Your Chromebook's Tombstone is Already Written

by Ashley Perry

Does your nonprofit school use Chromebooks to create a 1:1 student computing platform? 

Does your nonprofit organization use Chromebooks for staff needs? 

If your nonprofit is already using or considering them: this tip is for you.

Every single Chromebook comes with an Auto Expiration Date (AUE).
Your device receives regular updates every six weeks. After the AUE, it will still run- but without receiving updates.

ChromeOS itself is actually rendered obsolete without receiving these security and software updates. Your Chromebook already knows the date that will appear on its tombstone.

non profit, nonprofit, technology, tech, donors, fundraising, volunteer

When does the timer start ticking?

Chromebooks are born with an 8 year lifespan- but that lifespan doesn’t start when you open up the box.

It starts as soon as it becomes a finished product, when it gets perfectly placed in that shiny box, among crisp cut, environmentally disastrous styrofoam pieces, instructions and warranty papers. That’s when the timer starts.

So how do I check for the AUE on the device I have?

It’s easy. From the Google Workspace Admin Home page, go to Devices > Chrome devices, and View the Auto-Update Expiration column.


Chromebooks are some of the safest computers out there, partly because of the regular updates. Any security vulnerabilities are addressed immediately, so you can surf with little worry. That’s a huge benefit to owning a Chromebook (AUE not expired) when you consider that the wide, wide world of the internet can be a malicious place…hackers, viruses, malware…it’s nice to have a device that protects you.

Like many other consumer products, Google auto-expires older devices to support newer devices with better features.

Short answer: they’re doing it for your own good.  

It’s a strategy that’s to argue, since in the last decade Chrome OS has suffered only 55 security breaches, compared with over 2000 on macOS and more than 6000 (!!!) on Windows.

Also, 8 years is a really long life span, considering many of us upgrade our devices somewhere between every 3-5 years.

The tricky thing is that many retailers are selling Chromebooks near the end of their expiration date. This is true for some new, but especially used devices.

How do you know if it’s safe to buy a device if you can’t physically check the date?

Check the model, then go to Google’s AUE Support Page. They keep an updated list of all models and their end-of-life dates. Devices due to expire within 30 days are listed in bold.

When your Chromebook reaches its expiry date, you’ll get a notification warning reminding you that your device will no longer receive critical updates, new features, or security patches.

So, what do I do with a Chromebook past its AUE date?

You can still use it in a few ways.

  • Set up parental controls and give it to your kids to use.
  • Use it as a second monitor.
  • Use the webcam to keep an eye on your home.
  • Use it as a cloud storage device for your media and files.
  • Recycle it.

Any of these are good alternatives. Bottom line: be cautious.