Readers like you help support XDA Developers. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

If you own a great new Chromebook or even a ChromeOS tablet, you might want to consider switching the channel that your device is enrolled in. Switching the ChromeOS channel gets you access to new features, including some Google is testing. Of course, not all channels are the same, which is why we're here to explain things to you. There are actually three main ones you can switch between easily, similar to the Windows Insider program and Windows 11 on a new laptop, along with one you can use for development or testing.

What are the different channels?

Out of the box, your Chromebook is enrolled in the Stable channel, which gets new features and updates every 2–3 weeks. Then, there's the Beta channel, which is updated every four weeks and lets you view upcoming changes and updates, but without annoying bugs. There's also the Developer channel, which has the latest ChromeOS features and gets updated twice every week and gets you the new features as soon as possible.

On the other more technical side, there's the Canary Channel, too, which requires you to put your Chromebook in developer mode. This is for advanced users only and brings the most bugs since it's the latest ChromeOS code, but you will get daily updates, sometimes with hidden features.

How to enroll a Chromebook in a different channel for new features

To enroll your Chromebook in a different channel, you need to keep a few things in mind. You must own the Chromebook that you want to switch channels on, so if your Chromebook is managed by work or school, you won't be able to switch. You'll also want to back up your data to your Chromebook, either via the cloud or a local USB drive. That said, here's what to do next.

To switch to Beta or Developer channels

Switching to the Beta and Developer channels in ChromeOS is easy. It just takes a few clicks.

  1. Log in to your Chromebook as usual.
  2. Click on the clock and then the Settings cog.
  3. Choose About ChromeOS in the sidebar.
  4. Choose Additional details.
  5. Click the Change channel.
    Switching Chromebook channel
  6. Choose Beta or Developer and then click Change Channel.

Your Chromebook will then download, update, and ask you to restart. If you want to switch back to a more stable ChromeOS experience, repeat the steps above and choose Powerwash. Then, hit Relaunch and Powerwash. This will delete everything on your Chromebook.

To switch to the Canary channel

To switch to the less stable Canary channel on ChromeOS, there are a lot of extra steps. In the end, this might be worth it because Google often tests the newest ChromeOS features here first. A good example is the new Material You redesign for ChromeOS. This process will erase your Chromebook, so make sure you back up your data first.

  1. Hold the Escape, and Refresh keys on your Chromebook while you power it on.
  2. Press Ctrl + D to enter Developer Mode.
  3. Follow the prompts on your screen, and erase your device. It'll reinstall ChromeOS.
  4. You'll be prompted each time your Chromebook boots with a warning, but you can press Ctrl + D on your keyboard to dismiss it.
  5. Set up your Chromebook as usual.
  6. Once you've reached the ChromeOS desktop in developer mode, open a terminal with Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard.
  7. Type the following command: live_in_a_coal_mine
    Switching to ChromeOS Dev in the terminal
  8. Press Y and then Enter to confirm.
  9. Open the ChromeOS Settings app. Click About ChromeOS, then Check for Updates

Once you finish the steps above, you'll be running the latest version of ChromeOS, right from Google's own labs. Of course, you'll get a lot of bugs, but it's here where you'll be able to dog food new features before everyone else! If you want to switch back to the regular version of ChromeOS, open back a terminal, and enter shell then press the enter key. Then, type this command:

update_engine_client –channel=stable-channel -update and press the Enter key. You can then go back and check for updates, and you'll be taken back to the stable channel.