Chromebook 101: How to add another user to your Chromebook

Because they tend to be inexpensive and fairly hardy, Chromebooks are often bought as laptops for families, to be shared between parents and kids, or passed around among friends. And because a Chromebook may have more than one user, it needs to have more than one login, so that each user has access to their own personal apps and content.

Adding a new user to a Chromebook is not difficult. Here’s how to do it:

  • Click on the button in the lower right corner (the one that shows the time, battery life, etc.).
  • Click on “Sign out” at the top of the pop-up window.
  • You’ll be brought back to the sign-in screen. At the bottom left of the screen, click on the button labeled “Add Person.”
  • Have the new user sign in using their Google account (or they can create a new account if they don’t have one).
  • The account’s bookmarks, history, passwords, and other settings will be synced to the new machine. If you want to change any of those options, check the box that reads “Review sync options following setup.” Then press “Accept and continue.”
  • Okay, here comes the Google Play terms of service. Go ahead and read them if you want, and then approve them.
  • There is a check box that allows all your data to be backed up to Google Drive. If you don’t want that to happen, uncheck the box. You will also be asked if you want to allow the system to use your location (you can uncheck that box as well) and if you want to review your Google Play options after setup.
  • Finished? Then click on “Accept.”
  • At this point, you will be asked if you want to connect the Chromebook to your phone so that you can share your internet connection with the computer (this is only available with specific phones and Chromebooks), text from your computer, and use your phone to unlock the Chromebook. You can click on “Accept and continue” if you want to do this, or click on “No thanks” if you’d rather not deal with it at this point.

And you’re done! Now, when you click on the sign-on screen, you’ll see two names. Each user will have their separate account, and won’t have access to the other.

If you’re no longer sharing the Chromebook, you can easily remove a user:

  • Sign out of your account so that you’re brought back to the sign-on screen.
  • Click on the downward-facing arrow next to the name of the person you want to take off the computer.
  • Click on “Remove this user.” You’ll be reminded that everything associated with that account, including files and local data, will be deleted.

Keep in mind that, while you can easily remove any additional users that were added to a system from the main sign-on screen, you cannot remove the “owner” of the Chromebook (the first person to create an account on it) without completely resetting the system.

If you want to allow somebody to use your Chromebook just for a few hours rather than for a longer period of time, it’s probably easier to simply have them sign in as a guest:

  • Sign out of your account so that you’re back on the sign-on screen.
  • Click on the “Browse as Guest” button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  • To exit guest mode, click on the time button in the lower right corner of the screen, and then click on “Exit guest.”

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

When you’re in guest mode, you can browse, use Bluetooth, adjust the font size, etc., but you can’t save anything to the computer, and when you’re done, according to Google, your files, cookies, website data, and browsing activity will be automatically deleted.

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