Unlocking your Chromebook with Your Phone, aka SmartLock, is Going Away (Update: It is not)

Google is removing the ability to unlock your Chromebook using Android phones. The feature called SmartLock will soon be removed from a Chrome OS.

Update: SmartLock isn’t going away completely. Read this article from Chrome Unboxed.


Goodbye, SmartLock

SmartLock was a fancy way to unlock your Chromebook when fingerprint-based sign-in wasn’t widely available. It connected your Chromebook with your Android phone via Bluetooth. If the phone is unclocked, you could simply click Sign In to unlock the Chromebook.

Google thinks this feature is no longer relevant in Chrome OS.

The team recently added a way to track how many users have this feature enabled.

SmartLock Metric

Today, they added an experimental flag that removes the SmartLock settings page and also sends a notification to users who might have used this feature in the past.

Remove Sign in with Smart Lock: Deprecates Sign in with Smart Lock feature. Hides Smart Lock on the sign-in screen removes the Smart Lock subpage in settings and shows a one-time notification for users who previously had this feature enabled.

When I saw this code change request, I wasn’t convinced. Are they really removing SmarLock or making some improvements or placing it on a different screen?

My answer came in the form of a change comment:

Google is removing SmartLock from Chrome OS.
Google is removing SmartLock from Chrome OS.


If you have used SmartLock in the past, or currently use it, you’ll soon see a notification about retiring SmartLock. If you never used SmartLock, well, you do know how to read the future.

Do you think this is a smart decision? Let me know in the comments section.

Source: Chromium Repository.

24 responses to “Unlocking your Chromebook with Your Phone, aka SmartLock, is Going Away (Update: It is not)”

  1. This is really dumb. I have a 2018 Google PixelBook with no fingerprint unlock. It is brilliant that if my phone is near enough I merely have to tap my icon and we’re away. How short-sighted this proposal is!

    1. Smart lock is simple secure and reliable. One of the only features that never fails and is used constantly when I am online using my computer. Bad move to delete from operations. Reconsider.

    2. I agree love smart lock I have a brand new Chromebook and decided I did not need a built in fingerprint reader since by pixel 6 pro does. I never was worried this feature would disappear it’s been the for as long as I’ve been using chromebooks. Well hope if it does get removed they bring it back sometime soon

  2. I use this all the time , when it’s working …
    King Size PITA to punch in my password every time the screen goes black .
    I run all Google hardware so it all plays well together . This is very disappointing .

  3. Why is it no longer relevant? I use it countless times every day and it usually works great. Way faster than having to type in a PIN and occasionally my password. Are they going to get rid of it on Android too? I use it on my phone all the time as well, so that either my watch or the Bluetooth receiver in my car keeps my phone unlocked.

    1. Damn,
      I use it with HP chromebox.

  4. Bad decision, I’ve been using Smartlock for quite sometime now. It’s been very useful as i don’t have fingerprint sensor on my HP chromebook.

  5. I agree, I am one of those who regularly uses Smart Lock and will be very sad to see it go. I don’t know why Google feels the need to do this. It will make my life more complicated. ☹️

  6. Alex – United States – Solution Architect at Red Hat

    Yeah, that sucks. Smart lock is a defining feature for chromeos and Chromebooks. I can’t get away from their ecosystem fast enough with their incessant stream of arbitrary and stupid product choices.

  7. I use on hp chromebook and chromebox in the office will miss it obviously google won’t care.

  8. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    Well, it never worked for me, and that’s on a recent Chromebook and a Pixel 4.

  9. I always use this feature, always have and it always works. I turned down an iPhone to stay with Android because this was a feature I wanted to keep..now iPhone or Android is irrelevant as this is going away.

  10. What commie moron thought this to be a good idea?!?

  11. Stupid. Same ol Google. Remove features because the majority doesn’t use it, or they think it will push people to upgrade, I bought my Chromebook less than two years ago and don’t have a fingerprint scanner. So dumb

  12. justinfreitag

    I’d have used the feature if I didn’t have security concerns.

  13. I used to use smart-lock, but stopped when I got a Chromebook with a fingerprint reader. I recently went to try to re-enable it, but my Chromebook says there are no eligible devices (haven’t changed my phone). So I guess if you turn it off, you can’t turn it on anymore? That’s one way to reduce the users to make it seem like “it’s no longer relevant”.

  14. This gotta be the stupidest decision ever.
    I always use this feature because it’s quick and fast way to get back to work, as my Chromebook doesn’t have any fingerprint sensor but my phone does.

    Entering my Google password every, damn, time I locked it or left it for few minutes? Oh my god you’ve gotta be kidding me. This is so frustrating. I know there might be some reason why they’re removing it, but why not improve it/offer an option to keep using it? I really hate how Google seem to keep doing this kind of shit so arbitrarily in so many of their products. So irritating.

  15. NO! Why in the world would the take away such a useful feature! I use it multiple times a day. It is one of the reasons I almost always grab my Chromebook instead of my Dell XPS. Google, please reconsider!

  16. Chromebook is docked so can’t use finger printer without opening lid everytime.

    So really stupid to remove this function

  17. Andrew – based in Cardiff, UK I love to talk about all things ticketing and marketing.

    Like others, I run all Google hardware, use my five to unlock PB Go, really really dumb idea, the whole phone hub project was to bring together hardware. With no bio security features on PBGo this is crazy.

  18. Update to this article at the top: It isn’t going away.

    Here’s what is really going on with Smart Lock on Chromebooks, according to Google
    No, the feature is not being removed


  19. Hum, I use it all the time

  20. This was a horrible decision to remove Smart Lock!!!!

  21. It was a nightmare when I had smart lock and my phone unexpectedly broke. So could not turn on my pixel book since my phone was unavailable. It took almost a week to for a new phone to arrive in the mail due to holidays and COVID delays.
    Also, I tend to misplace my phone (ADHD) and use my pixel book to find it.
    I hated smart lock!
    Thank you for considering these situations also.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply

Discover more from Chrome Story

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading