If you don’t use Smart Lock to automatically unlock your Chromebook when your phone is nearby, it can get pretty annoying to type your password every single time you want to log in. Fortunately, there’s a tweak that allows you to use a PIN instead of a password, making the unlocking process much faster.
This new feature is only available in Chrome’s Flags menu, as it’s still currently still in “experimental” stages. The good news is that it appears to be mostly bug-free (or it has been for me on my Chromebook Flip C100, anyway, having only glitched up once or twice). And even if it does mess up, it just defaults to password entry, so you’re not completely locked out of your Chromebook.
Step One: Enable the Material Design Settings Page
Before you can enable PIN unlock, there is one pre-requisite: you must be using the Material Design Settings menu. We have a detailed post on how to enable all Material Design features in Chrome’s flags menu, but if you’re looking for a quick and dirty how-to, here you go: copy and paste the address below into Chrome’s Omnibox and enable the “Material Design Settings” feature.
After this flag has been enabled, hit the restart button at the bottom to perform a quick reboot on your Chromebook. From there, the new Settings menu will be enabled and you’ll be good to go.
Step Two: Enable the PIN Flag and Set It Up
With that taken care of you, there’s one more flag to enable—the one that enables the PIN option in the Settings menu. Again, copy and paste the following into Chrome’s Omnibox:
Then go ahead and enable this feature using the drop-down menu. Once that’s done, you’ll have to restart your Chromebook again using the button that appears at the bottom.
After your Chromebook finishes booting, go ahead and jump into the Settings menu by clicking the system tray and selecting the cog icon.
Since you enabled the Material Design Settings page in the first step, everything will look different now. This new modern Settings page is much sleeker and cleaner, as well as being better organized. You’re looking for the “Screen Lock” entry, which is in the People section.
When you click it, you’ll need to input your current password.
The next screen is simple, with only a handful of options: “Password Only” and “PIN or Password.” Choose the latter, then click “Set up PIN” to input the PIN you’d like to use.
You’ll enter it twice, then click “Confirm.”
And that’s it—from here on out, when you open your Chromebook, you can quickly unlock it by entering your PIN either on the keyboard or by using the available touch pad (on touch screen devices, of course).