Chromebook Overview screen.

USB Type-C is the one connector to rule them all, but that can become a problem when you’re not sure if a certain cable can handle all USB features. Thankfully, Chromebooks now have a partial solution for that issue.

Google announced in a blog post today, “many USB-C cables look identical, but function differently. Now you can get your extra monitor up and running with less headache. Eligible Chromebooks will notify you if the USB-C cable you’re using won’t support displays, or isn’t performing ideally for your laptop. You’ll also get a notification if the cable you’re using doesn’t support the high performance USB4/Thunderbolt 3 standards that your Chromebook does.”

"Cable may not support displays: Your USB-C cable may not connect to displays properly"
Chrome OS notification Google

The new feature will certainly come in handy as Chromebooks with support for Thunderbolt and USB 4.0 (which is almost identical to Thunderbolt 4) are becoming more common. Even though all USB Type-C cables look the same, they can support any number of different standards (USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, etc.) with varying speeds. The best USB Type-C cables can usually at least handle USB 3.0 and an external display, but it’s more of a gamble when it comes to powering larger displays at higher refresh rates.

USB cable alerts are rolling out as part of the new Chrome OS 102 update. However, they are currently limited to Chromebooks with 11th or 12th-generation Intel Core CPUs that support USB 4 or Thunderbolt. In other words, you probably won’t see those alerts on your $200 Chromebook — at least not yet.

Source: Google

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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