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I've found that you can use the Windows Phone SDKs to perform a "Developer Unlock" on your phone, which allows installation of apps which are not hosted in the native app store.

Is this all that a Developer Unlock does, or are there other significant changes I should be aware of? Does it enable any other useful features, or alternative means of accessing/using the phone? Are there any security risks to be aware of, aside from that which might be posed from apps that don't go through the store's approval process?

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If you are a developer and want to submit app to Windows Phone Store, its a must for you to unlock your device to be able to deploy your apps to phone and debug them. This allows you to side load apps that are not listed in the market, but you have to be a Windows Phone developer first. This does not provide any other significant OS changes.

If you unlock your device with Visual Studio's Windows Phone Developer Registration tool or using a AppHub account it will not void your warranty. But if you use any other third party tools, then it might.

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It's nothing more but the ability to sideload apps.

  • add early access to newer releases of the OS... – Rowland Shaw Sep 7 '14 at 13:35
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    @RowlandShaw it does not allow that, that's the Dev Preview programme which is different. – Neil Turner Sep 7 '14 at 17:57
  • But you need a dev unlocked phone to enter the dev preview. – Rowland Shaw Sep 8 '14 at 6:58
  • @RowlandShaw No you don't. I've had the Developer Preview of 8.1 running on my phone practically since it came out (until yesterday, when I flashed it with fresh OEM firmware for the Cyan update) and I've never done a Developer Unlock on the phone so far. – Iszi Sep 8 '14 at 12:08
  • Odd. The instructions at dev.windows.com/en-us/develop/devpreview implies you need to dev unlock your phone. – Rowland Shaw Sep 8 '14 at 13:09

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