Category

How-To

iTunes on Chromebook

How to put iTunes on Chromebook? [Updated]

By | Chromebook, How-To

This article will help you gain access to your iTunes library on your Chromebook.

You’ve built a music library on iTunes already. You bought a Chromebook and discovered (… probably with much frustration) that you can’t install iTunes on Chromebook.

Don’t worry. Your iTunes music library is still accessible from your Chrome OS device. Let’s take a look at how you can set this up on your Chromebook…

[Update: June 27, 2019]

This post was updated to improve readability and clarity, as well as add some other thoughts. The post was almost entirely rewritten, although the primary points made remain the same.

Add iTunes Library to Chromebook from a Desktop or Laptop

The primary way to access your iTunes library on Chromebook (and other devices you own) is to upload your music from a Windows Computer or Mac.

On a computer that already has your iTunes music:

  1. Go to Google Play Music website
  2. Click on the hamburger menu icon
  3. Click “Upload Music”
  4. From here, you can either drag songs to the website or click “SELECT FROM YOUR COMPUTER”
  5. The upload process may take some time, especially with slower connections. Also, be aware that a large library could be costly depending upon your data limits

For Windows, the default location for your music library is

c:\Users\[your login]\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music

For Mac, the default location for your music library is

/Users/[your login]/Music/iTunes

On your Chromebook:

  1. Add the Google Play Music app, if it’s not already added
  2. Activate Google Play Music, if it’s not already activated
  3. Enjoy your music…

Install iTunes Library on Chromebook through Wine and Linux VMs

Here’s an iTunes for Chromebook hack that may work. If you really wanted to put iTunes on Chromebook, you could try Wine inside of Linux, but read the disclaimer below before you do.

Disclaimer: I have not attempted this method. There are several layers of compatibility concerns. Adding Linux to your Chromebook can add some security issues. This method would probably be resource heavy, so it’s less likely to work on older models. This method is only for the adventurous.

  1. Install Linux on your Chromebook. I’m working on a guide to install Linux on Chromebook and will update this post with a link when I finish. Until then, a Google search will help.
  2. In your Linux installation, install PlayOnLinux (or Wine)
  3. Open the PlayOnLinux app
  4. Click install and search for iTunes
  5. Select the iTunes version
  6. The PlayOnLinux installation wizard will guide you through the iTunes installation

To me, this method requires too much energy and has too many potential issues. I’d rather use Google Play Music to access my iTunes library on Chromebook.

To each their own…

When will we get the real iTunes for Chromebook?

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Apple’s business model relies heavily on a closed, proprietary ecosystem. Opening their software to other platforms requires a lot of internal resources to maintain their ecosystem.

Then why is there iTunes on Windows?

There is a much larger market of Windows users that would benefit from having iTunes. Many people working 9-5 could now listen to music in their iTunes library to help with slower times (, and would pay to expand that library).

Apple at some point believed that iTunes on Windows would make more money than it cost, and they were probably right.

Should I convert to Google’s Ecosystem?

This isn’t really an easy question to answer. I, personally, prefer Google’s ecosystem because it focuses on openness and sharing.

This also leaves it open to more malicious players. I’ve been involved in computers and IT for more than 20 years, so I can smell activity with a bad scent. That may not be the same for all users.

The openness allows more peering eyes to discover exploits, but Google has done a lot to combat these problems, especially with Chromebooks. You can read why Chromebooks don’t need antivirus software.

What do you think?

Was this post helpful? Are there any thoughts, questions, or comments you would like to add? We would love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment or send us an email at [email protected].

Android Apps for Chromebook

By | Apps, How-To

Android Apps for Chromebook has made Chrome OS devices much more valuable as a Windows or MacOS alternative.

There’s a good chance your Chromebook or the Chrome OS device you are considering supports Android apps.

Read on, and find out what devices are supported, how to setup the device, and how to add Android apps to your Chromebook.

Which Chromebooks Support Android Apps

While it had some excellent utility for a low-end price tag, the list of Chromebook apps initially was limited to Chrome extensions and apps specifically designed for Chrome OS.

The lack of a thriving app ecosystem hindered the overall adoption because critics often compared it to a Windows-based or MacOS-based computer.

However, with a vast number of apps on Google Play and a similar device in terms of internal hardware, supporting the Android ecosystem was able to add a lot of functionality for a relatively low cost.

The initial attempts failed and didn’t work well with Android apps. After a scrapping the project for a more promising implementation, Chrome OS officially began supporting Android apps on limited devices in 2016.

Since the hardware and operating systems aren’t the same, there couldn’t be 100% support, but the people behind Chrome OS have continually added support for additional devices.

Chromebooks created after this feature was announced for the OS most likely included the necessary components. If your device was made in 2017 or after, it should come with this feature built-in.

If you have an earlier model, there is still a good possibility that your device supports Android apps. A list of devices that supoort Android apps can be found on the Chromium Projects Website.

How to Check if Your Chromebook Supports Android Apps

If you want to be able to check from your device, first check to make sure you are running Chrome OS 53 or higher. This is done by clicking on the time in the bottom-right corner > Settings > Menu > About Chrome OS.

If the device is running Chrome OS 53 or higher, you can check if the “Google Play Store” section is available in Settings. If it is, congratulations! Your device supports Android apps.

You can “Turn on” the “Install apps and games from Google Play on your Chromebook” option. In the window that comes up, you will need to agree to the Terms of Service. Once you click “I Agree”, you are ready to install some Android apps.

Additionally, an organization’s or school’s security policies may prohibit this feature. Supported devices would not have access to Android apps for Chromebook, in this case.

While in most cases, this is a great feature, some organizations may not want to expose their devices to the Android ecosystem.

If you need any additional help on your Chromebook setup, leave a comment or head over to Chromebook Help Center.

How to Install Android Apps

The process from here is rather simple because it basically mirrors what happens on an Android device. Here are the basic steps:

  • Open the Google Play Store app or navigate to play.google.com
  • Search for the app you want, or browse the recommended apps
  • Click on the desired Android app
  • Click on the Install button (or it will have a price listed if it’s a paid app)

Once downloaded, Android apps can be used and managed like your other Chromebook apps.

What to Expect from Android Apps

Generally, you should have a very nice experience with the news apps. However, most Android Apps were designed with a touch-screen smartphone or tablet in mind.

This means that some apps may not be very easy to use with a mouse and keyboard. With some Chromebooks not having touchscreens, these apps may be more trouble than they are worth.

Fortunately, this case should be few and far between, and with some of these having browser-based web apps, few users should run into this issue, if at all.

How to Rotate Screen on Chromebook

How to Rotate Screen on Chromebook?

By | Chromebook, How-To

If you’ve ever been stuck in the midst of a presentation on a Chromebook with a screen that needs to be rotated, and you have no idea how to make it happen, the result can be both frustrating and embarrassing—and it is the same is you are using Windows, Android, and Mac! There is nothing quite like the panic that sets in as you forget easy digital keyboard shortcuts for screen orientation or any other shortcut, which can feel a bit like standing at the ATM outside your bank and forgetting your password as a long and impatient line forms behind you.

Sometimes, it helps users to find silly ways to commit digital keyboard shortcuts to memory. “Never Eat Slimy Worms” has been recited by grade school students for years as they learn and commit to memory the directions of the compass, so why not try to create a clever trick to help you with Chromebook screen rotation?

The actual shortcut is to rotate the screen is quite simple: ctrl + shift + refresh.

But, perhaps the “refresh” key is the hang-up for some, trying to remember which button to press.

So, when your Chromebook screen needs to be rotated think “Control the situation, Shift the Screen, and Go for a Spin” because the refresh key actually looks like a spinning arrow.

Too much? Then aim to simply remember ctrl+shift+ refresh (or write it on your hand before the presentation).
Also, if you need to rotate the Chromebook screen more than 90 degrees, just repeat the ctrl + shift + refresh process to continue to move your screen another 90 degrees.

An alternative method to rotating the screen on your Chromebook is to go into settings, then display settings, and then change the screen back to “Standard.”

Once you have your screen back to the position you wish to view, you may want to look at other ways to display it. And since you’re here for help with your Chromebook’s overall functionality, we will go ahead and walk you through the steps you will take to connect your Chromebook to an external monitor.

A Chromebook can be connected to an external monitor and/or television monitor by using an HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or a VGA port.

It’s possible you may need an adapter cable in order to hook up your Chromebook to an external monitor; in order to determine this, you should review the instructions that originally came with your Chromebook. While checking those instructions you should find out where the display output and input ports are located on your device; you can use these ports to insert an adaptor and then connect that also to a monitor.

Once you are connected, you will need to take a few additional steps in order to display your Chromebook screen on the monitor.

Step 1: Click on your account photo.
Step 2: Click on Settings.
Step 3: Look in the “Device” section and next click where it says “Displays.”
Step 4: Choose “Mirror Internal Display.” At this point, your Chromebook screen should show up on the external monitor.

You may need to adjust the screen as well and, in order to do that, you will take the following steps:

Step 1: Click on your account photo.
Step 2: Click on “Settings.”
Step 3: Look in the “Device” section and next click where it says “Displays.”
Step 4: Click on “Internal Display,” which will allow you to make the items on your screen larger or smaller using the “Display Size” option and it will also allow you to rotate the screen in the “Orientation” section.
Step 5: You can change screen sharpness by referring to the “Resolution” section.

Finally, one other area of useful information when it comes to screens and monitors for Chromebook users is the steps you would take to correct issues with the touchscreen monitor.

Step 1: Click on your account photo.
Step 2: Click on “Settings.”
Step 3: Look in the “Device” section and next click where it says “Displays.”
Step 4: Choose the monitor you need to calibrate.
Step 5: Click on “Calibrate.”
Step 6: Your Chromebook is then going to prompt you to tap on the corners of your screen and you will then follow the steps onscreen.

How to Delete Apps on Chromebook

How to Delete Apps on Chromebook

By | Apps, Chromebook, How-To

Chromebook users, like most of us in the digital age, can become too “app happy” at times! Like when you get the latest Android device, it is tempting, especially with a new device, to go a bit overboard downloading new apps, some of which are never used and quickly forgotten. You probably downloaded the latest web app to ensure a secure browser, but have also ended up with numerous apps, extensions, and unwanted programs that do nothing more than use up valuable memory on your Chrome device. Therefore, getting rid of every free web app you don’t want will help you restore your Chromebook. Of course, there are some especially useful apps we may open on a daily basis. Budding composers may rely on music apps to work on their craft and a graphic designer might use image-editing apps often. However, there are plenty of apps that ultimately prove to be space-wasters on our Chromebooks, and if you have reached the point where you realize it’s time to clean house, so to speak, you have come to the right place! We will take a look at the easy steps you can take to delete unwanted apps from your Chromebook.

Chromebook differs from Windows, Linus, and Mac, where you can delete installed apps by right-clicking on the app icon and choosing to remove or uninstall. Because Chromebook users may have previously worked in these systems, there could be an initial sense of frustration that the app removal is not as simple as one right click! However, it can still be done with relative ease, allowing you to clean up your Chromebook and free up some of your system memory. There is no need to leave all the unused apps there to waste memory when they could be replaced with something you may actually use and use often!

In order to delete these unwanted apps from a Chromebook you have two different options: users may uninstall them using the Google Play Store or they can be uninstalled by using the launcher. Read on to follow the easy steps for either method.

Uninstall Apps on a Chromebook in the Google Play Store

1. Start by selecting the Google Play Store icon on the shelf.
2. Next, you should click on the menu icon, which is located next to the search bar on the Chromebook.
3. Then you will select “My Apps and Games.”
4. Select each of the apps you wish to delete from your Chromebook, then choose “uninstall,” and finally select “OK.”
And there you have it! Now you have freed up space on your Chromebook for more useful apps.

Uninstall Apps on a Chromebook in the Launcher

For an even quicker way to remove unwanted apps from your Chromebook, you can use the launcher to uninstall them in two easy steps.
1. Open the launcher on your Chromebook.
2. First, select “All Apps,” then go to each app you want to remove, right click on each one, and finally select “Uninstall.”
Hey, presto! You have cleaned up your Chromebook and rid your memory space of unused apps.

Now that you have completed the “house cleaning” on your Chromebook you may want to consider adding new apps that will be useful to you based on your occupation, interests, and hobbies. The world of apps can be overwhelming to navigate so we will give you a good head start by suggesting some of the best and most popular Chromebook apps.

Best Apps for Chromebook

Office Online

If you are accustomed to working in Microsoft Office, the free Office Online app will allow you to create and edit Office documents on a Chromebook. This allows users to avoid some of the hiccups when working on Office documents in Google Docs, eliminating the possibility of compatibility issues when working with other Office users.

Paperfile

For Chromebook users in academic settings, Paperfile is a fantastic app for managing and keeping track of references and sources. The service helps users with the generation of properly formatted citations and keeps track of a wide variety of sources users can annotate or tag. This is an indispensable tool for those in academic research and the app comes with a free 30-day trial (and after that costs $2.99 per month).

StayFocusd

If you’re a Chromebook user who hardly made it through this brief article without stopping several times to check social media, instant messages, and game scores, StayFocusd may be the app for you! This app allows you to set limits on the time you can spend on certain sites and when the allotted time has been used, the sites are blocked. It can be a great tool when deadlines are looming and the temptation to waste time is a constant challenge for procrastinators.

Overdrive

A dream app for book lovers, Overdrive is linked to more than 30,000 libraries. The app allows you to digitally check out and return books. Additionally, you can use the app on Chromebook but also sync to other devices, so you can easily switch between reading on your Chromebook and your phone or other devices.

LastPass

Let’s face it, how much time do we spend trying to remember passwords, failing to do so, and then being forced to change them, starting the entire process over again? LastPass is a fantastic app that serves as your personal password manager. The app helps users generate passwords and then saves them into an encrypted locker, which you can access with one master password. So now you only have one password to remember rather than 27!

Netflix

Netflix users can add the app to their Chromebook for a much better viewing experience than streaming video on a smaller phone screen. In the Google Play Store, Netflix, and other Android entertainment apps are now available to turn Chromebooks into portable entertainment devices. (Just be sure to block Netflix with StayFocusd when a deadline is looming!)

kids on chromebook

Making Chromebooks in the Classroom Child-Friendly

By | Chromebook, How-To, In the Classroom

If you’re using Chromebooks in the classroom, you’ll want to ensure that your students are given a safe learning experience. Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward to make a Chromebook child-friendly and in this article, we’ll show you how it’s done!

Out with Supervised Users, in with Family Link

If you’ve used a Chromebook in the past, you may be familiar with Supervised Users. This was the feature used previously to help adults control the content that could be accessed by younger users. Google phased out this feature in January 2018, and have replaced it with parental controls through the Family Link feature.

Family Link allows parents and guardians to set up a Google account for a child to use on Chromebooks and Android devices and these accounts have in-built restrictions that help to keep young users safe online.

Setting Up Parental Controls Through Family Link

The first step in this process is to set up a Family Link account for each student who will be using a Chromebook. This can be done on a Chromebook, or another laptop, smartphone, or tablet, this is easy to do if you have a regular class, or you can instruct your IT support to help you with a list of users. For mobile devices, there are dedicated apps that will walk you through the process.

Next, open the Chromebook and select ‘Add Person’ from the lock screen. If each student will have their own individual Chromebook, you’ll need to do this just once per machine. If there are communal Chromebooks, you can choose to set up Family Link accounts with generic usernames, rather than one for each individual child. For example, rather than using ‘John Smith,’ you might decide on Student One, Student Two, and so on. This allows you to use the same accounts for more than one year and saves time setting it up for the next batch of students.

For each account, you will need to enter the username and password to sign in to the Chromebook. You’ll then be prompted to sign in to the parental account that has authority over all of the Family Link users which will be the teacher account.

A screen will then pop up, providing you with details of which restrictions are provided by Google. These are currently limited to website blocking, safe search, no incognito mode in Chrome, and no Play Store access. You can also manually check each user’s browsing history. Restrictions do not extend to apps and screen time control, but in a classroom environment children will be supervised so this is not a limitation.

The options offered natively by Google may not be sufficient for the needs of your students, particularly those who are older or more curious. In that case, you can extend control by using a third-party app.

Advanced Controls for Curious Kids

If you are working with older children who have the skills to circumvent basic controls or would prefer to take an extra level of precaution, third-party apps can help you to lock down a Chromebook to make its purpose purely educational.

There are several options available, according to the controls you wish to implement. Omnito is an app that has been created specifically for the classroom. From one screen, teachers are able to view and monitor all open tabs on their students’ Chromebooks. You’ll also have the option to close any tabs that are not conducive to learning, restrict website access, and remotely lock devices. In addition, Omnito offers full integration with Google Classroom. For teachers already using the platform, or looking to introduce it to their classroom, this permits automatic syncing. In theory, this should make starting a lesson more efficient. Go Guardian and Blocksi offer similar features; try a free trial of each app to establish which one works best for you and your students.

Alternatively, you can try apps that are designed primarily for parental control but have features that are transferable to the classroom. Mobicip is an app that provides wide-ranging supervision of each Chromebook. As well as restricting website access, it allows you to enforce time limits on usage, check what has been downloaded, and monitor all devices from one account. If you’re managing multiple Chromebooks in the classroom, this can help to make the practical side of supervision significantly easier.

Now that you have the tools to help protect your students when using Chromebooks, you’re ready to put their educational potential to good use!

man on couch connecting to VPN on laptop

Using a VPN on a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

Chromebooks and VPNs: Adding an Extra Layer of Security 

Imagine working remotely and needing access to the private servers of your company. You would never access company data with someone looking over your shoulder, so why enable someone to do the same when you are connecting to a public network?

A VPN (virtual private network) is a network created to ensure a safe and encrypted internet connection. It is often used in settings where your regular connection is just not safe enough, like when you connect to a public Wi-Fi. Public networks are highly insecure, and there’s a myriad of ways you can lose your private information when you connect to one (Wi-Fi spoofing, as one example).

Having a VPN helps immensely and it’s the best way to secure data when you are connecting remotely anywhere. VPNs are growing in popularity, and, since Chromebooks are designed to be lightweight and mobile, the two go nicely hand in hand. It’s important to know how to set up a VPN on your Chromebook for that ultimate security, especially in the digital era.

Benefits of a VPN

First, the benefits to using a VPN on Chromebooks are quite apparent, even apart from hiding your online activity.

Increased Privacy

When you browse, you leave bits of data everywhere on the web. With a VPN, this data can’t be linked to you; it will just be linked to the VPN provider. This means websites and programs can’t gather personal data on you because you aren’t specifically “viewable” to them. This enhanced security is because VPN offers heavy encryption, which makes it impossible to gain access to your data when connecting to hot spots and Wi-Fi networks.

No Content Restrictions

You have probably stumbled upon the odd YouTube clip that is not available in your country. With a VPN, you can easily bypass such restrictions. VPN servers are located all over the world, and you can easily find one in the right country with access to information not available to you otherwise.

No Bandwidth Throttling

Some ISPs tend to throttle your speed when you are connecting to certain websites. For instance, your ISP might have issues dealing with Netflix because they have their own service they want you to have, or because streaming 4K movies and TV shows takes a lot of bandwidth that they wish to keep clear. By making watching Netflix impossible, they could force you to switch. Although there’s much to be said about such practices, and many disagree with them, there’s very little you can do about it. But by setting up a VPN, you can get around this issue and enjoy a smoother streaming and browsing experience.

How to Set Up a VPN on Your Chromebook

Even though many VPN providers offer “download and install” types of service, when using a Chromebook, in most cases you’ll have to do the grunt work yourself. Some VPN providers are creating apps for the Chromebook in the Chrome Web Store, so if you can find the right app, you’re all set. If you can’t, you will have to set up a VPN manually. Luckily, it’s not that complicated:

1. Import the Certificate

You will get the CA Certificate (a key) from your VPN company and you will be sent a file. After you do:

Open a tab > go to chrome://settings/certificates > click the Authorities tab > press import > select the certificate file.

A box will open, asking you what you trust this certificate to verify. Select the option that applies or leave it unchecked if you are not sure.

2. Enter VPN Network Settings

Here, you will need to enter the account and server information.

Go to your account photo > click the gear icon > go to Network > click Add Connection > click Add > Open VPN/L2TP

Next, you’ll need to fill in the required information including:

  • Server hostname: Server Name or IP Address
  • Service name: Name your connection anything you like
  • Provider type: OpenVPN most commonly
  • Choose the CA Certificate you installed from the list
  • User Certificate: Leave blank or choose one if installed. It installs the same way as a CA Certificate.
  • Username: Your VPN username.
  • Password: Your VPN password
  • OTP: Leave blank unless you have a token that generates one-time passwords.

3. Test the Connection

It’s active once you see a key symbol next to the Wi-Fi symbol.

It may sound overly technical, but using a VPN on a Chromebook offers a wealth of benefits and added security. Plus, the set up is a simple step-by-step process you can follow using this guide.

laptop books

Reading E-Books on a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To

Do Chromebooks Make Good E-Readers?

Chromebooks have become a very popular option thanks to their affordable price and long battery life. Today, they can do much more than just help you edit text and access email. Now you can edit images, play games, watch movies, and even use them to read e-books.

But the question is, do Chromebooks make good e-readers? The answer is yes.

How to Read E-Books on a Chromebook

In order to have a quality e-book reading experience on your Chromebook, you will have to set up a few things first. The best possible experience depends on the Chromebook model. If you read a lot of e-books, it’s not a bad idea to use a Chromebook that can be held like a tablet. The Chromebook Flip is a great example. You will be glad to know that Kindle offers the Kindle Cloud Reader app, which can easily be downloaded to your Chromebook to get access to all the Amazon books you have on your account. But if you don’t have any Amazon books, you can still use Chromebook to read e-books.

There are a number of apps and extensions that make this possible, like the Google Play Books app and Readium. To access library books, the OverDrive app will be your best bet. Audiobooks are also available through OverDrive, as well as through Audible.

As with many other apps today, there are subscription services for books, too. Scribd is one of them, offering more than 500,000 titles, and Kindle Unlimited is another option, with 750,000 titles. If you’re more into comics, Marvel and Comixology have you covered.

At this point, OverDrive seems like the optimal option for many, as it’s compatible with all e-book formats (except PDF) and all audiobook formats.

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Why You Should Use Your Chromebook as an E-Book Reader

If you’re wondering whether you should get a dedicated e-book reader or a Chromebook, here are a few benefits to using a Chromebook:

  • With Chromebook, it’s much easier to write notes and create content than when using a dedicated e-book reader. Quickly write notes and save them to Google Drive for later access. This is perfect for those who are reading academically or in a learning capacity.
  • Many new monitors have a special “Reading mode” that reduces blue light (which is known to hinder sleep) and minimizes eye strain. This can be achieved on Chromebook with apps like Twilight or Screen Shader, which are available in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Chromebooks tend to be the better option for viewing PDFs.
  • A dedicated e-book reader supports all formats but might be locked to certain services (only Kindle books, for instance). With Chromebook, you can read all e-books thanks to supporting multiple apps, e-book libraries, and services.
  • Most e-book readers have limited functionality, enabling web browsing, for instance, but not much else. Chromebooks cover a wide array of functions, from browsing and checking email to editing text and photos, playing games, and more.

Ultimately, a Chromebook makes an excellent e-book reader, and it provides the added benefit of multiple functionalities, making it the more cost-effective option.

closeup view of chrome logo on laptop

The First Steps to Owning a Chromebook

By | Chromebook, How-To, Making the Switch

You Purchased a Chromebook – Now What?

Getting your Chromebook can be exciting, but overwhelming, because you may not know where to turn first! There are several things you should do when you first get your Chromebook, such as setting it up properly, learning how to customize it, and getting all the must-have apps and products to ensure you have a seamless experience.

Personalization

Change Your Theme 

You simply have to visit the Chrome Web Store and browse through themes. If you find one you like, just select Add to Chrome and the theme will be installed. If you access your account on another Chromebook, the theme will appear there as well, because it’s linked to your account and is synced across all devices you use.

Shelf 

There are several options for organizing your apps. First, the Shelf is the taskbar at the very bottom of your interface. You can pin your favorite apps to the taskbar for easy access by right-clicking on the app you want and choosing Pin to Shelf. And apps aren’t the only thing you can put there. If there’s a site you visit frequently, you can bookmark the Shelf by choosing the More option in your browser, then More Tools and Add to Shelf.

Organize Your Apps 

Start off organized and on the right foot. You can create App Folders the same way you create them on an Android phone: by dropping one app on top of another. Holding the folder for a longer time allows you to change its name. This will reduce clutter and group apps according to usage, making you more productive.

Set Up (Multiple) User Profiles

Chromebook is designed in such a way that you can set up fully separate profiles, with each profile having their own personal settings, apps, and controls. If you have children, it’s not a bad idea to set up restricted profiles via the Supervised Users option that acts as a parental control. Using to this option, you can limit which sites they have access to. What’s more, safe search can’t be disabled.

Use Guest Mode

By utilizing Guest Mode, you can safely give your Chromebook to someone else without allowing them access to any of your documents or data. Plus, your browsing history and bookmarks will also be safe. All data that was accessed in Guest Mode is wiped clean once done.

Set Up a VPN

A VPN keeps you safe online, which is particularly important on a Chromebook because of its various online functions. Connecting to public networks always comes with a risk, and thanks to a VPN that adds another layer of protection, your data will be hidden from any prying eyes. Some VPN providers have their own apps that you can download from the Chrome Web Store, so make sure to check that before choosing your provider.

Essential Apps

You will need some additional apps to make your Chromebook into a powerhouse. The volume of available apps is growing every day, but here’s a list to get you started:

Google Drive and G-Suite – With Docs, Slides, and Sheets, you have all the essentials of an office suite that works across all Chrome OS devices.

Gmail – A no-brainer, really. There’s no productivity if you don’t have email. You can choose between the web version or the Android app.

Microsoft Office – Microsoft Office is available in the form of Android apps for Chromebooks, so just download them from the Play Store and log in with your Microsoft account.

Keep – Keep your digital notes organized with Keep.

Slack or Skype – To keep in touch with colleagues, you can use Skype or Slack, as both have native Android apps readily available for use.

Google Calendar – Keep track of all your meetings and tasks with the web or app version.

Pixlr – Web-based image editor, free to use.

AdBlock – If ads are testing your patience, AdBlock will help you keep your sanity.

The Great Suspender – Each open tab eats away your resources. The Great Suspender makes sure to suspend the tab you aren’t using at the time. It’s still there, but it’s not hogging your resources until you need it. Simply reload the tab to use again.

Learn Your Shortcuts

Shortcuts were made in heaven. They make things much easier and faster, and in today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder why so many people use them. There’s a very extensive list of Chromebook shortcuts you can use, all readily available on Google’s support pages.

Once you have taken these steps, your Chromebook is all set up and ready to go!

 

woman recording content for a vlog

Chromebooks for Vloggers

By | Chromebook, How-To

Vlogging on a Chromebook

As a lightweight, easy-to-carry and affordable option, Chromebooks are gaining traction with bloggers and vloggers. Many are unsure whether the Chromebook has what it takes to actually produce videos for vlogs and be a sustainable alternative for bloggers, so let’s take a closer look at vlogging on a Chromebook, the features you can use, and whether it’s actually possible.

What is Needed to Vlog on a Chromebook

The biggest criticism with Chromebooks for creatives is normally that you can’t use Photoshop or Premier. However, there are a number of other apps available to give you the bare essentials. Chromebooks are more flexible now, which means there are a wider variety of apps than ever before.

To get started vlogging on a Chromebook, you need to be able to do three things: photo editing, video recording, and video editing. Here are some of the options you have available.

Video Recording Apps

If you don’t have a camera and wish to record your video with a Chromebook, you should know that there is not a pre-installed app or extension for that purpose, so you’ll have to find one on the Chrome Web Store first.

Once you install the app, you will have to grant permissions; otherwise, the app won’t be able to access your webcam.

  • Clipchamp – An extension that can record, convert, compress, edit, and upload videos. It can be used on Chromebook and is a very popular choice for recording videos because it’s all-encompassing. It runs in the browser, but the videos are actually processed locally. The process is rather CPU-intensive, so it’s best to close other processes before you start recording.
  • io – Another web-based recorder that keeps things simple. You simply give permissions and can start recording as soon as you push the red circle on your screen. Once you have recorded everything, click Stop > Save and Download the video.

Of course, many vloggers prefer to record video using a DSLR camera or their own device, which is a perfectly viable alternative. If you go that route, you’ll simply need the right editing software.

Photo Editing Apps

In order to really stand out, you’ll need to be able to edit photos, whether it’s a still image in your video or cover images for your channel and social media. To make photos more appealing, you can use any of the various photo editing apps available for Chromebooks, including:

  • Pixlr – A web-based photo editor that comes as close to Photoshop as possible. You can edit images to your liking, and it’s free to use. The downside: as a free software, it has a number of ads, which could be a deal breaker for some.
  • Polarr – Another web-based photo editor with basic options available for free; the full range of options is behind a one-time $20 paywall, however. Still, the options are really powerful, so if you use photo editors a lot, this would be a good choice.
  • Adobe Suite – There are multiple Adobe apps available: Photoshop and Lightroom are available too, but they are not as strong when compared to Windows versions. Other apps include Sketch and Photoshop Mix for Chromebook users.

Video Editing Apps

Add fun effects, transitions, and the professional editing touch to your videos, particularly for vloggers aiming to monetize and build a foundation for income. These editing apps for vloggers are available on the Chromebook:

  • PowerDirector – A video editor made for Android that also works well on Chromebook. You can easily import and edit videos, even in 1080p and 4K resolutions. Its best selling point is the effects that can be added: slow motion, transition, and more. Plus, the interface is simple and intuitive. One word of warning, however: it does take quite a lot of time to export videos once you’re done editing, since there’s no hardware acceleration available.
  • KineMaster – Offers all the options that PowerDirector does, but it’s popular because of its themes. The tool’s Project Assistant basically builds your videos for you: you choose the artwork, fonts, music, and visual style, and then you let the wizard do its magic. It’s available for a monthly fee only, but there’s a trial version as well, so you can try everything out before you commit.
  • WeVideo – A feature-packed editor available to Chromebooks with access to Google Play, like the Acer Chromebook 14. Thanks to the intuitive interface, it can be used right away and offers video upload options to Instagram, Facebook, or Google Drive. Its subscription-based, and if you use the free version, you will have a watermark on your videos. It features an extensive media library full of free music and sound effects, which makes working in this editor a real treat.

For the naysayers, vlogging is more than possible with a Chromebook. And thanks to the vast number of apps and extensions available for Chromebooks today, it’s actually easier than ever.

 

laptop business

How To Use Your Chromebook For Business

By | Chromebook, How-To

Can Your Chromebook Keep up?

Chromebooks are a cloud-based option that many users have grown to love because they are lightweight, easy to use on the go, and affordable. Today, many apps that you download on your Chromebook can run while you are offline too. But are they a valid choice for a business?

Surprisingly, Chromebooks have quite a lot to offer to the corporate world, particularly for those who need to lug them around all day!

Startups and Entrepreneurs

The trend today, especially for many startups, is to limit the amount of overhead costs they have and to find cost-effective solutions for their business. If your desktop computer or workstation is not being used to its full potential because you work with online apps, you might want to consider switching to a lightweight solution. If your work is mostly cloud-based, prefer cloud-based storage solutions and automatic backups, rely on various web apps for productivity and want minimal setup issues, the Chromebook will be a great choice for your business or small team.

G-Suite for Businesses

With G-Suite, Google’s solution for both small and large businesses, you get access to everything you need to streamline your processes, collaborate with colleagues, and easily work on your projects. G-Suite is a very powerful bundle of cloud computing, collaboration and productivity tools, software, and products.

With it, you can connect with your colleagues easily through Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Plus, Hangouts Chat, and Meet. Get quick access to all the apps needed to successfully work on your projects: from Docs and Sheets, all the way to Sites and Keep. All your files and data can be stored on the Google Drive, and you can easily find all of them thanks to Google Cloud Search.

Larger businesses will be happy to know that Google has introduced Jamboard, a digital whiteboard. Jamboard offers a completely new, innovative new way to work on projects and visualize ideas interactively.

Chromebook as a Business Solution

Even though Chromebooks have a reputation as being a lightweight option for simple tasks only, much has changed in recent years, and Google is offering Chromebook solutions for both smaller and larger businesses.

If you are debating whether you can use a Chromebook for business, the short answer is: Yes, you can. There are certain things to take in consideration, of course. For instance, their processing power isn’t as strong when compared to regular desktops—they aren’t meant for monumental tasks that require vast amounts of processing power. They also can’t be used with legacy software, so a regular computer would be better suited in that case.

But, there are many benefits to using Chromebooks for business: they are easy to set up and use, scale perfectly, and management is minimal. Thanks to their automatic backup and synchronization, you can always be sure that all your data is safely stored in case something happens to your device or you have particularly clumsy staff.

Thanks to the built-in antivirus, regular security updates bundled with a verified boot and strong encryption, they are one of the safest options available out there for your business.