How to unlock your Chromebook using your Android phone with Smart Lock

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Originally called “Better Together”, Google’s pairing of Android phone and Chromebook allows you to get back into your computer quicker and stay connected thanks to SMS syncing and Instant Tethering. Turning on this connected device feature on your Chromebook is easy, and you should absolutely use it, especially if you’re already using Smart Lock to keep your phone unlocked when it’s on your person or paired to your smart watch.

Products used in this guide

  • Pretty practical laptop: Lenovo Chromebook C340-11 ($250 at Best Buy)
  • Google’s software in a durable shell: Google Pixel 3a ($400 at Amazon)

How to pair your Android phone to your Chromebook

Click the time and battery indicator on the right side of your Chromebook’s dock.

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Click the gear icon to open Settings.

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Under Connected devices, click Set up.

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In the setup window, you can select a single Android phone to link to your Chromebook for Connected device. If the phone listed under Select a device is not the one you wish to use, click the dropdown menu.
Click your desired phone.

Click Accept & continue.

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Enter the password for your Google account.

Click Done.

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After Google verifies your password, you’ll get a completion screen. Click Done to exit the Connected device setup window.

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With your phone and Chromebook connected, here’s how Smart Lock will work the next time you wake your computer up from sleep mode.

How to unlock a computer with Smart Lock

Unlock your paired Android smartphone. If you use Smart Lock on your phone, ensure that it hasn’t timed out and re-locked due to inactivity or turning off a connected smartwatch/Bluetooth speaker.
Open your Chromebook’s lid.
On the login screen, look at the lock next to your name. The lock will turn green when the Chromebook recognizes your connected phone is unlocked.

Once the lock turns green, tap your profile picture to unlock the Chromebook.

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If the lock turns yellow, the Chromebook either couldn’t find your connected phone or thinks your connected phone is locked. In either event, you’ll have to input your password the old-fashioned way.

Make your Chromebook feel like home

While once upon a time budget Chromebooks were only really available in black or white, these days color has invaded the Chromebook world, and the best Chromebook for most folks today is availble in Platinum Gray or a much more fun Sand Pink. The C340-11 is durable yet refined, with battery life that can go all day and ample ports for all your accessories.

Practical and pretty

Lenovo Chromebook C340 (11.6″)

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  • $250 at Best Buy (32GB Platinum Gray)

  • $320 at Amazon (64GB Sand Pink)

The new best Chromebook is ready to rock the real world

Durable and dependable as the Lenovo C330 it replaced, the C340-11 is a Chromebook that dresses up the affordable workhorse with an aluminum lid, two color options, and Lenovo’s reliability.

If you’re reading Android Central, chances are you already have an Android phone — and any modern Android phone will work with your Chromebook for Smart Lock — but if you don’t, get almost a flagship experience without spending flagship money with the Google Pixel 3a. Google’s latest features and quick updates, not to mention one of the best camera experiences on any phone today, make this $400 phone an absolute steal. Oh, and unlike most recent phones, the 3a is a phone you can comfortably use one-handed.

Google’s best for less

Google Pixel 3a

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$400 at Amazon $399 at Walmart

A core Pixel experience — and camera — for hundreds less

If you’re new to Android, this phone is the best place to start. Between a cleaner software experience, best-in-class camera and better battery life than the latest Pixel 4, why would you buy anything else? If you’re on AT&T, this is also one of the only unlocked phones to support Wi-Fi Calling.