It’s common knowledge that Chromebook has clear limited life support right out of the box. This might sound daunting for some people, but keep in mind, that most phones and tablets will only receive supports for two or three years after their release.
Chromebook is no different. But thankfully, Google ensures much longer support for its operating system. In general, each Chromebook model is entitled to 8 years of automatic updates that continuously improve the system, add features, and maintain security. But of course, one day it will be expired.
So, when exactly my Chromebook will stop receiving updates?
Well, as mentioned, it depends on the device’s release date. Google has compiled this long list of Chromebook models along with their respective Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date which you can see here. Or, you may check it directly on your Chromebook by following the steps below.
How to check Chrome OS AUE date
1. Boot up your Chrome OS device (e.g. Chromebook, Chromebox, Chromebase, Chromebit).
2. Navigate to the clock, and then go to Settings.
3. On the left panel, select About Chrome OS.
4. Next, click Additional details.
5. The device’s expiration date can be found at the Update schedule section.
In the example above, my Lenovo Chromebook Duet which was launched in 2020 will receive automatic updates for about 8 years. Beyond that, official updates and support won’t be provided.
What will happen when my Chromebook reaches its end of life?
When the AUE has expired, the device will no longer receive updates from Google. However, you may keep using it, although it will become less secure (and less relevant) over time.
However, I would argue that Google could extend its support on later. Microsoft, for example, was extending Windows XP update multiple times due to vast amount of users and businesses still relying on the operating system. Perhaps, this market-driven force may dictate Google in the same way.
What can I do with my expired Chromebook?
As most Chromebook AUE is still years away, we don’t know the clear implication for sure. But there are several options to try.
1. Just continue using it
Although the operating system is no longer supported, the rest of applications should be working normally. Just be aware that it become more vulnerable as the security patch is outdated. Make sure that you only downloading files from trusted sources.
On the bright side, Google is rumored on working to separate Chrome OS and Chrome browser. From the user perspective, this is a fantastic news. As long as Google Chrome keeps receiving updates, we are still somewhat protected and preventing the surge of old Chromebooks being tossed to the landfill.
2. Install CloudReady on your Chromebook
CloudReady is an operating system based on Chromium OS (same with Chrome OS) with the noble goal of repurposing old (or even new) computers so they don’t have to be scraped. This would allow old Chromebooks to get their new life under a new roof.
Although rooted from the same core, CloudReady differs slightly from the native Chrome OS. This means you might need to adapt with the new system, but on the other hand, there will be more to explore.
3. Upgrade to a newer model
It’s safe to say that Chromebooks in the future will likely have a better specs relative to the one you are holding at the moment. Users that demanding high-power laptops for heavy-task activities might found this option alluring.
However, as brought up before, old Chromebooks could still be used as a decent machine. So, if you need to upgrade, it best to resell the device first, or better, hand it over to a friend who may find the use of it.
Conclusion: Don’t worry
Knowing that a device has an exact expiration date can be scary, that one day it will become obsolete. But, as we learned, it’s not true. Chromebook official support lifespan is very long and even when it passed, the device can repurposed with a similar, or completely different operating system with the help of CloudReady.
Given the rumour that Google is working to separate the Chrome browser and Chrome OS at least relieves us a bit as the company in a favor of not forcing users to throw their aged device.
All things considered, there’s no reason to worry. Your Chromebook will work for years and will so beyond that.