The #1 Thing You Need To Do Before You Buy a Used Chromebook

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Money expert Clark Howard is a big fan of Chromebooks. Not only are the popular laptops’ operating systems super-fast, but they are safe to use for online banking and other financial activities.

But there’s something you should know if you’re looking to buy a used or refurbished one. 

Each Chromebook has an Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, which means that there will come a time when it won’t be able to receive new software updates from Google. The good news is that your Chromebook shows you the exact date so that you can plan ahead.

In this article, I’ll show you how to tell when your Chromebook is approaching its AUE and what to do about it.

Before You Buy a Used Chromebook, Read This

On the Chromebook Google Support page, here’s what it says about AUE dates:

“Each device has an Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date. We encourage you to check the AUE dates of devices before your purchase. Before the AUE date, devices will receive new software updates from Google. On and after the AUE date, devices will not receive software updates from Google.”

If you’re shopping for a used Chromebook, make sure you check the AUE date. If that date is coming soon, find yourself a different Chromebook to buy.

Without current updates, your device’s performance can suffer, and it may become more vulnerable to viruses, malware and similar issues.

How Do I Know When My Chromebook Is Approaching Its Auto Update Expiration Date?

Google says a Chromebook that is close to its AUE date will receive a “Final software update” notification.

After the AUE, your Chromebook will no longer get the following updates:

  • Security updates
  • Bug fixes
  • New features
  • Support for some apps and extensions

Google also says that, once it stops sending updates, it’s possible that at some point, some features on the Chromebook will stop working.

How To Check the AUE Date on Your Chromebook

If you have a Chromebook, you may be wondering how to find the AUE date. Here are the steps, according to Google:

  1. At the bottom right corner of the screen, select the time. 
  2. Select “Settings” (the gearbox icon)
  3. At the bottom of the left panel, select “About Chrome OS.”
  4. Select “Additional details.”
  5. In the “Update schedule” section, you’ll see a sentence that tells you the date your Chromebook will receive its last update.

Final Thoughts

As long as you check the AUE date on your Chromebook, you can have confidence in the device you purchase — no matter whether it’s brand new or renewed.

If the Chromebook you already have is facing its AUE date, and you want to move on, here are some options:

  • Use it as a media player: Old laptops are great for playing videos or listening to music, which is what I did with one of my devices.
  • Recycle it: You may choose to recycle your old device at your local Best Buy or another e-cycling place. Of course, before you take this step, you’ll want to save the files you need in the cloud or on an external drive. After that, erase and/or reset the device, which will remove all files.
  • Revive it: Google has released Chrome OS Flex which is software that is downloaded to your old laptop so you can continue to access Google products like Gmail and Google Docs along with receiving updates. Read our in-depth guide on how to install Chrome OS Flex.

As I mentioned earlier, Clark loves the Chromebook.

“Chromebooks initially were lame, but now they’re fantastic,” he says. “They have decent battery life, you can get on the internet quickly, and they’re easy to travel with.”

Looking to buy some electronics? Visit to find the latest deals on Chromebooks and other devices.

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