Google Chrome is a powerful browser. However, you should be careful in protecting your data especially when you are using shared computer for browsing. Chrome offers an in-built password manager to save login passwords/usernames for websites. You have an option to lock incognito tabs in Chrome on iOS and Android apps. However, there are no options to lock Chrome browser app in desktop. In this article, let us discuss how you can lock Google Chrome with to password protect your data.
Why You Need to Protect Browser and Tabs?
You may want to block other users from accessing your personal browsing information like browsing history. While you can set different profiles for every user or setup a guest profile for others, you cannot be confident that your information is safe. Some users will still switch account and view your browsing data or even change your Chrome settings.
It is also essential to keep your data safe and private from your kids when using the same computer. Previously, Google Chrome supported the Parental Control feature but the feature was removed in later versions. Now you can lock incognito tabs in mobile apps and need to use extensions to lock Chrome on desktop devices.
Lock Chrome Incognito Tabs in iOS and Android
On iPhone, you can lock incognito tabs with Face or Touch ID. Though the process is same on Android, you need to use PIN or fingerprint for locking.
- Open Chrome app, tap on three dots icon showing on bottom corner of the app and select “Settings”.
- When you are on the settings page, tap on “Privacy and Security” option.
- On the next page, enable “Lock Incognito Tabs When You Close Chrome” option.
- Chrome will prompt you to confirm the Face ID / Touch ID / fingerprint or PIN depending upon the one you use to unlock your phone.
- After that whenever you open the app and want to access the incognito tabs, you should unlock the screen to view open incognito tabs.
Lock Chrome Desktop App with Password
As mentioned, there are no default Chrome settings available for locking Chrome desktop app. You can use one of the following free extensions from Chrome Web Store.
1. Password Protect Chrome with LockPW Extension
The LockPW is an extension for Chrome that allows you to set up password and prompts you to enter the password whenever you open the browser.
- Visit the Chrome Web Store and search for “LockPW” under the extensions. Click the “Add to Chrome” button on the extension to install it on your browser.
- This automatically leads you to the extension’s settings page.
- First, you need to allow the extension in Incognito and then go back and click “Next” to configure the settings.
- On the left panel of the settings page, switch on your preferred lock option and on the right side type and confirm your password.
- The extension also allows you to add a password hint and limit the number of password attempts.
- Once done, click the save button.
- The power button next allows you to turn off the password protection.
- Whenever you open Chrome, the extension will prompt you to login with a password.
2. Set Password for Chrome with Chrome Lock
This extension helps you to lock your browser with a password to prevent unauthorized access, keeping your private browsing data safe. Once installed, the extension prompts for a password whenever you launch Google Chrome locking out others users from your Chrome profile.
- Go to the Chrome Web Store and add the Chrome lock extension to Chrome.
- A small window will pop-up prompting you to setup the password for the first time. Enter a simple default password (preferably two characters) and click “Ok”.
- Click “Ok” again to close save the password and close the browser.
- Now, every time you are opening the browser, you will need to provide the default password you entered above to start browsing. Enter the password and click the “Ok” button.
- To change your default password, click the extension’s icon on the toolbar and select “Options”.
- Enter the old pass code (default) and the type your new password and click the “Save” button.
- You may also enable the “Dynamic Password” feature by checking the box.
Note: The only major disadvantage of this extension is that it shows your password as you type during login but it is still a perfect option for locking your browser when other people have access to your computer.
3. Protecting Chrome with Lock for Google Chrome
Unlike the above two options which prompts for password when launching Google Chrome, this extension allows you to lock a page in Chrome after a specified time interval. For instance, you can set the extension to lock the browser after 1 to 90 minutes.
- Install the “Lock for Google Chrome” from Chrome Web Store.
- Click the lock icon (yellow padlock) on the Chrome toolbar to turn-on the timer.
- A pop up will appear prompting you to enter the password that you will use to unlock the page.
- Enter your preferred password and click the “Ok” button.
- The timer starts at 1 min, but you can increase the interval up to 90 minutes by clicking on the icon.
- Once your set time interval is up, the extension will lock the page and an authentication dialog will pop up. You can enter the password to unlock the page.
- To turn off the lock, click the time when reading 90min and it will show the “Off” status.
Remember, this extension will not prevent users from launching Chrome. Lock for Google Chrome extension can be useful when you want to leave Chrome browser running for sometimes but you would like to block access after a specific time interval.
If you are sharing Chrome on a family computer or when you lend your PC to a friend, you may need to block other users from accessing your browsing data. Even though you trust your family members or friend, they may be tempted to check on your browsing history or change your browser settings. To prevent this, you can password protect your Chrome profile or the entire browser to block unauthorized users from viewing your personal information. You can use one of the above extensions to achieve this on desktop. For mobile apps, it’s a good idea to use incognito tabs and lock them with the default settings.