Contemplating a Chromebook but can’t justify buying it? If you have an old rusty Mac notebook lying around somewhere, all you need is Google’s ChromeOS Flex.
- On July 14, 2022, Google released ChromeOS Flex for all users, a version of the ChromeOS software that can be installed on conventional PC hardware.
- Due to flexible system requirements, ChromeOS Flex can even be installed on older computers. Google calls it “the upgrade PCs and Macs have been waiting for.” ChromeOS Flex has the same user interface as Chrome OS.
- Available on Windows, macOS and Linux, the cloud-first operating system includes the Chrome browser, Google Assistant and other perks.
Google releases ChromeOS Flex
Just like too much sun, software bloat, clunky hardware, and security vulnerabilities can cause unwanted damage. Thankfully, ChromeOS Flex is just the sunscreen your legacy devices need.
Google claims that computers powered by ChromeOS Flex consume 19 percent less energy on average. You have two ways of installing Chrome OS Flex. Firstly, you can boot Chrome OS Flex directly from a USB drive to check out its features. And secondly, after you’ve determined that this is something you’d like to use more frequently, you can install ChromeOS Flex alongside macOS and choose between the two when the computer is starting up. Google suggests installing Chrome OS Flex in a way that completely replaces your operating system, but we strongly recommend against doing that.
Chrome OS Flex: System requirements
The list of computers certified to work with Chrome OS Flex is on the Google website. You’ll need a USB drive to install ChromeOS Flex on your Mac. Alternatively, you can boot and run ChromeOS Flex directly from the USB. This may result in a bit slower performance, but running ChromeOS Flex from the USB lets you decided whether you like it before installing it on your daily driver. You can download ChromeOS Flex for macOS, Windows or Linux via the Chrome Enterprise website.
Chrome OS Flex features
ChromeOS Flex has protections against threats including viruses, ransomware and phishing. The operating system will receive regular security updates. It takes advantage of sandboxing technology and has a remote wipe feature. If you use ChromeOS or Flex across multiple devices, your user profile is automatically synchronized via the cloud, including any settings and bookmarks. Read: How to manage privacy and security in Chrome
To be clear, ChromeOS Flex is a cloud-based operating system that runs web apps rather than native ones. Web apps are pretty capable but still nowhere near as powerful as code that executives locally on the device. So if you’ve used a Chromebook before, you already know what to expect from Chrome OS Flex: Fast booting, an operating system that doesn’t slow down over time and so-so apps.