You can try the new Chromebook Plus features without buying new hardware

Chromebook Plus upgrade on the Framework Laptop Chromebook
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • When Google announced the new Chromebook Plus category, it also introduced a slew of unique features. 
  • These were expected to be limited to new models featuring Chromebook Plus branding, but that's not the case.
  • Instead, Google confirmed that already-existing Chromebooks are eligible to receive these features.

Shortly after Google unveiled the Chromebook Plus category, complete with new and unique features, there were some concerns about "older" Chromebook models. Many of the best Chromebooks meet the criteria to fall under the Chromebook Plus moniker but aren't getting re-released with the appropriate branding. Thankfully, Google remedied those concerns as the company confirmed that it would be bringing those same features to hardware that you likely already have.

The list of Chromebooks is quite large and includes pretty much anything running an Intel or AMD processor released in the past year. In the announcement, Google stated that compatible Chromebooks would be seeing the Chromebook Plus features appear starting on October 17. 

But if you're like us and are impatiently wanting to tinker with new things and try out the different features, you don't have to wait. Instead, Robby over at Chrome Unboxed found that you can avoid the wait, provided that you're okay with switching over to the ChromeOS Beta Channel.

Below is a list of eligible devices:

The current stable version available on most Chromebooks is ChromeOS 117, but it seems that the fun will arrive with ChromeOS 118. The steps for doing so are pretty simple, as you just need to jump into the Settings app, click About ChromeOS, select Additional Details, click the Change channel button, and then select Beta

After your Chromebook is finished downloading the update and restarting, you'll be greeted with the new Chromebook Plus boot screen. Once you're logged in, you'll likely see a notification pop-up letting you know that "you've been upgraded to Chromebook Plus."

From here, you can start messing around with the different features such as Magic Eraser in Google Photos, enjoy the new dynamic wallpaper and screensaver, and more. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that any of the new generative AI features will also be on the way, all without needing to go out and purchase new hardware. 

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

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.