C1.8 Changing the authentication signals for debug

The NIDEN, DBGEN, SPIDEN, and SPNIDEN input signals are either tied off to some fixed value or controlled by some external device. If software running on the processor has control over an external device that drives the authentication signals, it must change the signal value using the specified procedure.


  1. Execute an implementation-specific sequence of instructions to change the signal value. For example, a single STR instruction might write certain values to a control register in a system peripheral.
  2. If step 1 involves any memory operation, issue a DSB instruction.
  3. Issue an ISB instruction or exception entry or exception return.
  4. Poll the DBGAUTHSTATUS_EL1 register to check whether the processor has already detected the changed value of these signals. This check is required because the system might not issue the signal change to the processor until several cycles after the DSB instruction completes.


Software cannot perform debug or analysis operations that depend on the new value of the authentication signals until this procedure is complete. The same rules apply when the debugger has control of the processor through the Instruction Transfer Register, EDITR, while in debug state. You can determine the relevant combinations of the DBGEN, NIDEN, SPIDEN, and SPNIDEN values by polling DBGAUTHSTATUS_EL1.

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