6 important things you may not know about Chrome OS upgrades
Chrome OS is not like other operating systems – and the way it handles upgrades is no exception.
In many ways, Google’s Chrome OS platform is really starting to look like a desktop version of Android. It looks like Android, it acts like Android and it even runs Android apps. But despite all their similarities, Chrome OS and Android still differ quite significantly.
One of them is how the two operating systems handle upgrades. Software updates on Chrome OS are much simpler, more frequent, and more consistent than what you see on Android – to say the least – and you, as a user, have a lot more visibility into exactly what is going on and what awaits you.
Whether you’re already using Chrome OS or just considering whirling it, here are some important things to know and remember.
1. Chrome OS upgrades happen automatically and silently, without annoying delays or notifications.
The first rule of Chrome OS upgrades is that your device does not talk about Chrome OS upgrades. Google software automatically updates in the background when you use your Chromebook; the system won’t bother you to restart or make you wait while it applies new software at startup (except the very first time you turn on and sign in to a new Chrome OS device).
You will see a small arrow icon in the lower right corner of the screen, near the clock, whenever a new update has been downloaded and is ready to work. If you open it, you will be given the option to apply the update immediately; otherwise, it will take effect only on its own without fanfare the next time you restart.
You can manually force a Chromebook to check for updates by going to its help screen (chrome: // help) – but unless you’re impatient and want something new, there really isn’t need to do it. Updates will always show up and take care of themselves in no time.
2. Chrome OS upgrades happen every two to three weeks – sometimes even more frequently – no matter what device you have.
Software updates on Chrome OS are delivered several times a month – and since they are sent to all devices directly from Google, they usually appear for everyone around the same time. Device manufacturers cannot change the operating system as they do with Android, so there is no real difference in software from one device to another and therefore no need for the manufacturers to be involved in the deployment process.
Officially, the regular stable version of Chrome OS is updated every two to three weeks with minor fixes and every six weeks with larger revisions. Sometimes, however, upgrades happen even more frequently than that.
3. You can speed up your Chrome OS update schedule and get quick access to new features if you want.
Like Google’s Chrome browser, Chrome OS has three different channels to choose from: the stable channel, which provides fully tested and refined software and is the best bet for most users; the beta chain, which is updated approximately every week and which sees new functionalities more than a month before the release of its stable chain; and the Dev channel, which is often updated several times a week and includes cutting edge elements that are always actively developed (and often rough at the edges or sometimes even completely non-functional as a result).
If you want to try another channel, type chrome: // help in the address bar of a browser tab on your Chromebook. Click “Detailed version information”, and then click “Edit channel”. Select the desired channel and follow the steps provided by the system to complete the process.
Just be aware that anything other than Stable can – by its very nature – make your system less stable to use, since it relies on software that is still being tested and developed instead of a polished final version. The Dev channel in particular is accompanied by a warning that it is prone to bugs and should only be selected by advanced users who are interested in seeing what’s going on and are not afraid of occasional problems.
4. You can find out what’s new in a Chrome OS update – if you know where to look.
Even if Chrome OS itself doesn’t jump and shout about incoming upgrades, Google provides detailed information on what’s readily available for the curious of us. The easiest way to keep an eye on versions is to follow the official Chrome versions blog. Search for posts involving the Chrome OS channel you are using (“Stable channel update for Chrome OS”, for example), and click inside to find out what has changed with a given update.
5. Chrome OS devices don’t get updates forever, but they do get them for quite a long time.
Google reports that all Chrome OS devices now receive regular upgrades for at least six and a half years from the first appearance of their chipset on the platform, which generally means that any given device will be updated for at least five years from the date of original sale. . In some cases, the window ends up being even longer.
(Note: an earlier version of this story stated that the upgrade warranty was six and a half years from the date of launch of a device, but Google clarified that the term is actually now linked to the launch chipset, not the device itself – a change from the way things were run.)
6. You can check how long a Chrome OS device will receive updates at this time – or even before you buy it.
Google maintains a Chrome OS end-of-life database that indicates exactly when each Chromebook (and Chromebox) will stop receiving operating system updates. It tends to be updated fairly quickly when new devices are launched, so whenever you are thinking about purchasing a Chrome OS product, first go to this page to be fully informed of how long it will take to update. day.
An important footnote to keep in mind: device end-of-life dates sometimes end up being pushed back later than originally stated – giving you a longer than expected update period – but Google promises never to go the other way, and you will never end up receiving a shorter support window than what this page promised.
And with that, congratulations: you are now officially an expert on upgrading Chrome OS.
You can read our review of the best chromebook for kids here.