Google’s ChromeOS Flex is now available to turn old Macs into Chromebooks

Google has officially released ChromeOS Flex, a method of replacing the operating system on older PCs and Macs, which essentially turns them into Chromebooks.

chrome os flex mac
The idea is that if you have an aging Mac lying around that can’t run macOS 12 Monterey, then you can install ChromeOS Flex on it using a bootable USB stick and then try what Google’s cloud-first operating system has to offer. .

Google began testing ChromeOS Flex earlier this year with an early access preview. After solving 600 errors since then, the company encourages individuals, schools and businesses to download the software to “easily try modern computing with cloud-based management” while extending the life of older devices, thereby reducing e-waste.

ChromeOS Flex is the result of Google’s 2020 acquisition of Neverware, a company that offered an app called CloudReady that allows users to convert old PCs to ChromeOS machines.

The operating system is certified to work on over 400 devices, including Macs released after 2010 with 16 GB of free storage. Use of OS Flex is free for individuals, but schools and businesses using CloudReady will continue to be charged a fee and a subscription rate, respectively.

Google says the ChromeOS Flex has the same look and feel as the ChromeOS that came with each Chromebook, as it’s built on the same code base and includes Google Assistant, the Chrome browser, and Sharing nearby. However, there is no Google Play Store, and Google has outlined some other primary-level limitations for OS Flex that set it apart from ChromeOS on native Google devices.

If you are not yet ready to install ChromeOS Flex on devices, you can temporarily run it using the USB installer. This way, you can test and verify that the device’s functionality, such as network and input tools, works as expected. See the ChromeOS Flex Installation Guide for more help with the installation and configuration process.

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