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 Parental Controls app. See how to set up the Circle app on your Chromebook 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 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 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 in the Circle app on both your Chromebook and on your parent device to set up.
Kid device setup
- Open the Circle app on your parent device.
- Open the profile where you'd like to add your Chromebook.
- Tap on "Devices" and then "Add Mobile Device".
- Now, open the Circle app on your Chromebook and scan the QR code that appears using the Circle app on your parent device. 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.)
- 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.
- Allow the Battery Optimization setting to keep the app running.
Once installed, your kiddo's can open the Circle app on the Chromebook to check their filter status, Time Limits, etc.
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 app from the Chromebook, then reinstalling while logged into your profile using the instructions above. See more info on that here.
What you should know about Chromebooks and the Circle app
- Make sure your Chromebook meets the Circle app requirements above.
- You can't use a Chromebook to manage your Circle account as the Parent experience is not available on Chromebooks.
- Location pinging using the Circle app requires that the location permission is allowed on the device, the device is powered on with the lid open, and your child is logged in.
- To use the Circle app, you must install the app, enable the VPN connection and device admin.
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 might not be able to install and setup the Circle 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 Focus Time can be used without interruption, even when a proxy is in use.
Managing Chromebooks with your Circle device
- Create a parent account and some profiles.
- Set up your Circle device on your main network.
- Make sure your Chromebooks are on your Circle managed network.
- Find and assign your devices to your profiles.
- When your devices are on the main network Circle will track their time online.
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.
Uninstalling the Circle app and Circle VPN from Chromebooks
(These instructions may vary depending on the Chromebook manufacturer and Chrome OS version.)
- Open the Chromebook settings.
- Go to Apps > Google Play Store > Manage Android preferences. (The exact location may vary depending on the Chromebook manufacturer and Chrome OS version.)
- In the Android settings, click on Apps & notifications.
- Find and click on Circle.
- Click UNINSTALL, and then OK to confirm.
At this point the Circle app should be removed along with the Circle VPN. If you have a Circle Home Plus connected and set up, the Chromebook will still be managed under the assigned user profile when it is connected to the same network as your Circle Home Plus device.