Unlock Chromebook with Smartphone

Update (09.28.2017) – Resetting after update.

As luck would have it, I found after the last update my Chromebook no longer would authenticate using my Pixel phone. Although annoying, the solution is as follows:

  1. check the status of your Bluetooth connection
    1. Turn on if off and goto step 3 (if required)
  2. turn off “Smart lock for Chromebooks (beta)”
    1. using the directions below
  3. logout
  4. login
  5. re-setup “Smart lock for Chromebooks (beta)”
    1. using the directions below

Did you know it’s possible to sign in or unlock your Chromebook with a nearby Android phone? When you consider the need to have a strong password on your Google account, this really comes in handy. At the time of this writing this feature is still in beta but I have been using it from the very beginning with reasonable success. I found in some cases it will cease to work from one update to another and I will say this; when it doesn’t work I really miss it.

Prerequisites

To unlock your Chromebook with your phone, you will need the following:

  1. A phone running Android 5.0+ with Smart Lock and Bluetooth. Your phone must have a lock screen, be unlocked, and within 100 feet of your Chromebook. In addition, set your phone to automatically unlock.
  2. A Chromebook running Chrome OS version 40+ with verified working Bluetooth.

I can not stress the importance of ensuring Bluetooth works before beginning this how-to. Testing with a Bluetooth speaker or earbud is ideal if possible. I found it interesting I was able to pair my Pixel XL phone to my Samsung Chromebook Plus and the Chromebook reported it was not able to connect; but, unlock works. I also recommend keeping it simple by turning off other Bluetooth devices in the close proximity. Google states you can use one phone to unlock more than one Google Account on your Chromebook, or the same account on different Chromebooks, as long as you’re signed in to the same accounts on your phone.


The account you’re unlocking can’t be an Android for Work account and if you’re using your Chromebook at work or school, your administrator might have turned off phone unlock. If you can’t turn it on, ask your administrator for help.

Setup

My Google Site
Step 5 Screenshot
  1. If you have more than one phone nearby, turn off the ones you won’t be using
  2. Sign in to your Chromebook
  3. Make sure your phone and Chromebook:
    1. Are close together (within 100 feet)
    2. Are connected to the Internet
    3. Have Bluetooth turned on
    4. Are signed in to the same Google Account
  4. Click your account photo
  5. Click Settings icon
  6. In the “People” section, click Screen lock
  7. Type your password, then click Confirm
  8. Next to “Smart Lock for Chromebook,” click Set up
  9. Follow the steps that appear

When your phone is fully connected to your Chromebook and phone unlock is turned on, you’ll see a notification on your phone.

Test

  1. Log into your phone
  2. Log out or shut down your Chromebook
  3. Turn on Chromebook if needed
  4. When the unlock icon turns green, click the photo or press enter to login in

Turn off phone unlock

  1. Click your account photo.
  2. Click Settings icon.
  3. In the “People” section, click Screen lock.
  4. Type your password, then click Confirm.
  5. Next to “Smart Lock for Chromebook”, click Turn off.

Wrap up

If you can’t unlock your Chromebook with your Android phone, check the following:

  • Chromebook and phone are close to each other
  • Chromebook and phone are connected to the Internet
  • Bluetooth is turned on
  • Both have been restarted recently

If you see a yellow lock icon, point to it to learn more about the error and how to fix it.


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