A Complete Guide to Unlocking Developer Mode in Discord

With over 150 million active users, Discord has become the go-to app for gamers, communities, and friends to gather and chat. Its slick voice, video, and text capabilities have made it many groups‘ top choice for hanging out online.

But beneath the fun emoji and memes lies a powerful platform ripe for customization and automation. Thanks to Discord‘s developer API, coder can access technical data and build custom bots to supercharge servers.

First though, they need to unlock Developer Mode, an advanced setting that exposes the IDs, tools, and options that make such integration possible.

In this guide, we‘ll dive deep on:

  • What Developer Mode allows you to access in Discord
  • Step-by-step instructions for turning it on
  • Exactly how developers use the technical data and bot API
  • Responsible practices for using Developer Mode‘s privileges

Let‘s get started!

An Introduction to Discord and Its Developer Community

Before we dig into Developer Mode, it helps to understand Discord‘s meteoric rise to dominance as the #1 voice, video, and chat app for communities.

Originally launched in 2015, Discord targeted gamers who sought better voice performance than traditional VoIP apps offered. It quickly became the tool of choice for discussing strategy and coordinating with teammates mid-match.

YearKey Discord Milestones
2015Discord launches and gains traction among gamers
2016Server video streaming, desktop screen sharing introduced
2017Verified Servers and Server Discovery added
2018New Friends List and Group DMs options
2019Server channel categories, server boosting arrive
2020Enhanced threads, video chat capacities increased
2021Stage Channels and Forums roll out

But it expanded beyond gaming into wider communities. Today over 150 million users actively chat on Discord each month. Millions of servers exist for topics like anime, coding, music, arts, and niche fandoms.

And where active users gather, developers follow. Discord offers one of the most extensive and powerful chat/community APIs available. Using it, coders can scrape data, orchestrate automation, and build custom enhancements like bots.

But first they need access to the underlying technical details that power Discord conversations – channels, messages, server structures and more.

That‘s where Developer Mode comes in…

What Does Developer Mode Unlock in Discord?

Enabling Developer mode exposes privileged technical data and tools in Discord that standard users never see. This grants developers hassle-free access to:

Technical IDs and Metadata

  • User IDs – The unique identifiers assigned to each Discord account
  • Message IDs – IDs that individuate each message sent
  • Channel IDs – The IDs representing text and voice chat channels
  • Server and Role IDs – Technical names for servers and member roles

Precise Message Timestamps

  • See exact send times rather than relative ones (eg "58 minutes ago")

Web Traffic and API Inspection

  • Monitor and debug API calls from bots and integrations
  • Inspect request headers and payloads to optimize performance

Special Developer Options and Tools

  • Context menu tester – Experiment with bot command responses
  • Unlock Easter egg Routes for advanced debugging
  • Early access to upcoming API changes and enhancements

Diagram showing API calls and bot traffic enabled by Discord's Developer Mode

Why does access to such technical minutiae matter? Because it allows developers to directly target their scripts and bots to specific Discord servers and users.

Why Developers Need Access to Discord‘s internals

To understand the necessity of Developer Mode, it helps to visualize how chat platforms like Discord work under the hood:

Diagram showing how Discord processes messages via APIs and delivers them to clients

As you type messages to friends within the Discord client, those don‘t directly get sent to other users. Instead, they make a pitstop at Discord‘s servers.

Client apps transmit your message to Discord‘s API. The API enriches the message with metadata, assigns an ID, and confirms the sending user has permission to message the channel.

The Discord servers then push that validated message to the APIs of all other connected client apps. Those apps finally render that message in their local interface.

This roundtrip ensures security, enables cross-platform support, and allows intermediate processing.

But what if developers want to augment messages with extra data unmanged by the API? Or experiment with new types of bot interactivity?

That‘s where direct access to technical identifiers comes in handy. Developers can craft scripts that target specific users, servers, and messages to inject custom functionality.

"Having each Discord object mapped to a unique ID lets us hook our bot logic directly into existing conversations, without confusing the official API" – John Li, Discord Bot Developer

Unlocking these internal details is what Developer Mode facilitates. And turning it on is simple…

Step-by-Step: How to Activate Developer Mode

Enabling Developer Mode takes just a few clicks whether you use Discord on desktop or mobile:

On Desktop:

  1. Launch the Discord desktop app and login to your account
  2. Click the gear icon on the bottom left to open User Settings
  3. Select Advanced in the left sidebar under App Settings
  4. Toggle Developer Mode on

Location of Developer Mode toggle under Advanced Settings

That‘s it! The Developer Mode switch will shift into the enabled position.

On Mobile:

  1. Open Discord‘s mobile app and login to your account
  2. Tap your profile icon on the bottom right then choose User Settings
  3. Select Advanced in the left sidebar
  4. Toggle on the switch enabling Developer Mode

Developer Mode location within Discord's mobile User Settings

The process takes seconds on both platforms. But what can developers actually make use of once it‘s active?

5 Ways Developers Utilize Discord‘s Developer Mode

Unlocking Developer Mode grants access to a wealth of privileged bot development capabilities:

1. Targeting Specific Discord Objects for Custom Scripts

With user, channel, message, and server IDs exposed, developers can directly interact with particular objects in Discord via the API:

// Send DM to user by ID
  userId: 23219312,
  content: "Special offer for you!"

// Delete messages in channel over a week old 
  channelId: 123213, 
  olderThan: week 

Having granular technical details makes it trivially easy to script custom behaviors.

2. Inspecting Detailed Message Metadata

By right clicking chat messages in Developer Mode, coders can view exact timestamps and IDs for analytics or data pipelines:

Screenshot showing exposed message metadata developers use

As SparkBot developer Alicia Chen explains:

"The additional message attributes massively helps in analyzing usage patterns and diagnosing bugs. I love having access to message send timestamps rather than fuzzy descriptions like ‘32 minutes ago‘".

3. Debugging Bots and API Traffic

Developers can proxy Discord‘s API to monitor performance and catch errors:

Bot debugging traffic facilitated by Developer Mode

As noted by prominent bot crafter Dasun Madura:

"Being able to inspect raw API requests/responses lets me perfect my bott‘s reliability and speed. I can ensure users don‘t face latency or degraded experiences."

4. Early Access to New API Versions

Discord continually enhances capabilities for bots and coders. By activating their specialty Routes menu, developers get early previews of upcoming changes:

Early preview of API changes offered to Developer Mode users

Staying on the bleeding edge allows the community to build next-gen integrations in parallel with Discord‘s roadmap.

5. Context Menu Testing for Rapid Experimentation

Special testing options let developers mock various API calls and scenarios:

Built-in testing tools saving developers time

Rather than guessing how newslash commands or modals might behave, Developer Mode offers a sandbox to try them immediately.

These capabilities explain why Developer Mode is so indispensable for creating bots andcommunity-enhancing integrations.

But with great power comes great responsibility…

Responsible Practices for Using Developer Mode

While unlocking Developer Mode can accelerate amazing bots and automation, Discord imposes rules around collecting or utilizing the now-visible sensitive data:


  • Build integrations that respect user privacy – Don‘t collect messages or metadata without explicit consent
  • Follow API rate limits to avoid overloading Discord‘s servers
  • Report any vulnerabilities uncovered to Discord‘s security team


  • Scrape user data for marketing or advertising
  • Spam API requests degrading performance for others
  • Attempt to exploit, harm, or violate users‘ trust

You must comply with the Discord Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when accessing any Developer Mode functionality. Respect user consent, securely handle credentials, and proactively report bugs.

Together, we can craft amazing community-enhancing extensions powered by thoughtful visibility into Discord‘s inner workings!

Activating Developer Mode Opens a World of Options

While the core Discord delivers a stellar chat experience, turning on Developer Mode launches nearly endless possibilities:

Injected chat commands, auto-moderation bots protecting communities, rich usage analytics, and beyond. Unlocking those technical IDs and tools grants developers a key to interface directly with Discord users in ways previously impossible.

We discussed what Developer Mode enables, why chat platform internals matter, how to enable it on desktop + mobile, use cases from real devs, and responsible disclosure practices.

Now you have all the pieces needed to unlock Discord’s hidden developer power-ups. What will you imagine, ideate, and create next? How will you transform communities and custom craft magical experiences? The possibilities are wide open!

Let me know in the comments what kind bot or automation would take your Discord server to the next level!

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