We are a rather small company here at Unboxed Media but we do utilize some of GSuite’s – ahem – Google Workspace’s products and that includes managing emails and some management tools via the Google Admin Console. Now, when it comes to using a Chromebook, Robby and myself both opt to log in with our personal accounts and add our Chrome Unboxed accounts as secondary users. This gives us full access to all of our personal stuff while keeping work files and such at our fingertips. For me, it’s how I’ve always worked and it has become a natural flow. I have no need to work from a device that is locked down, managed, or in any other way fenced in by the Admin Console.
Joe, on the other hand, spends a good majority of his time editing and therefore, uses the M1 Mac Mini on his desk. When he’s going portable, he jumps on a Pixelbook Go and he prefers to keep his work stuff separate from his personal Google Account. So, he logs in with his Chrome Unboxed email and manages everything out of the company’s Drive and other Google products. It works well for him but the other day, he vented his frustration that he sometimes misses out on some of Chrome OS’s features because he is logged in with his work account. More specifically, Joe wanted to use the new Phone Hub feature on the Pixelbook Go but it isn’t enabled by default on accounts managed by the Admin Console.
Now, I am in no way an IT admin. What little I know about navigating the Google Admin Console I learned out of sheer necessity but I get lost in there relatively easily. Now that GSuite has transitioned to Google Workspace, the Admin Console has undergone another facelift and I’m less familiar with it than ever before. So, when I logged in to see if I could enable Phone Hub for Joe, it took me a few minutes to find my way around. Whether you’re an IT admin for a fleet of devices or you have a Workspace account for personal or small business use, you may be interested in enabling connected devices and I wanted to share the steps to save you some time and frustration.
To get started, you will need to navigate to the Google Admin Console and log in with administrator credentials. If you are the owner of the Workspace account, this will likely be firstname.lastname@example.org. Once logged in, you should be at the main home screen. To enable the Phone Hub and other connected device services, click the hamburger (three horizontal lines) menu at the top-left of the dashboard. From there, hover the “devices” tab and click Chrome. On the next screen, select “User & browser settings.” (You may notice that there is a search bar at the top of the Admin Console. Unfortunately, search for the Phone Hub settings from there produces no results.) On this screen, you will find the Phone Hub settings way down the screen under the “Connected Devices” tab. To get there quickly, press Ctrl+F on your keyboard and search for “phone hub.”
By default, Phone Hub and Smart Lock are disabled by default but users do have access to instant tethering, message sync, and click-to-call. How ironic because some of those features won’t work with Phone Hub disabled. To enable Phone Hub for all users on the domain, click the dropdown to the right of the “Phone Hub” setting and select “Allow Phone Hub to be enabled.” You can also set whether or not users can enable notifications and task continuation. When you’re finished, click “Save” at the top right of your screen. You’re all set. Users should now be able to log out of their managed devices and when they log back in, the Phone Hub will be there for them to set up with their mobile devices. I hope this helps. We’re still learning our way around the Admin Console but you can expect to see more and more tips/how-tos on working with managed users and devices. If you have a question about the Google Admin Console, drop a comment below or shoot us an email. We’d love to help answer some of the most common questions about managed Chrome products.