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Chromebooks are capable and easy-to-use devices that come with several useful features. The best Chromebooks combine excellent hardware with great features to create a truly fantastic computing experience. If you're an early adopter, Chromebooks allow you to try out the newest features while they're still being finalized by changing ChromeOS channels. Here are the channels available to Chromebook users and how to try them out.

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What ChromeOS channels are there?

Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-2H/T)

ChromeOS offers three channels: Stable, Beta, and Dev. The Stable channel is the typical ChromeOS channel that most people use that is stable. The ChromeOS team at Google tested all the features on this channel to make sure they work properly. It's also the best channel to minimize issues and bugs on your device. Major updates come to this channel approximately every four weeks, and minor changes come every two to three weeks.

The Beta channel is the next step toward bleeding edge features. This channel has new features before the ChromeOS team vets them thoroughly. If you want to try features before the general public but don't want them to be totally untested, the Beta channel is for you. The Beta channel gets major updates every four weeks. Updates come more than a month before the features go to the Stable channel.

The final and least stable channel is the Dev channel. The Dev channel is the best way to try out the newest ChromeOS features as soon as possible. This channel is aimed at developers, so it has a lot of bugs but gets new features the quickest. Updates come out once or twice a week to add new features and fix bugs. Now that we've taken a look at the available channels, let's take a look at how to see what channel you're on.

How to check what ChromeOS channel you're on

If you've been switching channels and are trying to pick the right experience, it might help to see what channel you're currently on.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select About ChromeOS on the left.
    The Chromebook Settings app main menu
  3. Tap Additional details.
    The Chromebook Settings app About ChromeOS section.
  4. In the Channel section, it will say what channel you're in.
    The Additional details section of the About ChromeOS section of the Chrome OS Settings app.

Now that you know what channel you're on, let's look at how to change your channel.

How to change your ChromeOS channel

Changing channels is easy whether you want to try out new features or switch to a more stable experience.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap About ChromeOS in the lower-left corner.
    The Chromebook Settings app main menu
  3. Select Additional Details.
    The Chromebook Settings app About ChromeOS section.
  4. Press the Change channel button.
    The Additional details section of the About ChromeOS section of the Chrome OS Settings app.
  5. Select the channel you'd like to switch to.
    The Change Channel menu in the About ChromeOS section of the Chrome OS Settings app.
  6. Click Change channel.
    Changing your channel in the About ChromeOS section of the Chrome OS Settings app.

If you are currently on the Stable channel and are changing your channel, your Chromebook will download an update and then restart to install it.

The process is a little more complicated if you are currently on the Beta or Dev channel. Make sure you back up all your data before initiating a channel change. To switch to a more stable channel, your Chromebook must undergo a Powerwash, which erases all the data on the device. Once this Powerwash is finished, your device will restart with the update installed.

It's time to change the (ChromeOS) channel

HP Chromebook 11a (11a-na0060nr_

Chromebook channels allow users to have the experience they want, whether that's the most stable, bleeding edge, or somewhere in between. Once you've found a channel you like, it may be helpful to check if your Chromebook has any updates so you can make sure you're up-to-date with features and bug fixes.