Chrome 57 made the PIN unlock feature available for all Chromebooks.
So, you’re probably wondering what exactly it does and how to turn it on.
PIN unlock has already been in beta for a while now and is old news for many Chrome OS followers.
However, for the typical Chromebook user, this feature is an exciting addition to the list of unique and awesome things Chromebooks can do.
Unlock your Chromebook with a PIN like a smartphone
It does exactly what the name sounds like- unlocks your Chromebook with a PIN. No surprises there.
Let’s find out how to enable it. Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty tucked away within the menus. When I updated to Chrome 57, PIN unlock was the first thing I wanted to mess around with. I had a hard time finding out exactly where it is. The logic flow to get there through navigational menus is quite confusing because of the wording.
The first place I looked was the Smart Lock subsection in the Settings menu. After all, you’d think having both PIN unlock and Smart Lock in the same place would make sense. They’re both accessibility features to access your Chromebook in one way or another.
That yielded no results. So now I’m on a mission.
Enabling PIN unlock
Okay, so I thought maybe I’ll try a search from the Launcher. I hit the Finder key (magnifying glass where “Caps Lock” is on a traditional keyboard), punch in a bunch of variations: “pin,” “unlock,” “pin unlock,” and even “unlock pin” to no avail. So what’s going on? I double check my version of Chrome OS and it indeed stated 57.
I dig around more and voila. Guess where I found it?
In the “People” subsection.
Specifically, in the “Manage screen lock” text link.
If you think about, tucking it under “People” makes sense. It’s your personal PIN unlock and you’d use it yourself. But if you’re looking for this option in the first place, it’s not where you’d expect it to be. And hiding it within a text link makes it that much more obscure.
So I clicked on the text link and I was prompted to type in my Google Account password. This is a good security measure against others trying to mess with your Chromebook’s settings if you happen to step away from your laptop.
Setting the PIN
I punch in my password and then I was greeted with a dialog box for setting the login method. You can choose from either “Password only” or “PIN or password.” I chose the latter and then click on the “Set up PIN” link. I also saw that there’s the option to require your PIN when you wake your Chromebook up from sleep mode.
This is a definite yes, unless you keep your laptop at home and don’t have any snoopers around. It defaults to disabled, so I go ahead and enable it. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want this option enabled if you’re already going through the steps to set up a PIN on your device.
If you’re a paranoid person (like me), you’d probably want your laptop to prompt for a PIN every wake cycle, no?
After I clicked on “Set up PIN,” A PIN selector shows up. There’s only one requirement for setting a secure PIN for your Chromebook:
- Your PIN must be at least 6 digits
So I key in my PIN once, and then twice for security. The screen disappears and it drops me back into the previous menu. Instead of “Set up PIN” it changes to give you an option to change your PIN. Nice.
PIN set and done
And that was it. I excitedly close the lid, wait for the lights to turn to sleep mode, and flip it back open. It prompts for my PIN along with the optional password. It works. Mission accomplished.