When it comes to a device, Chromebooks simply can’t be beat in terms of maintenance. Chrome OS updates and security patches are regularly delivered by Google and run in the background. There is little to no software and Chromebooks are also lean on hardware. However, there are a few tips and tricks on how to tune up a Chromebook to boost performance and your user experience.

 

How to Tune Up a Chromebook

Here are eight tips and tricks to tune up a Chromebook. Most of these tips, or combinations thereof, can be done in 15-20 minutes.

 

Uninstall Unnecessary Apps & Extensions

Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Quarterly, or as needed

A great tip for all your devices—uninstalling unnecessary apps and extensions. Apps that you don’t use can slow your Chromebook’s speed and performance. They sometimes run in the background eating bandwidth and slowing load times of web pages.

Also, extra apps and extensions:

  • Open the door to unnecessary data sharing
  • Take up limited local storage
  • Are a visual eyesore

How: To remove unwanted apps, access chrome:extensions in a new browser window. Review the items thoroughly and remove any unneeded apps or extensions. If you are on the fence about certain apps, toggle the app off. This deactivates the app but leaves the app on your Chromebook. If you miss it after a few days, activate it. If you don’t notice its absence, delete it.

 

Clear Your Cache

Required Time: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Daily, or after every browser session

Is Google Chrome especially sluggish or behaving squirrely? Clearing your browser’s cache could be just the fix you need.

Clearing your browser’s cache is a great performance tip for any device. It removes unnecessary files and cookies that are stored when you visit websites. It’s one of the quickest and easiest hacks, too!

It’s good to get into the habit of clearing your cache after each browser session or at the end of the day. Another great feature about clearing your cache is you can customize what you delete. For example, you can choose to remove cookies and cached files, but leave your browsing history intact.

How: In Google Chrome, click the snowman menu (three vertical dots) in the top right of the browser window. From there, follow these commands: Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data. Be sure to select exactly what you want to remove under both the Basic and Advanced tabs.

 

Review Extension Permissions

Required Time: 5 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Quarterly, or after new extensions are added

You can control how and when an extension is allowed to access data on your device, a feature introduced in 2019.

There are several options available now. Extensions can:

  • Access browsing data all the time without restrictions
  • Access browsing data only during the period of use
  • Never access browsing data

How: Access chrome:extensions. Review access for each extension under Site access in Details.

Choose wisely. Most extensions need access to some sort of browsing data to function. If an extension keeps requesting a higher level of permission, chances are it needs it to run. You can upgrade its access or remove it entirely.

 

Uninstall/Update Unnecessary Android or Linux Apps

Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 6-12 months

Much like the first tip, you can also remove any unneeded Android or Linux apps. The same benefits for removal apply.

For Android or Linux apps that survived, be sure to check and install updates. These apps don’t always update automatically.

How to Uninstall Apps: From Chromebook’s launcher, review apps. To remove unwanted apps, right click or long press, then Uninstall.

How to Update Android Apps: Access My apps & games in Google Play Store. Follow on-screen prompts to download updates.

How to Update Linux Apps: From Chromebook’s Terminal app, enter sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade into the prompt command to update.

 

Optimize Shortcuts

Required Time: 5 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 6 months or as needed

At its best, a Chromebook is device with all sorts of possible shortcuts to save time and boost productivity. It’s up to you to harness their power.

Update Shelf/Tray

A Chromebook’s tray or shelf is akin the Windows taskbar or a MacBook’s dock. Customize your tray to reflect the apps you use most frequently by adding/removing apps and website shortcuts:

Add an app: Use the launcher key to find the app you wish to pin to your shelf. Right click on the app icon and select Pin to Shelf.

Add a webpage: Open the site you wish to add to your shelf. Click the snowman menu (three vertical dots), then select Create Shortcut. For a desktop experience, select Open as Window.

Remove an app: Right click on the app icon in your shelf that you wish to remove and select Unpin.

Create Keyword Shortcuts

A great time-saving tip is to create shortcuts for internal functions or webpages based on keywords. For example, you can create a shortcut to pull up Chromebook settings simply by typing cs into your search bar.

How: Go to the website you want to create a keyword shortcut for. Copy the URL. Access chrome:settings/searchengines in your search bar. Click Add, then enter the information about the following information about the shortcut:

  • Search engine will be the name of destination URL
  • Keyword is what you type into the address bar to return URL
  • Paste the URL you’ve copied into URL

 

Clean Cloud Storage & Sync Downloads Folder

Required Time: 3 minutes
Recommended Frequency: Every 1-3 months, or as needed

Remove unwanted or unneeded files from your Chromebook’s Files app every couple of months. This will reduce your clutter and keep your files organized.

Since Chromebooks have limited local storage, sync your downloads folder to your Google Drive. After you complete this step, all downloads will be saved to the cloud instead of locally.

How: From chrome:settings > Advanced > Location > Downloads > Change. Then, select a folder, or create a Downloads folder.

 

Enable Night Light

Time Required: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Once

Night Light adjusts your Chromebook’s display to make it less bright in evening hours or in limited lighting.

How: Two ways to do this. Enable Night Light under Quick Settings panel or within Chrome OS settings. From chrome:settings > Displays > Night Light. From there, edit the schedule to turn on the Night Light during certain hours of the day.

 

Enable Universal Voice Input

Time Required: 1 minute
Recommended Frequency: Once

You can enable system-wide dictation on your Chromebooks, just as you can use Siri on a MacBook or Cortana in Windows.

After this option is enabled, a small microphone will appear in the lower right corner of your screen next to notifications. Tap it any time you wish to use this option.

How: From chrome:settings > Advanced > Accessibility > Manage accessibility features > Enable dictation (speak to type).

 

For more Chromebook tips and tricks, check out our blogs on Chromebooks Basics and Chromebook Tips for Power Users.

 

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