Chrome OS 76 Stable version arrives: Here’s what you need to know

Google announced the release of Chrome OS 76 to the Stable Channel on Monday, with a staged rollout now underway.

The original target date for this software platform update was August 6, so although Chrome OS 76 is a little late. However, this version may be worth the wait due to a large number of features and functions that have been added in addition to bug fixes.

Note that although the rollout has begun today, it may take a few weeks before your Chromebook is updated.

Google has shared just two of the new features, so let’s get them out of the way first:

  • Automatic Clicks: This new Accessibility setting lets you hover or a button or icon in Chrome OS and after a few seconds, the item will be automatically clicked for you. Google says that in addition to a left click “you can now right-click, double click and click and drag” and that this feature works with a trackpad, external mouse and head-tracking devices.
  • Media Control: A click on your system menu now shows media playback controls in addition to notifications and system setting shortcuts. I’m actually not a fan of these, so I turn them off using this flag: chrome://flags?#enable-media-session-notifications

So what else awaits in Chrome OS 76? Here’s what I’ve previously reported with each section heading a link to more details:

Virtual Desks

I was unsure which Chrome OS version — either 76 or 77 — would add Virtual Desks, mainly because developer comments went back and forth between the two. But Virtual Desks did make the cut, and I love them. If you’re not familiar with them, they let you create up to four virtual “desktops” to group your browser tabs as well as any Android or Linux apps. I use them to separate personal activities from work and school, for example.

There may have been some small tweaks made to Virtual Desks in this version but here’s what they look like in general:

Send a URL from your Chromebook to your phone

For some time you’ve been able to share a URL from Chrome for Android with other devices. Now, you can reverse it with “send to self”. This feature shoots a URL from your Chromebook to your phone, which can be pretty handy for picking up where you left off when it’s time to leave the Chromebook behind.

Linux (aka Project Crostini) backup and restore disabled by default

I’ve tested full backups and restores of the Linux container on multiple Chrome OS devices and it works as advertised for me. However, the Chromium team is planning some tweaks to the file format and system that will impact such activities. As a result, the backup and restore function will be disabled by default. If you still want to use it, you can enable it at chrome://flags/#crostini-backup

Improved tab visuals

When hovering over a browser tab, Chrome OS looks a little shoddy. It’s often difficult to read the tab information that appears, which could cause you to actually open a tab when it’s not the one you want. This information looks much better Chrome OS 76 when hovering.

A few other lesser, but still important features in Chrome OS 76 include:

Note that I haven’t yet received the Stable Version on my Chromebooks yet, so it’s possible that some of these features didn’t make the Stable Channel cut. I’ll verify all of them once I have the update and if any of you receive it and find a missing feature, let me know so I can update the post accordingly.

11 thoughts on “Chrome OS 76 Stable version arrives: Here’s what you need to know

  • August 12, 2019 at 11:52 pm
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    Any idea where we are on Linux install not hogging all or most of my available storage?

    Reply
    • August 13, 2019 at 10:15 pm
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      You should follow this bug tracker: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=858815

      Basically, for Chromebooks with Linux 3.18 host kernel it may never get fixed. For more updated chromebooks, this should be fixed such that deleting files in Crostini (Linux container) will automatically free the space on the host; though this may not come till M78 but it may also be enabled already I’m not really sure

      Reply
  • August 13, 2019 at 2:47 am
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    How does the send to self function work? Cannot find it on my phone. Thanks

    Reply
    • August 13, 2019 at 10:17 pm
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      It should be in the “Share” menu. I see a little Chrome icon that says “Send to your devices”

      Reply
    • August 13, 2019 at 10:19 pm
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      It should be in the Share menu, there’ll be a little Chrome icon and it says “Send to your devices”.

      Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm
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    I received the OS 76 stable version update, but the “Improved Tab Visuals” didn’t seem to come with it. When I hover over tabs I still get the black rectangle with the page description in it instead of the white, material design type bubble I’ve seen described in many articles similar to this one.

    Reply
    • August 16, 2019 at 4:44 am
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      I’ve got Chrome OS 76 Stable too and I’m also missing the improved tab visuals, as well as the send to self feature.

      Reply
  • August 14, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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    just received Chrome OS 76 on my 2015 Pixel, no virtual desktops! bummer…

    Reply
    • August 15, 2019 at 8:55 pm
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      Hit chrome://flags and search for “virtual”. Enable the virtual desk flags and you should be all set.

      Reply
      • August 15, 2019 at 8:58 pm
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        thanks, I got that working earlier today, I guess it’s not quite ready for prime time….. another thing I noticed was virtual desktops don’t survive reboots, I hope they will once this feature is finalized

        Reply
  • August 30, 2019 at 7:22 pm
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    Ready to throw my Chromebook in the garbage. Latest update does not allow us to sign out of our primary account. I used two gmail accts on my CB. The one I signed up with and one for fun YT video subscription channels. Usually I could click on upper right icon of primary and see a “sign out” icon. I could then sign out and into my other account. It’s the way I wanted to use my CB. But now, they have kept both accts visible BUT no icon to sign out anywhere to be found. When I check my mail in the secondary acct and then click to watch my YT subs from within my mail via the menu in upper right, it defaults automatically to my primary acct with no way I can find to sign into YT via my secondary. Good job, Google! I’m not the only one with this issue; found several other exact complaints online, especially from those who use two account for personal and for school. POS update and that goes double for their not very obvious “auto update policy.” I’ll never buy another CB.

    Reply

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