Advantages and disadvantages of using a Pin to login to your Chromebook

By - Dan Millward

Published -

To log in to your Chrome OS device, you need to enter your Google account password. You need to do this every time you log in to your Chromebook.

It’s really important to make sure your Google Account password is strong. That means making sure you’re not using a short password that is easy to recognise. I’m not just referring to it being easy for another person to identify. It’s also important to use a strong password so a web bot cannot easily access your account.

To do this we usually add special characters, numbers, and upper case and lower case letters. If you use a strong password it can make it a bit of a chore each time you need to log in to your computer. However, this is preferable to using a weak password that is easy for you to use, but also easy for others to hack your Google account.

Using a PIN for your Chrome OS login

One way to avoid having to enter a strong password each time you log in to your Chromebook is to use a PIN. Using a PIN to log in to your Chromebook will certainly speed up logging into your device each day.

If you own a Chrome OS tablet, which you use often without the keyboard being attached. Then the use of a PIN is even more desirable because entering a long password on a virtual keyboard can be more time-consuming than on an actual keyboard.

If your Chrome OS tablet doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner to log in. Using a PIN is a much easier way to log in to your tablet rather than having to enter a password. However, you should carefully consider whether this is the right thing to do.

You may forget your Google Account password

If you create a PIN to log in to your Chromebook you’ll find it much easier to log in to your computer. However, imagine if you start using a PIN to log in to your device each day. If you do this for six months could it be possible that you forget your Google Account password?

You may think this isn’t something that would happen. I’m not 100% convinced about this because if you stop typing your password on a daily basis. It will be much easier to forget your original password over time.

Apart from when you log in to your Chromebook. It’s highly unlikely you use your Google Account password regularly. As an example, you tend to use your Google Account to register your Android phone, but you very rarely have to use it once you’ve done that. The only reason I regularly use my Google Account password is when I’m logging into one of my Chrome OS computers.

Resetting your Google Account doesn’t fix everything

Although it’s frustrating forgetting a password it’s much easier to reset a password now than it was ten years ago. This is mainly because tech companies understand passwords are easily forgotten because we have so many of them to remember.

Therefore, you usually set up your phone and another email address as recovery options. This allows you to use your other email address or phone to help reset a password you’ve forgotten. It’s true you can reset your Google Account password by doing this, but that doesn’t necessarily fix everything when it comes to logging into your Chromebook.

You may be able to reset your password easily, which will allow you to access your Chrome OS device. However, you would still need to know your old password if you wanted access to any files stored locally on your Chromebook.

This is because your local storage is encrypted with your Google account password. Resetting the password doesn’t give you access to your downloads folder, it simply resets your Google account. You’d still need your old password to access your local storage. You can find out more about this and why you should be careful when storing files locally on your Chromebook.

Using a PIN is safer in public areas

I’ve already mentioned the benefits of using a PIN. Essentially, the main advantage is that it’s much quicker and easier to log in to your Chromebook each day.

We should also mention another advantage of using a PIN is when you use your Chromebook in public areas. For example, if you use your Chromebook every day on the train to work. It would be much less of an issue if someone recognised the PIN you entered to access your device than noticing the password you use for your Google account.

This is because if someone did notice your PIN. They could only do something with that information if they managed to get access to your device. If they managed to take a note of your Google Account password, and also knew your email address. They could try to gain access to your Google account from their own device. A far riskier situation to be in than someone noticing your PIN.

Summary

Using a PIN rather than a password to login to your Chromebook may be quicker and more secure in certain situations. However, you do need to consider the consequences if you forget your password.

It’s true you can reset your Google Account password, but this will not give you access to your local files. You’ll only gain access to these if you know your old password. The fact you’ve had to reset your password would suggest you’ve forgotten your old password, so this also means losing access to any data stored locally.

If you wish to use a PIN to log in to your Chromebook. I would strongly suggest getting into the habit of not storing any important files locally. Only store files locally that you don’t mind losing or you have a copy of elsewhere. Save them in the cloud using Google Drive, and you remove the problem.

Looking for a new Chromebook. Take a look at these Top Ten Chromebooks in 2022.

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