Make your Google Chromebook or Chrome browser super faster, smarter, and more pleasant to use with these easy-to-follow steps. We will begin with the easiest tips and tricks to the more advanced Google Chrome and Chromebook speed enhancements/optimizations.
Speed Tip #1: Uninstall unnecessary Chrome apps and extensions
If there’s one main factor that can slow your Chromebook down — not to mention open the door to unnecessary data sharing — it’s having the system overloaded with apps and extensions you don’t actually need. Such programs have the potential to run in the background, eating up system resources (RAM, processor time, storage space) and also to bog down the actual loading of web pages (when it comes to extensions associated with the browser itself).
Beyond that, unneeded apps waste precious space in your device’s local storage and clutter things up visually, making it tougher to find the stuff you actually use on a regular basis. That’s why assessing your app and extension situation twice a year can go a long way in keeping your Chromebook cleaned up and ready to provide its best possible experience.
Start by opening a new browser tab and typing the following: chrome://extensions into the address bar. Unfortunately, a link cannot be created for this command as it is not a URL so Chrome blocks direct links to this.
Look at every item on that page and think carefully about whether you really, truly still need it and how much value it adds to your life or work. For any items that no longer seem relevant, click the “Remove” button and send them to the garbage.
If you aren’t 100% sure whether something is worth keeping or not, try this: Uncheck the blue toggle in the bottom-right corner of its card. That’ll deactivate it but leave it present, almost like a shell, with all of your preferences and history still intact. That way, you can go a day or two without it and see if you miss it or even notice its absence. If you don’t, go back and remove it entirely. If you do, go back and reactivate its toggle — don’t worry no harm was done.
Speed Tip #2: Uninstall or update Android and Linux apps
Chrome OS isn’t just about web apps anymore; these days, Chromebooks are capable of running both Android apps and Linux apps as well as the regular web-centric items. If you’ve taken advantage of either of those possibilities, do the same thing we did in our last step and pore over your collection to see apps which you still use and which should be removed.
Start by looking in your Chromebook’s launcher — the “All Apps”-style drawer that comes up when you swipe up twice from the bottom of your screen or click the circle icon in the lower-left corner and then click the arrow in the partial drawer that appears. For any Android apps that you’re no longer using, right-click or long-press ’em and select “Uninstall” from the menu that appears.
For Linux apps, as with all things Linux, the situation is a tiny bit more complicated: As of now, at least, you can’t uninstall a Linux app within the launcher or any other part of the regular Chrome OS interface. Instead, you’ll have to open up the Terminal app and then type in sudo apt-get remove followed by the app’s package name (the same thing you typed in when you initially installed the program).
Now, for any Android or Linux apps you do want to keep, make sure they’re up to date — because unlike regular Chrome apps, these programs don’t always do that automatically. The Android half is easy: Just open up the Play Store, the same way you would on your phone, and look for the “My apps & games” option in its main menu. Then follow the prompts on screen to download and apply any pending updates.
Linux apps are again a little less user-friendly: You’ll have to go back into that Terminal app and type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade into the prompt. That’ll seek out and apply any available updates for any Linux programs you have installed.
Speed Tip #3: Optimize your time-saving shortcuts
Chrome OS is full of hidden shortcuts and time-saving possibilities — including some super-useful things that require just a few minutes of your time to set up once or revisit so they’ll work to your greatest advantage.
First up is the system tray — that dock-like bar of shortcuts at the bottom of your screen. (see image below.)
Take a moment to make sure the apps or processes you open most often are in that area; if they aren’t, drag them out of the launcher and put them in place. Click the bottom left circle to reveal your available apps right click the app and select Pin to Shelf. (see image below.)
And remember: The tray doesn’t have to be limited only to formal apps. You can also add in shortcuts to a commonly accessed website (be it something like Gmail or Google Drive or even your company’s internal content management system) by opening the site in a regular browser tab, clicking the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner, and selecting “More tools” followed by “Create shortcut.“. (see image below.)
Now, the part most relevant to our purposes: Keep in mind that you can open each item in that list from anywhere in your system by pressing Alt and then the number key corresponding with its position. Pretty handy, eh? (see image below for example.)
Next, save yourself even more valuable seconds by setting up on-demand shortcuts for your favorite web-based search functions. You can do that for most any site with a search option, whether it’s Google Images, Twitter, WebMD, Dictionary.com or Thesaurus.com.
Here’s the trick: Go to the website in question and perform a search — then copy the URL that ends up in your address bar with the results. With Thesaurus.com, for instance, if you search the site for “Wolf,” you’ll be taken to https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/wolf?s=t
Now type chrome://settings/searchEngines into your address bar to pull up Chrome’s custom search engine settings. Click the “Add” button, type in the search engine name (like “Thesaurus“), assign it to whatever keyword you want (like “th“), and then paste that URL from a moment ago (https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/wolf?s=t) into the URL field — only take out the actual search term and anything else and replace it with %s. So in our Thesaurus.com example, you’d end up with https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/%s
(see image below.)
Click Save. Once that’s done, you can simply type your keyword into Chrome’s address bar, hit Space-bar, and then type in whatever term you want to search for — and as soon as you hit enter, you’ll be taken directly to the associated site’s results page for that term. For example: “th wolf”
Speed Tip #4: Enable speedy universal voice dictation input (speak to type) on Google Chrome or Chromebook.
It’s easy to get spoiled with the effectiveness of voice input on your phone — so why not bring that same speaking power to your Chromebook? Yes. Chrome OS has a little-known option for system-wide dictation, and it works whether you’re using your device as a laptop or in a tablet-like state.
All you’ve gotta do is enable it: Open up your Chromebook’s settings, scroll all the way down to the bottom, and tap “Advanced.” Scroll down more until you see the “Accessibility” header, then tap the “Manage accessibility features” option. Next, activate the toggle next to “Enable dictation (speak to type).”
And that’s it: You’ll now see a small microphone icon in the lower-right corner of your screen, right next to the notification panel. Tap it anywhere, anytime, and start talking, and your words will show up on your screen — in whatever field you have focused, no matter what app or process you’re using.
Speed Tip #5: Clean up and connect your cloud storage for multi-device and multi-location access.
Chromebooks don’t tend to have a ton of local space, so take a minute to open your device’s Files app and clear out any clutter you no longer need.
This next part’s equally easy: We’re gonna connect your Chromebook’s Downloads folder to the cloud so that anything you download will automatically sync with your Google Drive storage and thus be available wherever you might need it — on your Android phone, on a traditional desktop computer, or even on another Chrome OS device. (Chrome OS is all about this kind of automatic syncing and device-agnostic access in general, but this is one area where it strangely doesn’t do that by default.)
So here’s the plan: Head back into your Chromebook’s settings, select “Advanced,” then find the line labeled “Location” under the “Downloads” header. Click “Change” and select a folder (or make a new folder specifically for downloads) within your Google Drive storage.
Easy, right? There’s nothing more to it: Anything you download on your Chromebook will be saved to Drive and available anywhere else you sign in from this moment forward.
(Bonus tip: You can take this same concept a step further by setting up your Android phone and any other computers you use — Windows, Mac, whatever — to also sync their downloads with that same Drive folder. That’ll create a single internet-based downloads folder that keeps everything you download in one universally accessible place, no matter what device you’re using.
If your not too tech savvy then stop here.
The next page in this article is more technical in nature and can make your Chrome browser crap out. In which case you can just reset the settings and try again because these tweaks can give your Chromebook hardware and software a mega boost… We will be playing with the chrome://flag option, so once typed into your chromes browser it displays settings and experimental settings. Continue at your own risk…