You can now unlock your Chromebook with your phone


— 3:20 PM on January 30, 2015

Logging in to a Chromebook has just gotten that much easier—at least in theory. Google says Smart Lock for Chrome, which lets you unlock your Chromebook "just by having your Android phone nearby," is now available.

Enabling the feature takes a little work. For starters, you'll need an Android 5.0 phone (no, tablets aren't supported) as well as a Chromebook running Chrome OS 40 or newer. Next, look through Chrome's advanced settings for the Smart Lock section, then click "Set up" and follow the instructions. The phone and Chromebook must both have Bluetooth enabled, and they must be close enough to detect each other's Bluetooth signals.

As PC World reports, this isn't the first time we've heard about Smart Lock. The feature was unveiled at Google I/O last June, and it's been available in pre-release form since December. This week's announcement correlates with Smart Lock's arrival in the stable version of Chrome OS, so everyone should now be able to partake . . . so long as their phone runs Android 5.0, of course.

I kind of like the idea behind Smart Lock. Most Chromebook owners probably have smartphones, and smartphone users typically don't stray very far from their devices. Some sort of biometric authentication might be more seamless, but I doubt $200 laptops are fertile ground for fingerprint sensors and high-quality webcams.

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