Google Tests PIN Code Unlocking For Chromebooks

Google is giving Chromebook owners a new way to unlock their laptops, one that Windows users have been taking advantage of for over a year now. It's the ability to sign in to Chrome OS using a PIN code. Previously if someone wanted to lock down their Chromebook, they'd need to use their Google account password or pair it with a smartphone.

The third option was revealed by Google developer and self-proclaimed "Happy Evangelist" François Beaufort, who stated on his Google+ page that this is an experimental feature that's currently being tested in the latest Dev update.

"All you have to do is enable the flag chrome://flags/#quick-unlock-pin, restart Chrome, and go to Chrome Material Design settings page for now to set up your Lock Screen PIN in the new 'Screen Lock' section," Beaufort explains. "When it's done, lock your screen with 🔍+ L and enjoy the new unlock experience!"

Chromebook PIN

He added that the "Quick unlock" settings will also land in the regular Chrome settings page soon, but didn't offer up a specific time frame.

The initial reaction to the feature upgrade is positive so far. And as one user noted in the comments section, this is a great upgrade from a security standpoint.

"It's not so much the convenience of a PIN login, but to not be forced to type in the 'key to the empire' every time you log into just a Chromebook," Michael Gebetsroither noted.

Another commenter, Richard Tan, agreed with that assessment, but also thinks that "this PIN unlock feature should be expanded to also include passwords, so the password is not linked to the Google account but a saparate password just for the device."