How to use a custom passphrase to securely sync your Chrome passwords and data
Google Chrome syncs a ton of data, including an increasingly useful password manager, across all of your devices. This is arguably one of the things that makes Google Chrome so useful. The service is called, quite creatively, Google Sync. Google Sync matches data across all your phones, tablets, and desktops, including your favorites, history, open tabs, passwords, payment information, and more. You might be thinking “That’s a lot of private data” and you are right. You might also be wondering how you can keep this data private even from Google.
The good news is that you can tell Google to encrypt all of your data, even from Google, by setting up a passphrase. Once you do, it will encrypt all of your data except on other devices with your Google account. The best news is that Google will no longer see this information, not even the passphrase.
The bad news is, it’s a one-way ticket. Once you set up the passphrase, if you change your mind or forget your passphrase, you will need to reset the sync, which means all your previously stored data will be gone. Needless to say, proceed with caution.
In addition, there are other restrictions. You will need to enter your password on any Google device you configure in the future. You’ll also need to enter your password on any device you’re currently signed in to. Google Feed will no longer show you stories based on your web history. You will not be able to view your saved passwords on the web (passwords.google.com), nor use Smart Lock on your Android devices. Finally, not all of your browsing history will be synced between devices. Only web addresses you type in Chrome’s address bar will sync.
That’s a lot of caveats, but if you still want to keep going, here are the steps.
How to set up a sync passphrase in Chrome for Desktop
- Open Chrome.
- Click on the three dots next to your profile picture in the upper right corner of the browser.
Click on Settings. Note: If you’re using a Chromebook, the steps are the same from here on out. Just click on the clock> Settings in the lower right corner of ChromeOS.
Click on Synchronization services and Google.
Click on Encryption options to expand this menu down.
Click it Encrypt synchronized data … radio button.
Type your password and confirm it in the second box. Click on Save.
How to set up a sync passphrase on your Android or iOS phone or tablet
- Open Chrome.
- Tap the three dots in the upper right corner.
- Tap Settings.
- Press the Encrypt synchronized data … radio button.
Enter your password and confirm it on the second line. Then press Save.
That’s it! You configure your password. It’s worth repeating that if you set this up, the only way to undo it is to delete all of your synced data up to that point, so be sure and remember. Remember the other caveats detailed above. Then decide for yourself if it’s worth a bit more security.
Password on ChromeOS
Convertible Chrome Tablet
You can also set a passphrase on ChromeOS, and if you do, the Lenovo Duet is a great device to familiarize yourself with. With a keyboard and case right in the box, you can quickly go from streaming to productivity. This tablet also has 128 GB of storage and full compatibility with Android applications.
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