What is Smart Lock and How To Enable It on Your Chromebook

One of the great features of Chrome OS is one that few people actually use.  It’s called Smart Lock and while technically still a beta feature in the Stable channel of Chrome, it is a quick and easy way to unlock your Chromebook using your Android phone.  No longer do you have to type in your password on your Chromebook but rather, can simply walk into the room with your unlocked Android phone or click your account photo on your Chromebook to unlock it.  Setting it up is pretty easy and it can save you some time, especially if you have your phone setup as a Trusted Agent.

First, what is Smart Lock?  As the name suggests, it is a way to quickly and easily unlock your Chrome OS device by using your Android phone.  To do this, your phone and your Chromebook have to be linked and trusted with each other which is a quick five minute process.  It is a feature that has been in the Settings of Chrome OS since last year and requires that your phone be within 100 feet of your Chromebook to work.  In this How To, I’ll show you how to set it up and use it.

First, a word about the Smart Lock feature.  If you are on a managed Chromebook or Android device from your work or school, the feature may be

Chromebook Settings
Chromebook Settings

disabled.  If that is the case, you would have to talk to your administrator about enabling it.

Assuming you have the proper permissions, the first thing you need to do is enable Bluetooth on your Chromebook.  This can be done in Settings.  Next, open up Advanced Settings and find the Smart Lock section.  Tap the Set Up button to begin.  You will have to enter your password for your Chromebook to verify that you are indeed the owner of the account.  Once this is done, you will be walked through a wizard that will find your Android phone and set it up as the trusted device for your Chromebook.  First the wizard finds your phone and then guides you through the process of making your phone a Trust agent.  Like the Smart Lock feature on your Chromebook, this Trust agent feature on your phone may be disabled by your administrator.  That’s okay.  It will still work but it won’t give you the option of automatically unlocking when your unlocked Android phone is nearby.  In that case, all you need to do is have your phone unlocked and click on your account’s photo to unlock your Chromebook.

Once you have your phone identified in the wizard, follow the steps to complete the setup process and then test it.  When you test it, your Chromebook will be locked and when you have your Android phone unlocked, you will be prompted to click your photo.  This will unlock your Chromebook and you

Smart Lock Notification
Smart Lock Notification

will get an notification on your Android phone.  If you have Android Wear, you will get a notification on it too.

That’s it.  You’ve setup Smart Lock on your Chromebook and now can save yourself a bit of time by having your Chromebook automatically unlock when your nearby phone is unlocked or by clicking on your account photo.

For more How To’s like this one, be sure to head over to the How To section of the site.  There are plenty of tips, tricks and other useful information for Android, Chrome OS and Project Fi.

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