There are a lot of great aspects of Chrome OS, however one of its worst “features” is the lockscreen. While it certainly does a great job keeping your Chromebook secure, entering in your full password gets very tedious over time, especially if you have a long password.
One way around this has been Google’s Smart Lock. With your unlocked Android smartphone nearby, you could easily get into your Chromebook with just a tap. It’s a great feature, however it has two major caveats. The first is that it requires the smartphone to be unlocked, which means you’ll need to do that before unlocking the Chromebook. The second is that it only works with Android, so iOS and Windows Phone users are completely out of luck.
Luckily it seems like Google is finally experimenting with a new login option for Chrome OS based on a PIN (via OMG Chrome). This new feature (as seen in the screenshot above), allows users to set a four-digit PIN in place of a password. Alternatively users can also set no password or PIN. Why? The answer is simple, this option is only for the lockscreen, not the sign-in screen.
What’s the difference? The sign-in screen is what you’ll see when you first boot up your Chrome OS device, however if you put the device to sleep or hit the lock key, you’ll see the lockscreen with this “Quick Unlock” functionality. This should prove especially useful on Chromebooks with Android apps more so than it will those without.
In the latest dev channel build for Chrome OS, an option to switch from the standard password login to the new PIN option can be found in Chrome OS’ flags. For now this is limited to the Canary channel, and there’s no guarantee we’ll see it on the stable channel in the near future. If you are running the latest Chrome OS Dev build, here’s how you can enable “Quick Unlock”.
- Enable the Quick Unlock flag at chrome://flags/#quick-unlock-pin
- Next head into the new Material Design settings menu at chrome://md-settings/
- From here select the option to Configure Quick Unlock
- Select the Quick Unlock setting you’d like to use, configure your PIN, and reboot
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