Would you like to try out the nifty features in upcoming versions of Google Chrome, or would you rather switch back to the stable version?  Here’s how you can quickly switch between the dev, beta, and release versions of Chrome.

Google Chrome seems to have a new version coming out all the time, and is already on version 5 after being released less than two years ago.  Chrome makes it easy to stay up to date since it automatically installs the latest version without any prompts or installs, so you can simply install Chrome and use it without worrying about updates.  However, there are actually three different release channels of Chrome available: release, beta, and dev.  The release channel is the default, standard version of Chrome, and it will generally be the most stable on any platform.  The beta channel is best for those who like to live on the cutting edge, and don’t mind a few glitches in exchange for the latest features.  The dev channel is the developer preview, and will often be the least stable as it is the test bed for new ideas.

Discover What Channel of Chrome You’re Using

If you don’t already know what edition of Chrome you’re using, click the gear button and then select About Google Chrome.

This will open a dialog showing your current version of Chrome.

If you’re running the standard release version, the About window should look similar to the one above, showing your current version.  If you’re using the beta channel, you’ll notice that your version number says beta after it.

Or dev if you’re running the developer preview version.  Note that this version will often have a much higher version number than the release version, since it is the earliest preview of the next version.

Switch to a Different Channel of Chrome in Windows

If you’re ready to switch to a different channel of Chrome, head to the developer page listed below, scroll to the list for your operating system, and select either the stable, beta, or dev channel, depending on the one you want.

Click the Download Google Chrome button if you’re selecting the stable, default version.

Accept the license agreement by clicking Accept and Install.

Now, without any more clicks, Chrome will automatically download and install.  If you were browsing in Chrome, exit Chrome and then once the installer window closes it will automatically open your new version of Chrome.

Reverting to an Older Version of Chrome

If you’ve been running the dev or beta version of Chrome and revert to the stable version, you may be actually downgrading to an entirely older edition.  For example, the current dev version is version 6, while the beta and stable are still 5.  When downgrading from a newer version to an older, you may be prompted to first uninstall Chrome.

If you see this, open the Add/Remove Programs section in Control Panel, and select to uninstall Google Chrome.

Since you’re planning on reinstalling Chrome as soon as you’re done, simply leave both of these boxes unchecked and click Uninstall.

Now install the version you want as above.

Switch to a Different Channel of Chrome in Ubuntu

If you’d like to switch to a different channel of Chrome in Ubuntu, you could reinstall Chrome as in Windows.  However, there’s an easier option in Ubuntu.  Open your Ubuntu Software Center, and then select the Google tab on the left.

This will list the available versions of Chrome.  You’ll see a check mark beside the version you have installed.  To switch to a different channel, select the stable, beta, or dev channel, depending on what you want, and click Install.

Once the install finishes, restart the Chrome browser.  Now you’ll be running the new channel of your choice.  You can always switch back the same way.

Upgrade to the Latest Version of Chrome

As mentioned before, Chrome automatically updates itself to the latest version.  If you’ve heard about a new feature in Chrome and don’t seem to be seeing it in your browser, you could be ready for an update.  Open the About Chrome window as above, and if a new version is available, you’ll be notified at the bottom of the About window.

You may also see a popup prompting you to restart the browser for the changes to take effect.  Once you’ve closed and restarted Chrome, you’ll see the new features in place.

Update in Ubuntu

If you check your About Chrome window in Ubuntu, you’ll see the version number and channel but will not see if you’re running the latest version.

In Ubuntu, Chrome updates will be installed along with your standard Ubuntu updates.  If you want to see if an update is available, check your system updates and you’ll see Chrome listed if an update is available.  If there’s one listed, install updates as normal, and then restart Chrome when they’re installed to see the changes.


Whether you’re wanting to try out the latest features in the dev versions of Chrome or would rather play it safe with the stable release, it’s easy to use the channel of Chrome you want.  If you decide to try out a dev or beta version but then want to go back to the stable, you can feel safe that you can get everything back like you want in only a few moments.


Select the channel of Chrome you wish to use

Download Google Chrome – standard release version

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
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