Beginning in 2024, Google will continuously roll out software updates to Chromebooks for the next 10 years after a product launch in an effort to increase device longevity. However, in typical Google fashion, the rules are complicated.
If you own a Chromebook that launched in 2021 or after, you will automatically receive the decade-long support. No questions asked. However, if you own a device that was released before 2021, you have the option to “extend automatic updates to 10 years from [a] platform’s release” after it has received its last patch. This is where things get muddy. “Platforms”, as Google defines them, refers to what a particular Chromebook has internally like hardware components and software. The problem is they differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model. An HP Chromebook may not receive the same level of support as one from Lenovo or vice versa.
To find out how many years of support your laptop will get, you’ll need to search up your Chromebook model on the Auto Update policy page on Google’s Help Center website.
As an example, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook will receive security patches up until June 2032, while the HP Chromebook G2 will only get them until June 2028 assuming you accept the company’s offer. Even if you don’t opt in, Google claims their products still have “strong, built-in security features” to protect user data.
Speaking of features, the company will be rolling out a software update in the coming months to improve energy efficiency – so long as you own a compatible Chromebook. First, Adaptive Charging will be added to slow down charging speeds in order to “help preserve battery health”. You will also have the introduction Battery Saver to “turn off energy-intensive processes.”
Google goes on to announce it will be simplifying the repair flow allowing “authorized repair center plus school technicians to repair Chromebooks without [needing] a physical USB key.” Mentioning schools might seem odd, although that may actually point to the inspiration for the extended software support.
Back in early August, the US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund criticized the tech giant for its reluctance to patch Chromebooks, leaving students across the country with expired laptops. As TheVerge points out, Google promises eight years of security updates. But by the time a school district buys Chromebooks, that time frame is cut down to just five. They stop receiving upgrades, basically becoming plastic bricks. The PIRG requested that Google “double the life” of their hardware, and sure enough, that’s what we got.
It is good to see the company further embrace longevity as it moves past planned obsolescence. We do, however, want to know is this 10-year initiative exclusive to the United States or will it go global? The announcement is unclear on this. We reached out to Google with this question plus when to expect the feature patch. This story will be updated if we hear back.
Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best Chromebooks for 2023.