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How to connect your Android phone to your Chromebook via Phone Hub

A few short years ago, connecting your Android phone to your Chromebook was a bit of a hassle. Now, the process is incredibly easy and the benefits are considerable.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Using the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3i
June Wan/ZDNET

One of the best reasons to use a Chromebook is simplicity. Anyone can log in to a Chromebook and start using it without much thought. And if you make use of the Google ecosystem, Chromebooks are an even easier sell.

You might, however, be curious as to whether you can connect your Android phone to your Chromebook for features like Smart Lock, instant tethering, syncing of open tabs and recent photos, notifications, and even Wi-Fi sync. I'm happy to tell you there's been an option to make that connection for some time. However, back in 2021, Google introduced a new feature, called Phone Hub, that greatly simplifies the syncing process. Prior to that, the process could be a bit of a challenge

Also: 5 quick tips to strengthen your Android phone security today

Fortunately, Google understands the draw of ChromeOS is making everything easy for all user types. To that end, they decided to apply the concept to the phone/laptop connection and created Phone Hub, which offers seamless switching between your Android phone and your Chromebook.

And, since you're using the Google ecosystem, your phone and Chromebook already enjoy access to your contacts, email, and documents saved in Drive, so Phone Hub merely adds the icing to the already delicious cake.

But how do you use Phone Hub to connect your phone to your Chromebook? As you probably expect, it's very easy. Let me show you how.

How to connect your phone to Phone Hub

What you'll need: The only things you'll need to make this work are a Chromebook with an updated version of ChromeOS and an Android phone or tablet. 

Also: How I recovered 'irreplaceable' photos off an SD card for free

Of course, you'll also need a valid Google account, but if you're using either one of those pieces of hardware, you already have that account. With that said, let's get busy.

1. Get online

The first thing to do is to make sure both devices are on the same wireless network. Once you've taken care of that issue, move on to step 2.

2. Open Phone Hub

Log in to your Chromebook and click the icon on your Shelf that looks like a mobile phone. When the popup appears, click Get started.

The bottom right section of a ChromeOS desktop.

The Phone Hub icon is the one in the darker circle.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Select your phone or tablet

On the resulting window, click the dropdown below Select a device, and choose the phone or tablet you want to connect to your Chromebook, and click Accept & continue.

The ChromeOS Phone Hub device select drop-down.

Depending on the devices you have associated with your Google account, this dropdown's contents will vary.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Type your Google password

When prompted, type your Google password. If you have 2FA enabled for your account, you'll have to either enter the 6-digit code or accept the login on your Android device.

The Phone Hub Google account password prompt.

You must type the password for your Google account to continue.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Configure Phone Hub

When prompted, click Done and the ChromeOS Settings app will open to the Connected devices section, where you can configure the Phone Hub features. You can enable/disable any options and also set up Recent photos and apps. 

Also: How to easily transfer contacts from Android to iPhone

If you opt to set up Recent photos and apps, you'll need to make sure your phone or tablet is nearby and unlocked, with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for both your Chromebook and your phone or tablet. You'll also have to give your device access to your Chromebook, so that it can stream apps from your phone, if that's a feature you want to use. 

The ChromeOS Settings app opened to Connected Devices.

When you complete the Phone Hub wizard, the ChromeOS Settigns app will open, where you can configure the available options.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Phone Hub makes connecting your Android phone/tablet to your Chromebook a no-brainer. By setting this feature up, you can respond to notifications that appear on your phone on your Chromebook. For those people who prefer typing on a standard keyboard over a phone, this feature can be a real game-changer.

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