Entering a password each and every time you unlock your Chromebook can be a hassle. But, for those who know how to link a smartphone to their device, it doesn't have to be. In fact, this is going to be one of the first things anybody who buys a new Chromebook will want to do. Not only does the feature allow for easy unlocking, but it also unlocks at least a few other features.
Now, Google didn't necessarily make the process straightforward. Although it should be shown among the initial setup steps when a Chromebook is first turned on, it doesn't necessarily present itself as an option again. Fortunately, this guide is here to walk you through the steps required to take advantage of Chromebook's Android underpinnings.
Link your smartphone to your Chromebook
Syncing up a smartphone to a Chromebook comes with several benefits. The most prominent is the easier device unlocking, delivered after the first login for those who have long or complicated passwords. But Chromebooks also allow a few deeper synced processes. To begin with, setting this up can also be used to set up automatic data tethering.
Beyond those benefits, the process also grants users the ability to send SMS automatically. All of that is incredibly easy to set up. So read on for a bit more detail.
Easy unlocking is probably the biggest benefit of linking
As noted above, the biggest benefit to this process is that it allows users to unlock their Chrome OS gadgets via a quick action on their smartphone. This works just as long as there's a pin, password, facial recognition, or fingerprint login associated with the smartphone that will be used.
In short, as long as one of those methods is turned on and the connected smartphone stays unlocked, it's going to be easy to log in to the Chrome OS laptop, tablet, or desktop.
To get started, once that prerequisite has been met, users need to first navigate to Chrome OS's Settings app. That can be found in the app launcher, among other installed apps. But the easiest way to find it is going to be to tap or click on the clock found at the bottom-right-hand side of the shelf. At the top-right-hand side of the Quick-Settings panel is a gear-shaped Settings icon.
Once on the settings page, a search for the term "connected" will call forward the "Connected devices" settings card. Clicking or tapping on that card's "Set up" button will call forward a setup wizard. The steps to follow there are fairly straightforward but there is one small caveat to that. Users with multiple smart devices set-up will notice a drop-down menu on the left half of the wizard's first page.
Clicking or tapping on that drop-down menu lists out devices. Because the feature depends on the device being nearby and unlocked. Users will want to make sure they pick the appropriate device before continuing. That device will also need to be signed into the same Google account as the Chromebook and syncing.
After confirming the account password, the setup will complete and the devices will be linked.
Now, Smart Lock will be turned on by default as a matter of convenience. That's denoted by the new notification in the panel under the clock at the right-hand side of the shelf. But there are actually two settings for the feature and they do very different things. Clicking on that notification takes the user back to the deeper Connected devices menu.
To access the Smart Lock settings, users must click or tap the small right-facing arrow on the Smart Lock settings card. The first, and default, option for Smart Lock is to simply unlock the Chromebook. But users can also select to unlock the device and sign in to the Google account across the device using their smartphone.
One Smart Lock has been properly set up, users will only need to log-in to their device once per day. After that, users only need to have the appropriate smart device is nearby, set up with Smart Lock, and unlocked. Then, the Chromebook can be unlocked with a simple tap on their profile image once the lock icon turns green.
Messaging and tethering are also available via smartphone linking
There are, meanwhile, two other features available once a smartphone or other device is linked to a Chromebook. The first, which is turned on by default, is tethering.
Of course, one caveat to the use of Instant Tethering is that it requires data passthrough via the smartphone in question. So users are going to both want an unlimited data plan and a plan that includes a large amount of or unlimited hot spot data. Otherwise, it's best to turn that feature off via its toggle.
Once activated, Instant Tethering gives users an easy way to utilize mobile data on their connected smartphone. Within the menu, under a click on the device in question, Google presents users with a "Connect" button. That will instantly begin using mobile data on the connected Chromebook. As is implied, the feature gives users an easy-to-access and turn-on method for keeping the Chromebook connected when Wi-Fi isn't available.
Details about the quality of the connection and the carrier, as well as smartphone battery information, are displayed on that same page.
Finally, the sole feature not turned on by default — aside from the prominent disconnect button, used if the user wants to set up a different phone or stop using device linking entirely — is messaging. The Connected device menu is not the only way to utilize phone-based SMS messaging on Chromebooks. This can also be set up by downloading the Messages app by Google. But this is the easiest way to set things up, while the menu is already up and ready.
As shown here, the simplest way to set this up is to simply click the "Set up" button. Google's Chrome OS will load up the Messages app, if it's already installed, on a tutorial for setting the feature up. Summarily, users need to install messages on their smartphone and set it as the default. That's accomplished by opening it up and following the steps outlined on their mobile device.
From there, following the on-Chromebook steps listed will finalize the setup. Then, users will be able to send and receive text messages directly on their Chromebook. That's without needing to pick up their smartphones at all.