Pro tip: Don't buy a Chromebook on Black Friday or Cyber Monday without checking its expiration...

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Chromebooks, as you may or may not know, essentially have an expiration date – or as Google calls it, the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date. Chrome devices receive automatic updates that introduce new features and keep them secure but once they reach their AUE date, the automatic software updates will stop being supplied.

Google earlier this year extended the expiration date to a total of 6.5 years. That’s great if you’re buying a brand new release but if you purchase a model that has been on the market for a few years, you’re going to lose some quality time with the device off the top. As such, you’ll want to check the AUE date before buying.

To do this, simply cross reference the system’s make and model against Google’s list of approved Chrome devices. You can also find the AUE date in the Google Admin console if you have access to the system prior to purchase by executing the following steps:

  • From the Admin console Home page, go to Devices > Chrome management. If you don't see Devices on the Home page, click More controls at the bottom.
  • Click Devices.
  • View the column for “Auto-update expiration.”

In the event you already have a Chromebook that is nearing its end of life, it’s not a total loss. You could install Linux or switch to a Chrome OS alternative.

Masthead credit: Chromebook by Konstantin Savusia

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PEnnn

TS Addict
It was good for a while, but I will never buy one again. Eff Google and its planned obsolescence thievery.
 
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Rick C

TS Rookie
I for one did not know that. Why would a device even have an expiration date ?
It's actually slightly more honest than what goes on with cell phones, where mostly they just stop supplying updates one day.

Google's doing the same thing, but at least they're telling you up front how long you have.
 

toooooot

TS Evangelist
Oh come on, Windows would have done the same was it not for military and other large behemoths relying on old OSs and pouring cash on MS to keep them alive.
 

kapital98

TS Guru
It's actually slightly more honest than what goes on with cell phones, where mostly they just stop supplying updates one day.

Google's doing the same thing, but at least they're telling you up front how long you have.
True. Cellphones are late with critical security patches and then randomly stop supporting non-flagship phones after a couple years. Some companies/carriers are worse about this than others but, in general, it happens to almost all of the major cellphone lines.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
I for one did not know that. Why would a device even have an expiration date ?
So that google isnt stuck supporting 10 bajillion devices like MS does. All that backwards compatibility costs $$$ and bloats the OS, and as Windows 10 has shown, once it adds up and something goes wrong it can take forever to fix.

After 5 years, batteries are starting to get worn out anyway, and considering how cheap chromeOS laptops are compared to even cheap windows laptops, the hardware difference after 5 years is usually worth the upgrade anyway.

Besides, its not like they completely stop working anyway. You can usually get another 2 years after the last update before things stop working. How many people do you know still using 8+ year old laptops.
 

Irata

TS Addict
So that google isnt stuck supporting 10 bajillion devices like MS does. All that backwards compatibility costs $$$ and bloats the OS, and as Windows 10 has shown, once it adds up and something goes wrong it can take forever to fix.

After 5 years, batteries are starting to get worn out anyway, and considering how cheap chromeOS laptops are compared to even cheap windows laptops, the hardware difference after 5 years is usually worth the upgrade anyway.

Besides, its not like they completely stop working anyway. You can usually get another 2 years after the last update before things stop working. How many people do you know still using 8+ year old laptops.
A few, but they were pretty high end models at the time.

Cheap models - none, so you are making a good point.

That said, I am still not a fan of planned obsolescence or throwaway devices - neither from a financial point of view nor from an environmental one. Just seems so wasteful.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Chromebooks will run you about $200-$400, depending on the model.... Laptops start around $300 and can go into the thousands...

But even a $300-$400 laptop can run circles around the best Chromebook... don't waste your money on one of those.
 

bexwhitt

TS Evangelist
I have a customer who has a Chromebook, about every six months it won't connect to wifi and has to be reset to get it back working again.
 

mbk34

TS Member
Chromebooks aren't aimed at the readers of this forum, they're aimed at folks that just want a simple computer that works. My wife's Toshiba Chromebook is now 6 years old and she's still constantly using it. I bought it for her as I was sick and tired of acting as the in house IT guy. With the Chromebook I haven't had to intervene at all, no viruses, no driver issues, in fact I just needed to set the wifi password and that was about it. I bought myself an Asus Flip about 5 years ago. It was brilliant for just catching up on the news or reading emails etc. It looked great in it's metal case, was rugged as hell and the battery still lasts over 8 hours. Obviously it also didn't need any "IT" support. My son wanted it for college to take notes on - I did offer him any sort of laptop he wanted but he said he liked the Flip as it was light enough to carry around.

Chromebooks are obviously poor at gaming or software development but they're excellent for those that just want to browse, reply to emails, take notes etc. They also used to be half the price of traditional laptops though that doesn't seem to be the case now.
 

DWizz

TS Rookie
Mbk34 thank you for saying no viruses. This article is misleading and tries to pretend that you're in super danger if you don't get the update. There aren't any viruses on Chromebooks. He says you'll miss out on features that keep them secure. Secure from what? Windows viruses? I hear this garbage about Android as well. What viruses? The apps are sandboxed just like Apple. There could be malware but that exist in both Android and Apple but you know what you do to a malware app? Uninstall. Same goes for Chrome OS. Malware doesn't reproduce itself like a virus does as in the case for windows computers. Sheesh people!
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Mbk34 thank you for saying no viruses. This article is misleading and tries to pretend that you're in super danger if you don't get the update. There aren't any viruses on Chromebooks. He says you'll miss out on features that keep them secure. Secure from what? Windows viruses? I hear this garbage about Android as well. What viruses? The apps are sandboxed just like Apple. There could be malware but that exist in both Android and Apple but you know what you do to a malware app? Uninstall. Same goes for Chrome OS. Malware doesn't reproduce itself like a virus does as in the case for windows computers. Sheesh people!
I suggest you read https://www.google.ca/amp/s/blog.malwarebytes.com/101/2018/12/yes-chromebooks-can-and-do-get-infected/amp/

Viruses are pretty rare on ALL platforms nowadays (even the dreaded Windows), but Malware can be malicious and the precious sandbox technique doesn’t protect you 100% of the time.

And the only reason to purchase a Chromebook has always been cost - but with the prices of laptops plummeting, that is no longer the case.
 
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DWizz

TS Rookie
Once again viruses are only on Windows. Malware can't reproduce itself like a virus. Secondly, that wasn't my point. My point was that in the article, the writer uses phrasing suggesting without those updates you will not be secure. That's false. And if you do from across a malware issue, you can delete it, unlike a persistent virus. And I never said that viruses are a major problem for windows, it's true there are few viruses now for windows. But you are NOT unsecure if you're not getting an update on a Chromebook. You don't have the latest features, but you ARE still secure, contrary to what the writer said.
 

DWizz

TS Rookie
It was misleading. You're not instantly in trouble without an update. New security patches do come with updates which in turn make them better and better but how are you not secure without the latest update? If you were secure before the update rolled out, how are you now instantly not secure? You're still secure. Not as secure as the new update people, but you're still secure. I've repeated myself enough. You're not at risk from dangerous viruses if you miss an update as that's because they don't exist on: ChromeOS, MacOS, iOS, or Android. If you download an app with malware, it's sandboxed. It can't go anywhere unless you give it permission. And if you uninstall it, it's no longer there. You're... Secure again. Can viruses exist on those platforms, yes eventually, but right now, no. Don't write an article and tell people they won't be secure when they can be secure.
 

DWizz

TS Rookie
I don't understand what that comment is supposed to mean but I do fear I have been misjudged here. I use a windows computer for work. I'm not here blasting windows. If an average reader without any knowledge of these facts and reads an article that says 'don't get this because you will not be secure', they will say hey I don't want that because of viruses. And they believe it even more so because you say 'pro tip'. When all of that is untrue. Last time I trust myself, you will not be unsecure if your Chromebook does not have the latest update. The writer knows people will automatically assume it's dangerous if he says pro tip it's not secure. Either he has an agenda to persuade users to a specific device or he does not know these facts, and in that case should definitely not be saying 'pro tip'.
 

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