Chromebooks are increasingly the laptop of choice for students and schools. These devices may require special handling to get the most out of your Circle experience. Here are some important things to keep in mind when using a Chromebook on your home network.
Managing Chromebooks using the Circle Parental Controls app
Can I manage my Chromebook with the Circle Parental Controls app?
Starting with the release of Circle Parental Controls version 2.18 for Android, you can manage certain models of Chromebooks using the Circle kid app. See how to set up the Circle kid app in the section below.
The Circle app is not yet supported on Chromebooks for parent activities, like setup and management of the Circle account.
What are the requirements for managing my Chromebook with the Circle kid app?
- The Chromebook must have the Google Play Store enabled.
- The Chromebook must support installation of Google Play Store apps.
- The Android container the Chromebook uses must support Android 6 or higher. Check with your device's manufacturer that it supports Android 6+.
- Some Chromebase and Chromebox devices are not supported. Check the list of support devices here.
How do I install the Circle kid app on my Chromebook?
- Open the Google Play Store app on your Chromebook.
- Search for "Circle Parental Controls" and install the app.
- Open the Circle app and tap "Get Started".
- Follow the prompts on your Chromebook and Circle parent app to set up.
Kid device setup
- Open the Circle app on your parent device.
- Open the profile you'd like to add your Chromebook to.
- Tap on "Devices" and then "Add Mobile Device".
- Now, open the Circle kid app on your Chromebook and scan the QR code that appears using the Circle parent app. This will associate the device with the profile you're editing.
- Install the Circle app VPN (this will ensure the device is managed wherever it goes) and activate the device admin app.
- Make sure to allow the device location permission. This will ensure the Chromebook can be located while your child is logged in and the device is powered on.
- Enable Circle app deletion prevention to keep the app from being deleted and the Chromebook from evading Circle. You'll need to follow the instructions to open Accessibility settings and then enable the Circle deletion service.
- Allow the Battery Optimization setting to keep the app running.
Once installed on the Chromebook your kiddo's can open the Circle app to check their filter status, Time Limits, etc. on the Chromebook.
How do I resolve "Check VPN" issues on my Chromebook?
If you get a notification saying that the Chromebook needs the VPN checked, try uninstalling the Circle kid app on the Chromebook, then reinstalling on your profile using the info above. See more info on that here.
What you should know about Chromebooks and the Circle kid app
- Make sure your Chromebook meets the Circle kid app requirements above.
- This is currently a BETA feature. You can leave feedback on the feature from the Circle kid app menu on the Chromebook by going to Menu >> "Share Feedback".
- Right now, you can't install the Circle parent app on Chromebooks.
- Location pinging using the Circle kid app requires the location permission is allowed on the device, the device to be powered on, with the lid open, and your child being logged in.
- To use the Circle kid app, you must install the app, enable the VPN connection and device admin.
- We recommend enabling the Circle app deletion prevention service during the kid app install to keep the app from being deleted.
If your child received a school-issued Chromebook, you may experience problems getting Circle to manage it properly.
Many school-issued Chromebooks are managed by the school's IT department through a tool called a "proxy." This tool will force all Internet activity from the Chromebook to funnel through a secure connection to the school's systems, even when used outside of the school. If this is how your Chromebook is set up, Circle's tracking processes may not work properly and you likely won't be able to install the Circle kid app.
Here are some issues you may encounter and tips for making the most of Circle when a proxy is in place:
- Filters, Usage, and History will not work properly with a Chromebook proxy.
- Time Limits will work partially with a proxy. We recommend continuing to use the Daily Time Limit to manage online time spent on the Chromebook.
- Pause, Bedtime, and Off Times can be used without interruption, even when a proxy is in use.
Identifying a Chromebook in your device list using a MAC address
Chromebooks will often show up in your Circle account with strange names you don’t recognize and can be hard to identify. This is especially true if your family receives multiple Chromebooks of the same kind from a store or school.
One way to figure out which device is which in your Circle device list is by locating the unique ID (called a "MAC address") for your Chromebook and matching it to an unaccounted-for device in Circle. You can learn more about this process in our device identification guide.
Here is how to locate your Chromebook's MAC address and IP address:
- Sign in to your Chromebook.
- Select Time from the bottom right.
- Select the Wi-Fi network.
- At the top of the box, select Information.
- You'll see your Chromebook's IP address and IPv6 address. Your MAC address is labeled Wi-Fi.