If you’re tired of the same old story about Google Chromebooks software support expiring too soon, you’ll be happy by today’s news. Google announced 10 years of ChromeOS support on Chromebooks. That should help squash the “Chromebooks are e-waste” meme to a large degree. School IT admins checking the software expiration date before making purchases would help too.
As always, the devil’s usually in the details, so let’s go through Google’s announcement.
First, all Chromebooks released from 2021 will automatically have a 10-year Chromebook AUE date. That’s up from 8, which is up from the previous 6. So that’s fantastic if you bought a new ChromeOS device that officially launched in or after 2021.
What about older Chromebooks? Great question. And I think Google has a pretty great answer:
For Chromebooks released before 2021 and already in use, users and IT admins will have the option to extend automatic updates to 10 years from the platform’s release (after they receive their last automatic update).
Now, there is one footnote to the above info for older devices. And I can understand it because of old hardware components that are in some, but not all, older ChromeOS devices:
A small selection of device platforms may not receive the full 10 years of automatic updates, and some features and services may not be supported.
Google is pointing folks to its Help Center for additional info on older devices. And you can see on that page which Chromebooks will have to opt in for the additional support.
I did a quick scan and see that Google’s own Chromebooks from the Pixelbook on are “opt in” devices. They will now get support through 2027.
While not every single old Chromebook will qualify for the 10 years of ChromeOS support, this is still a big deal.
As Google notes, this is longer than any other operating system commits to in advance. Yes, you can more easily re-purpose an old PC or Mac than you can a Chromebook. I don’t see that changing. And if that bums you out, then… don’t buy a Chromebook, I guess.
For the rest of us that appreciate the security, simplicity and speed of ChromeOS, 10 years of ChromeOS support on Chromebooks is a very welcome surprise.