If you already own a Chromebook you possibly already know about Chrome OS updates. If you’re buying your first Chromebook then you should make sure you’re aware of what it is before buying your new laptop.
All Chrome OS computers receive updates on a monthly basis. These updates provide critical security updates and also provide new functionality. These updates are one of the reasons why Chromebooks are considered one of the safest computers you can use.
You may assume these updates continue to take place no matter how long you own your device. However, this is not the case because all Chromebooks have a set date and after that date, your device will no longer receive updates. Therefore, it’s important you understand what these updates offer and how to check when a Chromebook will stop getting updates.
How to check for the AUE date
The Auto Update Expiry (AUE) date can be found on all Chrome OS computers. If you already own a Chromebook you can find the AUE date in your settings. This date will be the last time that your computer will receive updates.
If you don’t yet own a Chromebook and considering buying one. You can check the AUE date before buying a Chromebook on this Google page.
It’s a good idea to check the AUE date before you buy a Chromebook. I’ve seen so many situations where someone has only realised about the AUE date after buying their computer. If the Chromebook they’ve bought stops receiving updates only a couple of years after they’ve bought it. This causes new users of Chrome OS to feel a little cheated.
What are Chrome OS updates?
As I’ve already mentioned your Chromebook will receive updates every month. These updates include security patches and also roll out any new features that the Chrome OS team has been working on.
Some of the new features are really cool and can bring a lot more functionality. Therefore, having access to these new updates on a monthly basis is really beneficial.
You also get access to flags, which you can enable directly from the Chrome browser. These flags offer extra functionality, which is not available as standard but are features that will most likely be rolled out in the future. Some of these include adding a new Chrome OS start menu or adding a calendar to your Chromebook.
Why the AUE date exists
As you can see getting updates on a monthly basis is really beneficial. You not only receive the latest security patches. You’ll also receive new features that can make a huge difference in how you use your Chromebook on a daily basis.
Therefore, you may be wondering why Google would stop rolling out these updates to your Chromebook. The reason why it’s not possible for all Chromebooks to get updates indefinitely is that it would stop the Chrome OS team from offering us these great new features.
It’s simply not possible to develop Chrome OS and bring out new features if the team needs to ensure they will work with every Chromebook. Offering new features that take advantage of the technology you find inside the latest Chromebooks. Would not be possible if you also had to ensure these new features work with a Chromebook that was manufactured over ten years ago.
If there was no such thing as the AUE date. It would mean the Chrome OS team would be extremely limited in offering new features. This would be unfair to users who have gone out and bought the latest Chromebook. Not offering new features to the latest devices because these new features would not work on a Chromebook designed over ten years ago. Goes against what technology is all about, which is pushing things forward.
Chromebooks on offer may have shorter AUE dates
It’s important to understand the AUE date does not start when you buy your computer. The AUE date is set when it’s manufactured and it depends on the internals used such as the processor. Therefore, a Chromebook manufactured in 2022 will usually get updates until 2029 or 2030. This means you’d get updates for nine years if you bought the Chromebook when it was immediately available to buy.
If you buy the same Chromebook five years later and it’s brand new and sealed. You’ll still only receive updates until the AUE date of either 2029 or 2030, which means you’ll get updates for four years. This is why it’s important to check the AUE Date before you buy a new Chromebook.
If you find Chromebook deals where the price is much lower than the original retail price. It’s possibly because the AUE Date is just around the corner. You could easily buy a new Chromebook from a retailer where the AUE date will be reached a couple of years later. Another reason why you should do your homework first.
It’s not all bad news
We would of course prefer it if the AUE date did not exist. However, I understand it’s totally necessary to ensure older laptops are not holding the Chrome OS team back in offering new functionality.
When your Chromebook reaches its AUE date. The biggest thing to be concerned about rather than receiving new features is security. Yes, we all want the latest features, but making sure your Chromebook is still safe to use is more important.
The good news is the Chrome OS team has been working on a project called Lacros. This project will split the operating system and browser, which are currently integrated. This means even if your Chromebook stops getting updates for the OS. You can still receive updates for the browser, which means you can still use your Chromebook safely even after the AUE date has expired.
This should be rolled out in the next couple of years. If you own a Chromebook where the AUE date is soon to expire then you can already take advantage of Lacros. Yes, you can enable Lacros now in the stable channel, so you can continue using your Chromebook safely.
Buying a Chromebook where the AUE Date is in a couple of years isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about. It all depends on why you’re buying a laptop. If you’re buying a laptop because you’ve found it on offer at a really low price. It’s possibly because the AUE date is shorter than laptops not on offer. Therefore, you can get some great deals on Chromebooks where the AUE Date is about to expire.
The fact you can now use a Chromebook after the AUE date safely. You may decide you’d prefer to get a great deal rather than buy a more expensive Chromebook that will continue to get new features.
I’ve recently bought a Pixelbook Go knowing it will stop receiving updates in 2026. Before I bought the Pixelbook Go I bought newer Chromebooks with an AUE date of 2028. However, I decided what the Pixelbook Go offered was more important to me than the AUE date.
What really matters when buying a new Chromebook is being well researched. As long as you’re aware of the AUE date before buying a new laptop. Then I’m sure you’ll be making the right decision based on your own circumstances.