Did you know that your Chromebook has an expiry date, also known as an AUE? What does that mean for you and your new device? This article explores what an AUE is, why Chromebooks have them and how to check for them.
- What Is the AUE Date on a Chromebook?
- Why Does My Chromebook Have an Auto Update Expiry Date?
- Why It Is Essential to Check the AUE on a New Chromebook
- How to Check for the AUE on Your Chromebook
- 1. Check Google’s AUE Support Page
- 2. Check Your Chromebook Directly
- 3. On the Google Admin Console
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the AUE Date on a Chromebook?
Every Chromebook comes with an AUE, which stands for “Auto Update Expiration” date. Essentially, this is an expiry date for your device. Beyond the AUE date, your device won’t be updated and will become obsolete.
Initially, Chromebooks could only last through five years of operating system and security updates. Later, Google changed this to 6.5 years before settling for eight. From the Chromebook help page, Google clarifies that you’ll receive software updates until the AUE date. On the very day your Chromebook expires and onwards, there will be no new updates.
While the concept of an expired laptop isn’t new, Chromebooks are slightly different in this respect.
For instance, take your standard Windows 8 laptop. When your OS expires, there’s no problem, as you just upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11 (if your device is compatible). With ChromeOS, it isn’t that simple. Once your Chromebook hits its AUE date, the hardware expires. And that’s it – there are no more updates.
Your Chromebook will still run – but without software and security support.
Why Does My Chromebook Have an Auto Update Expiry Date?
There are two reasons your Chromebook has an AUE date.
Your Chromebook has an AUE because Google can’t guarantee ChromeOS and browser feature support for non-Google hardware for long. That’s why your device has an end-of-life (or AUE) date.
You may not want to let go of your Chromebook just yet, but hear this: an AUE isn’t always such a bad thing. Here’s why:
As you may have noticed by now, your Chromebook is pretty secure. Regular auto-updates keep it that way. With an AUE, Google can focus on offering better security features and updates on the Chrome OS for newer and more recent hardware. That increases your chances of using Chromebooks in the future, too, as you’ll buy a newer version with better specs.
Most experts also agree with Google’s approach, and that’s why Chromebooks and Apple MacBooks are stable, while Microsoft devices tend to be full of bugs and vulnerabilities. Microsoft has to develop software updates for such a variety of hardware that ensuring security is a headache at best and impossible at worst.
Google auto-expires older devices to support newer devices with better features to curb this challenge. It appears to be a sound strategy. Chrome OS has suffered just 55 security exploits compared to over 2000 on macOS and over 6000 on Windows in more than a decade of existence.
Hardware that Becomes Obsolete
Around you, technology only gets better, faster. That demands better screen quality, CPUs, and storage devices. It also means that if you are still using an old Chromebook, you’ll miss out on many modern services.
Take Netflix, for example. If you’re using a Chromebook that expired in 2018 or before, you can no longer enjoy your favorite shows on it. That seems rather unfair because a Windows laptop from 2015 can still stream your shows without as much as a hitch. It’s a downside but not one you should trade off if you’re worried about security.
Why It Is Essential to Check the AUE on a New Chromebook
Check for the AUE on your new Chromebook, especially if you want to get full value over its eight-year lifetime. Many Chromebooks are on sale in the market, some at enticing discounts, but it would end up to be a hefty cost if you get the AUE wrong.
“Eight” years on a Chromebook isn’t necessarily eight in your hands. It will always be shorter. Once introduced to the market, a Chromebook’s life clock begins to tick, even before you purchase it.
Think of it like a time bomb that will blow up in eight years, even if no one has triggered it yet.
Let’s assume you purchased an Asus Flip CX5 Chromebook today. Its AUE date is June 2029, so you can get a decent seven years of use from it. If you buy another one in 2025, you’ll get just four years of use from it. Unless Google pushes these Auto Update Expiry dates forward (which is rare), you can use the Flip CX5 (with updates) for only so long after June 2029.
If you’re looking to buy a new Chromebook, be extra cautious. Many retailers and stores are still selling almost expired Chromebooks.
How to Check for the AUE on Your Chromebook
Your next logical step is to find the AUE on your Chromebook. If you haven’t bought one, you can check it before purchasing yours. Here’s how to do that:
1. Check Google’s AUE Support Page
Google keeps an updated list of all Chromebook models and their end-of-life dates. If you visit their support page, you’ll find your Chromebook listed alongside its Auto Update Expiry date. To ensure you aren’t caught flat-footed, Google displays devices due to expire in 90 days in bold. That way, you won’t miss it.
Once your device reaches its end-of-life date, Google will send you a notification warning that your device will no longer receive critical updates, new features, or security patches. That will be your cue to buy a new device.
That doesn’t mean your old Chromebook will suddenly shut down and stop working. You can still use it further, although we don’t recommend it.
2. Check Your Chromebook Directly
A second option is to check your device directly. To go about that:
- On the bottom right of your screen, access the menu and click on the cog icon to navigate to your Settings page.
- At the bottom of the settings navigation panel, you’ll find “About Chrome OS.” Select that option.
- Under it, select “Additional details.”
- Alternatively, open your search panel and type “About Chrome OS.” Press the search key to be taken to the About Chrome OS page.
3. On the Google Admin Console
If you’re using the Chrome Education or Enterprise upgrade, you can also find your Auto Update Expiry date on the admin console.
- Sign in to your Google Admin console. Your standard Gmail account won’t work unless it’s the administrator account.
- From the Admin home page, Go to “Device management -> Chrome devices.”
- View the Auto Update Expiry column.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I do with my Chromebook after it reaches its end of life?
There are plenty of ways to repurpose your Chromebook after it reaches its AUE date. Here are some suggestions:
- Although not recommended, continue using it as normal
- Monitor your home using its webcam
- Use it as an external monitor for your PC or Mac
- Use it as a cloud storage device for your media and files
- Set parental controls on it and hand it down to your kids
- Recycle it
2. How do I know if my Chromebook is up to date?
Whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network, your Chromebook updates itself automatically. You can also check for updates yourself. Here’s how to do that:
- Turn on your Chromebook.
- Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network or with an Ethernet cable.
- At the bottom right, select the time, then select “Settings.”
- Select “About Chrome OS” on the lower-left panel.
- Under “Google Chrome OS,” select “Check for updates.”
- If your Chromebook finds a new software update, it will begin the download automatically.
You can also pause and continue these updates later if you’re on a mobile connection.
3. Can a Chromebook replace my laptop?
If you are mainly using it to surf the web and access web apps (or Android apps), it can definitely replace your laptop. However, if you have a Mac/Windows app that you can’t live without, then you probably still need to have your laptop around. For gaming, there are tons of games you can play on Chromebook. You can also surf the Web, send and receive emails, watch videos, stream, and create and store documents and files.
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