How to Enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook

Putting your Chromebook into “Developer Mode” will allow you to have full root access, including the ability to modify your Chromebook’s system files. This is often used to install a Linux system alongside Chrome OS like Crouton. Enable developer mode has other uses, too. You don’t have to install a Linux system alongside Chrome OS. You could use it to just modify a few files, boot your Chromebook from external USB devices, or install Android apps .

Before Enabling Developer Mode

If you have a Chromebook that allows for the upgrading of the internal SSD , you might want to do that first.

Also, if you plan on installing Crouton in the future and would like to be on a different channel, it is recommended to switch channels  first before putting your Chromebook in Developer Mode. Switching channels is a way to get the latest features before they roll out to everyone.

How to Enable Developer mode on your Chromebook

IMPORTANT: This will wipe your Chromebook storage so make sure you backup any files you’ve downloaded.
  1. First you will need to put your Chromebook into “Recovery Mode”. To do this, power your Chromebook off and press: ESC + Refresh + Power Button all at the same time.
    keyboardNote: Your power button may be located somewhere else.
  2. You will see the recovery screen below. Don’t panic, Chrome OS isn’t really missing or damaged. At this screen press CTRL+D  to enable developer mode.
  3. Press Enter to turn OS verification off. This allows you to modify your Chrome OS system files without it complaining or refusing to boot.
    os verification off
  4. You will now see this screen. This screen will appear each time you boot into your Chromebook. To get past it you must press CTRL+D every time (can be annoying to some).
    os verification off dev mode
  5. The first time you go through this process your Chromebook will prepare the developer mode environment.
  6. Once this is finished, your Chromebook will be in developer mode! Now you can open up a terminal window (CTRL+ALT+T) and install Crouton or enable the Dev channel and get access to features currently in development (eg. Google Play on Chromebooks ).

If you ever want to go back to how things were simply press the SPACE key at the “OS Verification is OFF” screen. This will wipe your Chromebook’s storage so back up any files you wish to keep.

What Comes Next? 

Now you can install Crouton to make your Chromebook into a powerful Linux machine! Check out my complete Crouton installation guide here .