Which Chrome OS channel should I use? Stable, Beta or Dev?

new-chromebooks

Chrome OS users have a few options when it comes to available versions. Google calls these versions “channels”. We have the Stable, Beta and Dev channels. These all offer different experiences and levels of experimental features, but which one is the one for you?

François Beaufort is one of the most respected personalities in the Chrome/Chrome OS platform. He keeps us updated with tricks, tips and new features via his Google+ page, since before he was hired by Google. In short – he has earned the Chrome community’s respect and now he is showing us the main differences between the three available channels in Chrome OS.

Google Developers has put together a very neat video in which they discuss Chrome OS channels with François Beaufort. Check it out right below.

Available Chrome OS Channels

Chrome OS Stable channel

Chrome OS Stable channel is what all Chromebooks have by default. As its name implies, it is the most stable version of Chrome OS. All the features have gone through the Dev and Beta channels, and have been tested to offer a more optimal experience.

You will very rarely find problems or bugs with Chrome OS Stable channel, making it the best option for users who want a more dependable experience on their Chromebooks. If you are a casual user or someone who needs a computer to have top performance for work and/or school, Stable channel is for you.

Chrome OS Beta channel

Chrome OS Beta channel is the next step for those who want to experience the future of Chrome OS. Beta channel brings user the features that are being tested and cleaned up before they reach Stable channel. This means you will get to test the latest and coolest Chrome features before most of the world.

This version of Chrome OS is intended to be for those adventurous users and Chrome fans who are willing to give up some stability. You will run into the occasional bug, but I have found the Beta experience to be more stable than one would suspect.

I rarely encounter issues when using Chrome OS Beta. And when I do, it’s usually stutters or freezes. Nothing the refresh button or a reboot can’t usually fix.

Chrome OS Dev channel

If you want to see the latest features and you want to see them as quickly as possible, then Chrome OS Dev channel is the one for you. As François Beaufort explains in the video, though, users should be more careful about using Chrome OS Dev.

He happens to love it, but it is the least stable version of Chrome OS you can get. Many of its features are experimental and might not even make it to Stable or Beta channel… ever.

How to switch between Chrome OS channels

chrome-os-change-channel

The process of switching between channels is pretty simple. Simply follow the steps below.

  • Click on the notification tray and select “settings”
  • Select “Help”
  • Click on “More info…”
  • Scroll down to the Channel section and click on the “Change channel” button.
  • Select your desired Chrome OS channel.

How often do Chrome OS channels get updated?

  • Chrome OS Stable channel: every 6 weeks.
  • Chrome OS Beta channel: every week.
  • Chrome OS Dev channel: 1-2 times a week.

How to report problems with Chrome OS

report-issue

If you are using Chrome OS, especially one of the non-stable channels, chances are you will encounter problems from time to time. Why not report them to Google and help them make Chrome better?!

François Beaufort gave us a pretty neat tip in the video embedded above. You can easily report issues to Google by doing the following:

  • Press Alt + Shift + i.

This key combination will make a window pop up. Simply fill out the form and Google will have your report!

Switching back to Stable channel

Played around with Beta or Dev channel enough, and want to go back to the safe reigns of Stable channel? You can easily switch back, but there is one thing to remember. Switching back will powerwash your machine.

Powerwashing is pretty much the same as doing a factory data reset. It will bring your computer back to factory settings and everything will be deleted. This shouldn’t be a huge problem for many, because Chrome OS works on the cloud and all your apps and extensions will just be downloaded automatically.

Make sure you back up any files you may save locally, though.

So… which one should I get?

chromebook-pixel-1

François Beaufort makes it pretty simple at the end of the video. Stable channel is for everyone, while Beta channel is for the adventurous users who want to check out the newest features. With Dev channel, in the other hand, you have to be careful.

You should not attempt to use Dev channel unless you are sure you know what you are doing. If you do, though, you will love it.

Just out of curiosity, which Chrome OS channel are you using? I am currently on Chrome OS Beta channel and loving it. I believe it’s the perfect balance. Stable enough to use as a daily driver, but experimental enough to stay ahead of the game with the newest features.



  • Kathi Sharp

    I use stable on my work computer (Win XP), beta on my CR-48 (don’t want to overtax aging resources) and dev on my AC700 (for the rush!)