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How to update Chromebooks and Chrome OS

Chrome OS has some excellent built-in security, native encryption features, and niche hardware that make Chromebooks one of the safest choices around. That’s why they are popular picks for schools and other organizations — but there’s a catch. You need to make sure your Chromebook is updating properly, otherwise its security measures (and other important quality-of-life improvements) will start falling behind. You may even lose access to Google Cloud if you wait too long.




15 minutes

What You Need

  • Chromebook or other Chrome OS device

If you’ve never thought much about how your Chromebook updates or what you need to do, don’t worry: Our guide will take you through everything you need to know.

Access settings

In many cases, your Chromebook should update automatically when a new version of the operating system is available. But sometimes this doesn’t work, or you may want to make sure that a particular patch has gone through. In these cases, you can manually update. Here’s how to begin.

Step 1: Log on to your Chromebook, and make sure it is connected to the internet. Look down at the taskbar on Chrome OS, and at the right you should see the System Tray, where the clock is positioned. Select the clock to continue.

how to update chromebook chrome system tray
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Step 2: With the System Tray open, look at the icons at the top of the window and select the gear-shaped Settings icon.

how to update chromebook chrome os system settings
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Check for updates

Step 1: Settings will open its primary menu with information on your network connections. To find out more information on your updates, look at the lower-left corner and select the final option on the left menu that says About Chrome OS.

how to update chromebook choose about chrome os
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Step 2: Your Chromebook will now display info about your version of Chrome OS. On the right, select the button that says Check for Updates.

how to update chromebook chrome os select check for updates
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Update your Chromebook

If your Chromebook detects an update, it should start updating automatically at this time. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Wait for the update to finish downloading. Under Google Chrome OS, you will see the percentage of the update that’s complete. It’s important that your Chromebook doesn’t unexpectedly shut down at this time, so make sure it’s plugged into a power source if necessary.

how to update chromebook chrome restart
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: After the download is complete, you will see a notification to Restart to complete the update. Double-check that you don’t have any work to save, and then select Restart. The process may take at least several minutes to complete, until Chrome OS launches again.

Step 3: If it was a substantial update, it’s a good idea to look at the Google Chrome OS section and select See What’s New below it. This will introduce you to any new features that a Chrome OS update may have recently added.

Troubleshooting failed updates

If something goes wrong, the system update won’t successfully download and you won’t be able to update. If this happens to you, there are a few things you can try to fix the problem.

Step 1: Again, make sure that your Chromebook is connected to its charger and isn’t in a low-power state.

Step 2: Turn your Chromebook entirely off, and turn it back on again before trying to start the update process.

Step 3: Check that your internet connection is strong. If you are in an area with spotty Wi-Fi, the update may not be able to download correctly.

Step 4: If you are using a cell data plan to connect your Chromebook to the internet, try switching to Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, and try again.

Looking for more Chromebook-related help? Check out our guides on how to reset a Chromebook and common Chromebook problems and how to fix them.

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