Developer mode is a special function built into Chromebooks which helps keep them secure whilst also allowing users and developers to access the code behind the Operating System and load their own builds of ChromeOS. Some users may want to access developer mode on a Chromebook to allow them to install special applications or use beta versions of ChromeOS. It is also necessary to install developer mode a Chromebook in order install linux on a Chromebook. If you’re looking to go beyond its basic capabilities, you will first need to enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook.
How to Enable Developer Mode on Chromebook
It is very easy to enable developer mode on a Chromebook. Note that this will erase the contents of the Chromebooks hard drive. The instructions from entering developer mode will be different on every model of Chromebook. Click on the name of your device to view the appropriate instructions.
The instructions are fairly similar on most models. The first time you reboot after turning the developer switch on, your chromebook will:
- Show a scary warning that its software cannot be trusted, since a command line shell is enabled (press Ctrl-D or wait 30 seconds to dismiss).
- Erase all personal data on the “stateful partition” (i.e., user accounts and settings – no worries, though, since all data is in the cloud!).
- Make you wait between 5 and 10 minutes while it erases the data.
The erase and wait steps only happen when you first enable the developer switch, to help prevent someone from quickly reimaging your device while you’re away from the keyboard. Successive boots will:
- Show the same scary warning (press Ctrl-D or wait 30 seconds to dismiss).
- Continue to boot only Google-signed images, and only from the SSD.
Issues with Chromebook Developer Mode
A Chromebook in developer mode doesn’t have the usual security features. For example, you could install a keylogger on a Chromebook using your developer mode access and then pass it along to someone. If they typed in their password, you could capture it and spy on them. That scary boot message helps keep typical users safe, guiding them through the process of disabling developer mode if they don’t know what’s happening.
To boot your Chromebook anyway, you’ll need to press Ctrl+D when you see this screen. That’ll let you quickly boot without hearing the annoying beep. You could also just wait a few more seconds — after beeping at you a bit, your Chromebook will boot automatically. When your Chromebook reboots, navigate to chrome://flags to see all the new things you can enable.
If there is a vulnerability in Google Chrome, the attacker may be able to obtain temporary control over the device. Users could potentially enter their credentials into this compromised device and run modified/unsafe code.
Chromebooks are some of the most secure devices available today. Verified boot ensures your file system hasn’t been tampered with. There is also the option for two-step authentication to further increase security. All your data is stored in the cloud, so even if your Chromebook is lost or stolen, your data is still secure and easily available by logging in to another system.