Best Chromebook Apps and Chrome Extensions in 2023

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (2022) with Cog app running
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Your Chromebook is a safe, inexpensive, and simple portal to the internet but it can do so much more. Whether you want to get productive, have a little fun, or keep in touch you'll find an app to help do it in the Chrome Web Store or through a Progressive Web App (PWA). Here's the short — and ever-changing — list of ones we think you have to try whether you have one of the best Chromebook models out there or an entry-level one. There are also a bunch of great Android apps for Chromebook that you'll want to check out as well.

Hunker down and get some work done

Google Keep on Chromebook

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Everyone needs some type of task management system. The days of just putting sticky notes everywhere are long gone, but thankfully, there are plenty of apps to pick and choose from to make sure you don't forget the milk. There are also new and extremely useful tools for those who need more than just a list and want to focus more on "project management" instead of individual tasks.

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Google Keep

Google Keep is one of the quickest ways that you can get an idea out of your head and into an online memory bank. The Keep Web App makes this extremely easy, while also providing the ability to quickly share notes with others and get notifications based on the task.

Download from: Chrome Web Store

Todoist

Todoist

Todoist is already one of the most popular task management applications available on all platforms. The Chrome Web App allows you to manage all of your tasks, from wherever you are, while still giving you access to collaborate. Then, after you've knocked out some of your more important tasks, you can pick up your phone to peruse the remaining tasks for the day and everything stays synced.

Download from: Chrome Web Store

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Any.do

Using the Any.do app for Chrome gives you the same tools and features as the client for your phone (Android and iOS) plus the ability to drag and drop attachments, notes, and tasks using your Chromebook's trackpad.

Download from: Chrome Web Store

Habit Loop (PWA)

Habit tracking is turning into one of the new and popular methods to help improve your mental health, while possibly getting you back on track. Habit Loop does this via a Progressive Web App (PWA) — open up the browser and just start tracking tasks.

View at Habit Loop

Tomato Timer (PWA)

Having a focus timer can help make sure that you get your tasks completed on time while keeping you, well, focused. This method of self-improvement is known as the Pomodoro method and it "forces" you to work for 25 minutes and then step away for five minutes.

View at Tomato Timer

Google Drive (PWA)

Google has been slowly pushing updates to have its online applications available as PWAs. The latest of these is Google Drive, which removes the need to access your files from a browser or use a separate app. Opening different file types will open a separate Chrome browser window altogether, leaving Drive to continue to work as a separate app.

View at Google Drive

Tools you didn't know you needed

HP Chromebook x360 13b with Penoval USI 2.0 Stylus and Google Cursive

Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Chrome OS is an interesting adventure for everyone, and unless you dive into every nook and cranny, there are still tools that you didn't know you needed. We've found some of the most useful options which range from showing basic system information to annotating those screenshots you keep sending your buddies.

Cog - System Info Viewer

When it comes to finding the right information about your Chromebook, ChromeOS doesn't exactly make it easy. Cog presents you with a slew of information, ranging from your Chrome Version, CPU, CPU usage, storage usage, and much more. This is a simple app that gives you more information about your hardware than the Chromebook itself does.

Download at: Chrome Web Store

Snapdrop

Sharing files between non-iOS devices has always been a bit of a sticking point since there's nothing as easy as AirDrop (yet). Instead, ChromeOS and Android users have relied on third-party options like Snapdrop, which offers a P2P connection between devices. This makes it easy to share files between devices without waiting for them to be uploaded to something like Drive and then downloaded on the target device.

Download at: Chrome Web Store

Awesome Screenshot

At some point in time, you'll likely have to take a screenshot. While Chrome OS has this built-in, other apps offer more features. The awesome Screenshot App is just one example of this, as you can not only quickly capture the screen, but can annotate it even quicker. You're also provided with an eraser and blur tool to get rid of private information.

Download at: Chrome Web Store

1Password

In today's day and age, it's more important than ever to keep your various passwords unique and secure. 1Password does this right from your Chromebook and allows you to save even more pieces of information such as credit cards, documents, and more. Plus, you'll be able to organize your "Vault" with ease and update any passwords that might have been compromised or are out of date.

Download at: Chrome Web Store

DocuSign - Secure Electronic Signature

If the time comes to sign an important document, it's easier than ever to receive that document, sign it, and then send it back. All of this can happen without you ever leaving the comfort of your own home and with DocuSign, it can be done in minutes. Plus, after the document has been sent off for review, you will see "real-time" status updates, so you know when someone has opened, viewed, and signed your documents.

Download from: Chrome Web Store

Edit those photos

LumaFusion app on Chromebook and Z Fold

(Image credit: Future)

ChromeOS offers so much versatility now, especially with recent updates and the ability to use the built-in touch screen on certain Chromebooks. That makes photo creation and editing much easier to use, and there are plenty of options to pick from if you need to do some touch-ups, or are editing a library of pictures from start to finish.

Pixlr Editor (PWA)

Pixlr Editor is a popular web browser photo editor that you can use without needing to sign up for any subscriptions. You'll get an array of surprisingly powerful tools so that you can tweak your images to look perfect. Plus, if you sign up for a free account, Pixlr provides users some free storage space so that your precious Chromebook space can be saved.

Visit at Pixlr

LumaFusion

tktktk

Download from: Google Play Store

Google Photos

tktktk

Download from: Google Play Store

Keep in touch

Phone Hub open on Chromebook with Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

While RCS continues to roll out to more Android users, the rest of us are stuck using different platforms for keeping in touch with friends and family. There are plenty of messaging services to meet the needs of just about everyone, and there is a great selection of apps and PWAs that assist with keeping in contact.

Catch up on the news that matters most

Lenovo ThinkPad C14 Chromebook Enterprise sitting on desk

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Nobody likes to just sit in front of a TV waiting for some new story to make its way across the tube. Plus, you have to wait through different coverage angles until the news piece that you care about arrives. With the plethora of "news" and RSS apps available, you'll never have to wait again — just refresh the page.

Sit back and let the words flow

Obsidian Kanban View Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Alt

Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Not everyone is a writer, but the art of pen and paper is slipping further and further out of grasp for many. That's why word editors, markdown editors, and other word processing apps are so popular. All of them have something different to offer, and in some cases, you can use one in your browser, without downloading anything, and have your documents synced in the cloud to pick up at a different time or different computer.

Evernote

Evernote is still one of the most popular note-taking applications, as it gives its users an endless, digital notebook. Whether you want to use it as a journal, use Evernote to take basic notes, or save webpages for later, this app does it all. After your notes are entered, they become easily accessible across just about every other platform you can imagine.

Download from: Google Play Store

StackEdit (PWA)

Writing in Markdown is semi-mainstream and semi-enthusiast, but if you write in Markdown you'll need a good editor. StackEdit's PWA offers an in-browser Markdown editor, with a customizable and flexible layout and a live preview. As you progress through your article, post, or note, you can sync those documents with an array of services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

View at StackEdit

Don't forget to entertain yourself

Netflix on Chromebook

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Whether you work 60 hours a week or just the standard 35-40, you need time to sit back and relax. Regardless of which format you prefer (music or video), there's an app for you to either download from the Chrome Web Store, or install from your favorite streaming service. There are even dedicated Chrome OS apps that allow users to watch movies stored locally or in a server on the network that you're connected to.

Spotify (PWA)

Spotify is arguably the most popular music streaming service available and that includes Chromebook users. The PWA gives you all of the same controls you would find on any other devices, including managing your playlists and library. However, if you want to take advantage of offline playback and an ad-free experience, you'll have to sign up for Spotify's Premium service.

View at Spotify

Disney+ (PWA)

Disney+ is the new kid on the block in the streaming service world, but there's still a lot of original content, along with access to a vast library. This library consists of some of the best movies that you can think of, ranging from Disney Classics to the Marvel and Star Wars libraries. There's really something for everyone, even if you don't just want to rewatch The Mandalorian over and over.

View at Disney+

VLC

YouTube Music (PWA)

YouTube Music has finally become the streaming service that many were hoping Google Play Music would turn into. With its new PWA experience, you can add it to your Chromebook, while taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts and organizing your library. One of the primary benefits of this application is the ability to use it offline, along with having quick and easy background updates.

View at YouTube Music

Background Noise (PWA)

You don't always have to be doing some work to want some basic white noise going on in the background. Background Noise is an extremely simplistic PWA that provides a white noise with the big Play/Pause button at the bottom. There is not much else going on, but you can suggest new features from the app if you're looking for more in the future.

View at Background Noise

Keeping it social

Pinterest on Pixel Slate

Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Social media leads the world today and it would be a difficult task to find someone who doesn't use it in some capacity. Some of these apps used to be available in the Web Store but were transitioned to becoming a PWA in favor of being lightweight and fast. Nonetheless, you'll be able to keep up with your favorite social media platform with the following apps.

Twitter (PWA)

Twitter's PWA app offers a much faster experience when browsing through your Twitter timeline. Not only is the overall experience faster, but the PWA will help to make sure you never bump up against your data caps. Plus, you will still get all of your notifications and can compose and reply directly from the PWA.

View at Twitter

Instagram (PWA)

Currently, there are no dedicated first-party Instagram apps, leaving us to rely on the company's PWA. This is great if you are connected to the web and want to peruse your timeline or respond to some DM's. However, you will not be able to access the PWA if your Chromebook is offline.

View at Instagram

Pinterest (PWA)

Pinterest is not just for saving recipes, as the service allows you to "pin" different inspirations, share them with friends, and find new things all the time. With this PWA, you will get faster load times, while cutting down on the amount of data used both physically and through the internet.

View at Pinterest

The list will continue to grow

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As of this writing, Google announced that the Chrome Web Store for Apps would be going away with the transition beginning in 2020. Google states that it is aiming to close up shop on the Web App Store by the end of 2022, which will force more of the aforementioned apps to transition into a Chrome extension or a PWA.

There are already a plethora of new Progressive Web Apps for you to take advantage of, without worrying about taking up too much storage space. Plus, there are some cases where you can use a PWA on your Android smartphone so you get the same experience across all of your devices.

You may notice that there are no mentions here of Android apps, despite them already being available thanks to the introduction of the Play Store on Chrome OS. Well, the reason for the absence of Android apps is because we have already published our favorite Android apps for Chromebooks and you can find them at the jump!

Chrome App or Progressive Web App?

Chromebook apps

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

For years, Google has been giving everyone "warnings" that Chrome Apps, downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, would be going away. The move is to bring Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) into the forefront, as they are quicker, more versatile, and easier to update.

Google has continued to move back the timeline for the deprecation of Chrome Apps on Chrome OS, before settling as an EOL time-frame of 2022. Starting in March of 2020, Google will stop accepting new Chrome apps, with education and enterprise users having a longer extension, ending in December of 2020.

Between Chrome Extensions and Progressive Web Apps, there is little need for Chrome Web Apps to truly "exist" past a further point. As the days go on, many of your most-used apps and services have lightweight and easy-to-use web apps already.

How do you install a Progressive Web App?

Now that you understand the difference between a Chrome app and a Progressive Web App, let's get started on installing those PWA's. There are a couple of different ways to install a PWA on your Chromebook, as Google has made it easier than ever.

The first method is the easiest, as there is a new icon that can be found in the URL bar itself on the PWA's landing page. Here are the steps that you need to take:

1. Navigate to a website that offers a PWA, such as YouTube Music.

2. From within the URL omnibar, there will be a new "+" icon on the right-hand side. Tap on this icon.

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

3. After pressing the icon, click Install to confirm the installation of the PWA.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

4. Once installed, the new PWA will automatically open.

In some cases, you will be on the correct website to install a PWA, but do not see the "+" icon to add it to your Chromebook. For those instances, you will need to follow these steps:

1. Navigate to a website that offers a PWA, such as Twitter Lite.

2. On the right-hand side of the Chrome window, click the three-dot overflow button.

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

3. Select the install option.

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

4. After pressing the icon, click Install to confirm the installation of the PWA.

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Once the Progressive Web App has been installed, it will be added to your app drawer and can be pinned to your dock at the bottom. However, there may come a day where you want to uninstall the app in favor of something else. Here are the necessary steps for uninstalling a PWA from your Chromebook.

1. Open the Settings app on your Chromebook.

2. Select Apps in the sidebar on the left.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

3. Click on Manage your apps.

(Image credit: Source: Android Central)

4. Inside the search bar at the top, enter the name of the app and select it.

5. Next to the App Name, click the Uninstall button.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

6. When prompted, select Remove within the dialog box.

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

As you can see, installing a PWA is extremely quick, and is sometimes faster than even installing an app from the Chrome Web Store or the Play Store.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.