How To Enable Chromebook Kiosk Mode

Chromebook Kiosk Mode is a very neat feature that seems rather limited at first but has huge potential if you use your Chromebook in public. It’s a setting where you can open an application in full screen mode and then lock it down so whoever uses it cannot leave that app and do anything else on the machine. It’s very useful in certain situations, which is why I have put together this tutorial on how to enable Chromebook Kiosk Mode and use it for the power of good.


Chromebook Kiosk Mode

Chromebook Kiosk Mode is designed for device or app testing but is also useful in public situations. For example, I have used it when showing clients how to use a particular web-enabled app. I could initialize Kiosk Mode with the internet enabled knowing full well that they couldn’t spend their time surfing the net instead of paying attention. A small but very useful feature.

Kiosk Mode is a legitimate feature of Chrome OS and may have been around for years but I have only recently discovered it. You can turn it on individually on a single Chromebook or have the Chrome Management Console enforce it on multiple devices. That last would be ideal in a classroom or training scenario. I have only ever set a single device so that’s what we are covering here.

Working with Kiosk Mode

To work with Chromebook Kiosk Mode, you need a kiosk-enabled app, a recent Chromebook (2017 or newer) and a Kiosk license. The license comes as part of Chrome Enterprise or Chrome Education but you can buy one separately.

If you use a managed Chromebook at school or work, you will need admin access to use this mode.

This first part of the process is optional. We perform a clean wipe of the Chromebook in order to stop any private information being accessed by anyone able to circumvent the mode. This is an extra precaution more suitable for the classroom or training environment rather than home use, which is why it’s optional.

You will need to record the login, password and WiFi password before you do this. Remember to save any data you want to keep as this is a factory reset so will delete everything.

  1. Log into your Chromebook and select Settings from the Chrome OS menu.
  2. Select Show Advanced Settings and Powerwash.
  3. Select Restart.
  4. Select Powerwash and then Continue from the popup window.

Once the Chromebook has restarted, you should log in and rejoin the WiFi network. Give it time to download any updates or apps it needs ready for use.

Then you can set up Kiosk Mode.

  1. Sign into your Chromebook and open Chrome.
  2. Select the three dot menu icon.
  3. Select More Tools and Extensions.
  4. Select Developer Mode and enable it.
  5. Select Manage Kiosk Applications in the same menu.
  6. Select Add Kiosk Application and add the ID of the app you want to use.
  7. Select Add and then select Done.

Where you see ‘Add the ID’ in Step 6, this is the alphabetical code you see within the Chrome Store Kiosk app window when selecting an app. You can also select an app in the usual way from the store or use search for something specific. It is entirely up to you.

To enable Kiosk Mode:

  1. Select the Chrome Launcher and the up arrow.
  2. Select the Kiosk app you installed.
  3. Follow the setup wizard for the app to get it ready.
  4. Press Ctrl + Alt + K to enable Kiosk Mode.

You can also set Kiosk Mode to be automatically enabled at boot. Select Auto Launch when setting up the app and when you reboot, your Chromebook will boot into the app and directly into Kiosk Mode.

Create your own Kiosk app

If you don’t find the app you want to use, you could always develop your own. I don’t have the faintest idea about app development but Google have put a guide together explaining the requirements and the processed involved in creating an app and making it Kiosk Mode compatible.

If you’re one of those clever types who can code, this could be the solution for you.

Chromebook Kiosk Mode is a niche feature but can be very useful in certain situations. A couple of small businesses I know use Chromebooks for demonstration purposes and use this mode to ensure customers don’t do anything they shouldn’t. Given how people can be with other people’s stuff, it’s a sensible precaution if you’re going to let the general public loose on your technology!