusively targeting developers and power users any more. They seemed super concerned with this phone about confusing people who have no idea what they are doing.

I sure do like this approach of hiding these settings so that you will not even be able to see them unless you know what you are doing better than the way they completely omitted the SD slot just to avoid confusing people. Seems like they could have used a similar concept there...

I really appreciate that developer options are hidden since 4.2. I'm getting every week support emails that have root cause in developer options turned on by user that does not understand what he/she is doing.

Make them visible in 4.x costs developers money spent on support instead of improving their apps.

Can you tell me a little about the developer settings that have affected your application? I'm curious. Thanks.

Isn't staying awake while charging a useful consumer option though. Sometimes you don't want to have to unlock the phone or keep touching the screen when there is power.

Especially useful for the car when some apps don't prevent the phone from sleeping.

Yes - this is what I was looking for as well. I have a charging dock in my car and don't want the phone to sleep when using a music player.

Same here. I've tapped 7+ times, and I've even restarted the tablet, and the developer options still do not show.

I found that, if you have enabled 'magnification gestures', then
the 7 taps does not work. You have to disable that accessibility first.

I had the same problem. It only shows the developer options (under Accessibility and above About tablet) for the Owner user. I tried it with a secondary user, it did not work.

Thanku so much i knew it i can count on u this problem caused sluggish performance on my htc one and for once i was hesitating to sell it thanks again keep up the hard work:-)


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i have Android 5.0.2 on an HTC One M9, and the Developer setting moved to:
About > Software information > More > Build number