Chromebooks are great for anyone who uses them: they turn on in an instant, have great battery life, and updating them is a breeze. But, the day will come when your Chromebook stops getting updates from Google. What do you do then?
Google is upfront with its update policy: you can see the exact month and year a Chromebook or Chromebox will stop receiving updates. Most Chromebooks still have a long life ahead of them, but Google has started cutting off some of the oldest models already. If you have one of the older Chromebooks, you’ll need to start thinking about what to do when the updates stop coming.
Option One: Buy a New Chromebook
This one’s a bit obvious, but it’s worth stating: when your current Chromebook stops getting updates, the best thing you can probably do is buy a newer device. In addition to getting security updates for the next several years, you’ll also make a big leap when it comes to processing power, memory, and battery life, meaning your new Chromebook will be more enjoyable to use.
Chromebooks made in the past two years also have access to Android applications through the Google Play Store, as well as Linux applications. Of course, you can keep using the new Chromebook as a simple web browser, but newer models give you a few more productivity options. Here are our favorite Chromebooks.
Option Two: Install Other Linux Distributions
Chrome OS is built on top of the Linux kernel, which is why newer models can install Linux applications. It also means that users can install Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. There are a few problems you may run into with installing other versions of Linux, but overall, it’s a great way to give your Chromebook a new life.
Option Three: Install CloudReady by Neverware
CloudReady is an operating system developed by Neverware, and it’s mainly used to run Chromium OS on older Windows computers. But, you can use it on Chromebooks, too. Even better, it’ll look and feel just like Chrome OS, while still getting security updates and some new features.
One important thing to consider is that you’ll need at least 8 GB of free space on your Chromebook to unpack the CloudReady OS before writing it to a USB drive. If your older Chromebook only has 16 GB of storage, you’ll need to borrow another machine with more space to make the USB installation drive.
Option Four: Keep Using It Normally
Keep in mind that this isn’t a long term solution. You’ll want to use a device that gets security updates to keep your information safe, and your favorite websites may eventually stop supporting the older version of the Chrome browser your Chromebook is using.
But, don’t feel like you have to make a decision right this second to replace your Chromebook or change its software. It’ll still mostly work, so you can give yourself a few weeks to compare new models, or to decide which Linux operating system you want to switch to.