Chromebooks Have an Expiration Date: Here's How to Find Yours
Are you thinking about buying a Chromebook? If so, find out how old the model is or risk purchasing an unsupported laptop.
As it turns out, every Chromebook as an expiration date on which Google stops supporting the device. As reported by The Register, Google will provide new hardware with 6.5 years of auto-update support.
While that may sound like a long time (Chromebooks were first introduced just 8 years ago), the timer starts counting down from the time "when the first device on the platform is released." We've reached out to Google for clarification, but that vague phrasing seems to suggest that support begins when the first unit of a specific model is released.
Google's support page on the matter also states that if a manufacturer releases a device on a "1-year-old hardware platform" then it will have only 5.5 years of auto-update support remaining.
That wouldn't be a problem if Chromebooks were frequently refreshed. However, some older models, especially budget notebooks like the Samsung Chromebook 3, have been selling as new for years. In fact, Google's documents show that the Chromebook 3, one of our favorite budget Chromebooks, will receive support for only two more years.
So, what happens when the Auto Update Expiration date expires? First, Google will stop pushing automatic updates to that specific laptop model, which means it won't get the latest Chrome OS features or security patches. Also, that model will no longer receive technical support and business users and teachers won't be able to use the Google Admin console or other tools to manage their devices.
Unfortunately, some users found out about Google's end-of-life support the hard way by purchasing a new Chromebook only to find out that it would stop receiving auto-updates within a few years.
"My Dad just got a big FU notification on the Chromebook he bought new less than 3 years ago that it is now out of support under the Google AUE policy," Martin Woodware wrote in a tweet.
How to check if your Chromebook's support will expire
Before you buy a Chromebook, check to see when the model was first released. Unfortunately, that information isn't typically provided by laptop manufacturers. Instead, the easiest way is to visit the support page on Google's Auto Update policy.
Here, Google lists all Chromebook models and their corresponding expiry dates. Models due to expire in less than 90 days are highlighted in bold.
Once your device reaches its Auto Update Expiration date, you will receive a notification saying "This device will no longer receive the latest software updates. Please consider upgrading." You can still use a Chromebook beyond its expiration date, but it will stop receiving important updates that give it new features and crucial security patches, so we strongly suggest you avoid doing so.