Chromebooks get a remote lock tool for admins

acer chromebook 13 vendor front

The Acer Chromebook 13 has island-style keys and a large trackpad.

Credit: Image: Acer

Google is on a tear adding new security features to Chrome OS. A mere week ago, the company rolled out the ability to automatically unlock your Chromebook when it's near your Android phone, and now another long-anticipated feature is available. Chrome OS just got a basic remote lock feature—if your Google laptop is part of an enterprise or education deployment, that is.

On Wednesday, Google announced an admin console update, which Chrome OS evangelist François Beaufort publicized. The top feature in the update is a mobile-style remote lock feature. If you lose your laptop, you can now tell your IT department about it and they can lock your Chromebook.

device disabled 1

The new Chrome OS remote disable/lock screen. (Click to enlarge.)

Once a device is locked, all anyone will see when they open it up is contact information and a message stating that the device is locked.

The impact on you at home: If you're a regular old Gmail user this new feature is not available for you—at least not yet. It would be hard to imagine Google not rolling out this feature to everyone eventually, considering Android has offered a similar feature for about a year and a half. The remote lock is also pretty bare bones at the moment. You can only disable a device, and there's no option to remotely wipe any locally saved files, for example. Perhaps when more features roll out we'll see this trickle down to consumer level users?

What's next?

While you can only lock your device right now rumors from last year suggest we should see more remote security features headed to Chromebooks. In May 2014, the developer channel of Chrome OS had experimental features for remote wiping, locking, and locating your Chromebook, similar to what you see on Android.

With this week's roll out to large organizations we're seeing the first instance of these security features. Hopefully, more are soon to come, along with consumer-grade access.

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