How and when to use the guest login on Chrome OS

By - Dan Millward

Published -

The guest login on Chrome OS has been around for ages. However, I reckon most of us never look into how it works and why you’d want to use it.

The guest login on Chrome OS is a lot more valuable than you may think. It essentially allows others to use your Chromebook without them having to log in with your account. It also stops casual users of your laptop from using their own Google account.

There are many advantages of getting into the habit of using the guest login. One of the biggest is privacy concerns, but it also helps to ensure your storage isn’t being used up by others.

Why you should use the guest login

Using the guest login is really simple and that’s why you should try and use it. We are creatures of habit and it can take some time before we start doing things differently.

If you have friends or family who want to use your Chromebook using the guest login is the best option. Instead of giving them access to your own account, which could be a privacy concern. Asking them to use the guest login removes all that.

Also, if friends and family use your Chromebook using your own account. You have no idea what they may do when using it. They may download lots of files, which takes up your local storage space. Perhaps they will change settings in the Chrome browser to suit how they work. They could go further by installing Android or Linux apps or changing your Chrome OS settings.

One way around this is to let them log in using their own Google account. This will remove any privacy issues and anything they do on your Chromebook when using their account will not impact yours. However, the one reason why you may not want them to do this is because of storage. If they install a lot of apps, they could easily use up all of your local storage space.

How to use the guest login

If you have friends or family who ask if they can use your Chromebook. It’s really easy to get them to log in as a guest. On your login screen where you’d normally enter your password or pin. You’ll see at the bottom of the display a ‘Browse as Guest’ option.

If you get into the habit of asking people to use this option. It will remove any privacy concerns or worrying about them changing how your Chromebook works. It will allow them to browse the internet as normal whilst removing issues around privacy.

Browse as guest Chrome OS login
Browse as guest login on your Chromebook

Guest users will also be able to download files from the internet. These files will be stored in the Downloads folder, which will be empty. This is because the downloads folder is separate from the downloads folder you have access to from your account.

When the guest user logs out any of the files they have saved in the Downloads folder will be removed. This means you don’t need to worry about other users taking up your storage space. It also means someone else can log in as a guest at a later stage and they will not have access to any of the files or websites the previous guest user was using. Removing concerns you may have about guest users’ privacy.

Removes privacy concerns

I would never let someone use my Chromebook for a long period of time logged into my Google account. It isn’t necessarily that I have anything to hide. However, a lot of information about your life going back years is accessible.

When you consider the number of emails we have sent over the years. Some of these may be private and giving people access to these could be a risk. This is why I’d always ask someone to use the guest login rather than giving them access to my own account.

You can go further with restricting access to your Chromebook. If you have children who continue to log in to your device with their account when you’ve asked them not to. Then you can restrict who can log in to your Chromebook. Find out more about restricting who can log in to your Chromebook.

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