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Google’s Chromebooks are increasingly a popular option among laptop users. But do Chromebooks last as long as MacBooks and other laptops?



KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • AUE Date: The Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date is a critical milestone, usually five years, in a Chromebook’s lifespan. It signifies the end of official software updates from Google.
  • Software Updates: These are essential for maintaining the security and functionality of your Chromebook. They include security patches, bug fixes, and new features.
  • Post-AUE Usage: While your Chromebook will still function after the AUE date, it won’t receive any more updates, making it potentially less secure and outdated in terms of features.
  • Security Risks: Using a Chromebook past its AUE date can expose you to vulnerabilities, especially if you use the device for sensitive tasks like online banking.
  • Replacement Considerations: If your Chromebook is past its AUE date, it’s generally advisable to consider getting a new one, particularly if you use the device for important or sensitive activities.
  • Check Before Buying: Always verify the AUE date of a Chromebook model before purchasing, whether it’s new or used, to ensure you’re making a secure and valuable investment.

How long do Chromebooks last? Good question! Google debuted the Chromebook in 2011. The Chromebook is so named because it runs Google’s ChromeOS, which is the operating system based on the Chrome browser and Linux.

Chromebooks have been insanely popular in the education setting as they are low-cost and relatively easy to maintain.

Chromebooks are also popular among some in the professional world, although Microsoft Windows laptops still are king in the office (or home office).

That’s because a Windows laptop (and Apple laptop) are full-blown “heavy” computers – basically desktops in laptop form, with the associated files (documents, media, photos, etc) and applications residing on the laptop itself.

But a Chromebook is technically known as a “thin client” device. Thin client is a networking term that basically means a computer that has been optimized to access apps and data that reside not on itself, but on a server over the network.

While Chromebooks can support the installation of apps and storage of documents on the Chromebook itself, the power of the Chromebook lies in the fact that it’s basically a thin client that connects to all of Google’s services (including things like your Google Drive and associated files) effortlessly.

But given that most Chromebooks are thin clients–does that meant they don’t last as long as a PC laptop or Apple MacBook?

How Long Do Chromebooks Last?

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Understanding the lifespan of a Chromebook is crucial for both new buyers and current owners. While Chromebooks are known for their durability and low maintenance, they do have a specific period during which they receive official software updates.

This period is known as the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date. Below is a detailed breakdown of what you can expect from your Chromebook before and after its AUE date.

What is the AUE Date?

  • Definition: The AUE date is the Auto Update Expiration date set by Google. It marks the end of official software support for your Chromebook.
  • Importance: Software updates are vital for any computing device. They offer security patches, bug fixes, and new features that enhance the device’s performance and security.
  • Duration: Typically, a Chromebook will receive software updates for at least five years from its release date. Note that this is from the release date of the model, not the date you purchased it.

Using a Chromebook Post-AUE Date

  • Functionality: Even after the AUE date has passed, your Chromebook won’t suddenly become a paperweight. You can still use it for various tasks like browsing, document editing, and more.
  • Software Updates: However, you won’t receive any more official software updates, which includes security patches and bug fixes.
  • Security Risks: Using a device that no longer receives security updates can expose you to vulnerabilities. This is especially concerning if you use your Chromebook for sensitive tasks like online banking.

Why Software Updates Matter

  • Security Fixes: Updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities that could otherwise be exploited by malicious software or hackers.
  • Bug Fixes: Updates also fix glitches and bugs that might be affecting the performance of your device.
  • New Features: Software updates can bring new functionalities and features that can make your computing experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Should You Buy a New Chromebook?

  • Performance: If your Chromebook is still performing well, you might not feel the immediate need to replace it. However, the lack of updates should be a concern.
  • Usage: Consider what you use your Chromebook for. If it’s for basic tasks and you’re not concerned about security, you might continue using it.
  • Budget: Chromebooks are generally more affordable than other laptops. If your device is past its AUE date, it might be a good time to look for a new one, especially if you use it for important or sensitive tasks.

Bottom line? While a Chromebook may technically last well beyond its AUE date, the lack of software updates can make it risky to use for secure transactions or important work.

Therefore, it’s advisable to consider purchasing a new Chromebook once your current device has reached its AUE date.

Always check the AUE date before purchasing a new or used Chromebook to ensure you get the most value and security for your investment.

How Long Do Chromebooks Get Software Updates For?

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When people ask how long a Chromebook lasts, they really mean how long does Google (or the Chromebook manufacture support the device via software updates.

Once a Chromebook stops receiving software updates, some people consider it obsolete because it no longer gets the latest security patches or feature upgrades.

What’s nice about the Chromebook is that Google actually has a detailed support page where you can look up your exact model of Chromebook and see when it will stop receiving software updates

Google refers to this as the Auto Update policy. Here’s how Google describes it:

Chrome devices (e.g. Chromebook, Chromebox, Chromebase, Chromebit) receive automatic updates that enhance both the device and its software.

Device updates provide the latest features and keep the device secure, and are applied across the operating system, browser and hardware.

These updates depend on many device specific non-Google hardware and software providers that work with Google to provide the highest level of security and stability support.

For this reason, older Chrome devices cannot receive updates indefinitely to enable new OS and browser features.

So how long does a Chromebook get auto updates for? It depends on your model’s Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, as Google explains:

Every Chrome device receives regular updates from Google until it reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, listed below, subject to support from component manufacturers. When a device reaches AUE, automatic software updates from Google will no longer be provided.

How To Find Chromebook Auto Update Expiration (AUE) Date?

It’s actually super easy to find your Chromebook’s Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date.

  1. Just go to this webpage.
  2. Under the “Google Approved Chrome Devices” header, look up your Chromebook model. You’ll first search by manufacturers (for example, Acer, Dell, Google, HP, etc).
  3. Then look up the make of your exact Chromebook (for example, Chromebook 11 G2, Chromebook 14 G6, etc).
  4. Once you’ve found your Chromebook by the manufacture and make (“product”), look in the “Auto Update Expiration date” column. This will have a month and year date (for example, “June 2024”). That is the time your Chromebook will stop receiving software updates.