Access your Chromebook remotely using this handy guide.

How to Remote Access Your Chromebook, PC, Android, Mac, iOS, or Linux Computer with Chrome Remote Desktop

So, you want to connect to your Chromebook with another computer.

Or maybe connect to another computer with your Chromebook. Or how ‘bout connect to your Chromebook with your phone or tablet?

You can do it with the Chrome Remote Desktop app.

All you need is Chrome.

This guide will answer all your questions.

Thankfully, this is super easy to do, and fills the gap between having a Chromebook that can’t run Windows applications to having a computer that can run almost anything.

Use the Chrome Remote Desktop app

Chrome Remote Desktop is an app that'll let you connect to your Chrome-powered devices.
Chrome Remote Desktop is an app that’ll let you connect to your Chrome-powered devices.

You can easily connect to your Chromebook with another computer as long as you have an Internet connection on both devices. With the Chrome Remote Desktop app, you can connect to your Chromebook from any other device- whether it be a phone, computer, or tablet. You can access all your saved files, applications, videos, pictures, and other media on another device other than your Chromebook.

Perhaps you left your Chromebook at home and you need to take a quick peek at a document saved locally on it. You can do so remotely with your phone. Or maybe you need to show a funny cat video to your coworkers you have saved on your Chromebook. You can do so at work. On the work computer. (Given that it’s running Chrome and has the app installed.)

Note that this goes both ways. You can access all your saved stuff on your Chromebook from another computer, or you can access another computer from your Chromebook. Here’s a list of all the things you can do with Chrome Remote Desktop:

  • Remotely connect to a Chromebook from another Chromebook
  • Remotely connect to a Chromebook from a computer
  • Access to a Computer from a Chromebook
  • Access to a computer from a computer
  • Remote access to any of the above on a phone or tablet
  • Give a presentation using a virtual mouse or pointer

Chrome Remote Desktop reviews suggest it’s the best app for remote access

Chrome Remote Desktop is provided by Google and is highly-rated. The reviews for the app are excellent and users state that it’s super easy to use and setup. Although, some reviews are negative because it doesn’t work for all devices just yet.

However, for most users, reviews are very positive and it should also work for most people without a problem.

As long as both devices have Chrome Remote Desktop running, you can remotely connect to it.

Whatever you’re doing, here’s how you can access your Chromebook from another computer, or vice versa. There are other alternatives that you can check out below (well, actually only one alternative that works similar to Chrome Remote Desktop- which is Teamviewer).

Download the Chrome Remote Desktop app on both devices

You’ll need to download the Remote Desktop app to set up a remote connection.

You can download it using the following links:

Get it for iPhone/iPad

Get it for Android device

Get it for Mac/Windows computer

Download it and install it onto both devices you want to be linked. Obviously, you want it downloaded onto your Chromebook for one of the devices. As for the other, that’s up to you.

Allow your Chromebook or computer to be remotely accessed

You’ll need to enable remote access on your computer or device you want to connect to your Chromebook.

If you’re using a Chromebook, skip this step entirely to Step 3. Hooray.

If not, then go ahead and:

Step 1: Type “chrome://apps” into your omnibox (address bar) in the Chrome web browser. Or you can simply open up your browser and click on the “Apps” button in the bookmarks bar.

Step 2: After you’ve launched the app, click on Chrome Remote Desktop to launch the app.

Step 3: Click on “Get started” under the “My Computers” tab.

Step 4: Enable remote connections. Then install the Chrome Remote Host service on your computer, depending on whichever one you’re using to connect to your Chromebook:

After you’ve enabled remote access to your Chromebook or computer, you’ll need to connect to your remote computer.

If you’re on a Windows device:

Step 1: You’ll need to enter a PIN, and then confirm it. Install the Chrome Remote Host service. It’ll install automatically. Then, confirm the Google Account and type the PIN again. You’re all set.

The computer will now show up under the “My Computers” tab.

Step 2: Remember the PIN for access.

If you’re on a Mac device:

Step 1: Chrome will download a .dmg file. Save it. After it’s been saved, open it and follow the instructions.

Step 2: After installation, go back to Chrome. Confirm remote access on your Mac device.

Step 3: Type in a PIN and re-enter it, then confirm your PIN.

Step 4: A dialog will appear. Unlock it with your PIN to confirm your account. You’ll get a confirmation box. Click “OK.”

Your Mac will now be available under “My Computers.”

If you’re on a Linux device:

Step 1: Install the Debian package here.

Step 2: You’ll need to create a virtual desktop session. Go to /usr/share/xsession/ to find the .desktop file.

Step 3: Next, you’ll need to create a file called “.chrome-remote-desktop-session” in the home directory by using the following command:

“exec /usr/sbin/lightdm-session “<YOUR_EXEC_COMMAND>.”

Replace “<YOUR_EXEC_COMMAND>.” with the command following ‘Exec=’ from the .desktop file.

Step 4: Enable remote connections on your Linux device by opening the Chrome Remote Desktop app and clicking “Enable remote connections.”

Step 5: Type in a PIN and confirm it. The click “OK.”

Step 6: Read the confirmation dialog. You’re all set.

Access your Chromebook or computer remotely

To access your Chromebook from another computer, you’ll need to do the following steps:

Step 1: Launch the Chrome browser. Type “chrome://apps” in the omnibox (address bar) and hit Enter.

Step 2: Launch the Chrome Remote Desktop app. Look at the “My Computers” section, which should display the computer you recently added. Type in the PIN for that computer. You should see your Chromebook there.

Step 3: Click “Connect” and you’re done.

To access your Chromebook from a phone or tablet:

Step 1: Launch the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your phone or tablet. Then look for your Chromebook that you added to the list.

Step 2: You’ll notice you have two options of how you want to control your computer. Choose the proper option.

You can either treat your phone or tablet as a virtual mouse and control your computer remotely, which is called “Trackpad mode.” Or you can do actions on your computer, which is called “Touch mode.” The controls are pretty much what you’d expect and are pretty intuitive. If you want to give a presentation and use your phone or tablet as a virtual mouse on your computer, use the “Trackpad mode.”

Here are some gestures you can make while in a remote connection:

  • You can show the keyboard by swiping up with three fingers.
  • You can show the toolbar by swiping down with three fingers.
  • You can right-click by touching the screen with two fingers, limited to Trackpad mode.
  • You can middle-click by touching the screen with three fingers, limited to Trackpad mode.
  • You can scroll up or down by swiping with two fingers.
  • You can click and drag by touching the screen, then dragging.
  • You can zoom by stretching with two fingers.

Giving someone else access to your computer (hosting)

You can grant access to your computer or Chromebook with the Chrome Remote Desktop app. To do so is simple. This is also called “hosting” your Chromebook. The “host” is the source of where you’re connecting to.

Step 1: Open the Chrome Remote Desktop app by either using “chrome://apps” in the omnibar or opening it from your app library.

Step 2: After you’ve launched the app, look for the “Remote Assistance” section. Click on it to expand it and see all the options.

Step 3: Click on the “Share” button.

Step 4: You’ll be generating a unique access code. This code is unique to this session. After you get the code, send it to whoever you want to allow access to your computer or Chromebook remotely.

Step 5: When you’re done, click “Stop sharing” to end the session and stop your visitor from accessing your computer or Chromebook.

Note: Doing this allows whoever you great access to your computer visibility of your email address and full access to your computer or Chromebook- including files, images, videos, history, and everything else. So be careful.

Connecting to a computer or Chromebook remotely

Connecting to a Chromebook or computer that someone wants to give you access to is easy.

Step 1: Launch the Chrome Remote Desktop app by typing “chrome://apps” in the omnibar, or by using your app library and launching it there.

Step 2: Click the “Access” button.

Step 3: Type in the access code given to you by your remote partner.

Step 4: Click “Connect.”

You have full control over the computer or Chromebook you’re connected to. You can access files, media, videos, and more.

Tips and Troubleshooting

You can boost the performance of your remote connection by having a secure and fast Internet connection. Try to get the fastest connection possible, especially if you’re out in public.

Not connecting? Check your firewall settings. Also, check that your network allows sharing between networks.

Stay secure by updating to the newest version of Chrome on both devices.

Chrome Remote Desktop vs. Teamviewer – an alternative solution

Teamviewer is a popular remote desktop access program that can be used instead of Chrome Remote Desktop.
Teamviewer is a popular remote desktop access program that can be used instead of Chrome Remote Desktop.

If Chrome Remote Desktop doesn’t work for you, you can try Teamviewer. Teamviewer is similar to Chrome Remote Desktop, however, it’s not made by Google. There are some benefits and perks of using Teamviewer over Chrome Remote Desktop:

Teamviewer Pros:

  • You can download into a flash drive and make it mobile
  • Not browser-based
  • Windows 8 support for gestures and menus
  • Free

Teamviewer Cons:

  • Connection can lag
  • No Linux support

But on the other hand, you have Google’s Remote Desktop app…

Chrome Remote Desktop Pros:

  • Backed by Google
  • Connection seems to be more smooth
  • Free
  • Linux support
  • Easier to setup
  • Highly-rated

Chrome Remote Desktop Cons:

  • Browser-based
  • No support for Windows 8 gestures and menus
  • No portability for hardware
  • Requires you to be signed into your Google Account

Want to try out Teamviewer? You can check it out and download it here. Choose the proper build for your system.

Did you hook it up?

If you’re still having problems, this video may help you out:

 

Well, that’s about it.

Connecting to another computer or to your Chromebook via Chrome Remote Desktop is simple enough. With a remote connection to your Chrome device, you can easily access files or media from another Chromebook or computer. You can also use your phone or tablet to give presentations as a virtual mouse, or just access your computer from a remote location. You can use the service completely free and it works out of the box. If you have any questions getting it to work, leave a comment and I’ll try to help out.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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