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How To Convert Any Retail Xbox One Into Dev Kit

Microsoft has taken its sweet time, but it has finally, officially come up with a way to easily turn your personal retail Xbox One into a development kit using the Dev Mode app. We’ll give you a brief overview of how to enable it, with screenshots, after the bump.

Xbox One Controller

Some Things You Should Know About Dev Mode

Previously, developers were required to use a separate development kit Xbox One for building and testing apps. Starting today as a limited preview, any retail Xbox One can be turned into a dev kit. It requires just a few very reasonable things:

  • A Dev Center account (costs $19)
  • Registration as a Windows Insider (free)
  • The latest versions of Visual Studio and Windows
  • Xbox One connected to your PC via USB
  • 30GB of free space on Xbox One

If you can check off all items on this list, you’re all set, but it is suggested you wait it out until Microsoft fixes all bugs, and improves the overall experience so Dev Mode can be relied on for serious development work.

As a limited preview / work-in-progress, Dev Mode is also limited in terms of performance: you can only use 448MB of the 1GB allocated for running Xbox One apps. The full 1GB will be unlocked when the feature is made available for everyone.

Still want to try it out? We can’t stop you! Learn how to enable development mode in the next section.

Switching Into Dev Mode

Dev Mode activation app on Xbox One home page

Because Microsoft has just announced and released this new feature, we are unable to write a comprehensive guide. We can, however, successfully share with you the big overview on how to setup Dev Mode on your Xbox One. More details will be added to this how-to guide as we get them, and test them!

Step 1: Launch the Xbox Games Store on your Xbox One.

Step 2: Search and download the Dev Mode activation app.

Step 3: Launch the app. You will now need to activate your Xbox One as a development kit. This requires you to follow on-screen instructions.

Step 4: Once your Xbox is registered and activated, you’ll be able to switch to Dev Mode at anytime. All it would take is a press of the ‘Switch and restart’ button from the Dev Mode app.

Dev Mode activation app on Xbox One

Step 5: Your Xbox One will now restart. As soon as it’s ready, Visual Studio on your PC will detect the Xbox One as any Windows 10 device, allowing you to build, deploy and test UWP apps on your retail Xbox One as if it were a full-fledged dev kit!

That’s all the information and help we can share with you right now. We’ll update this guide in the coming days as detailed documentation is made public knowledge.