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Long-term Support (LTS) on ChromeOS

For administrators who manage ChromeOS devices for a business or school.

For ChromeOS version 96 and later.

As an admin, you can use the Long-term support candidate (LTC) and Long-term support (LTS) channels to help increase stability. The long-term support channels have a slower release cadence than the Stable channel, which updates on a 4-week cycle. Devices continue to receive frequent security fixes, but they only get feature updates every 6 months.

We recommend that devices be on the latest Chrome version on the Stable channel, but sometimes you might need to keep devices that are in different organizational units on a long-term support channel. For example, use a long-term support channel for unattended devices, standardized assessments in schools, or healthcare deployments.

Note: Google provides automatic updates to a certain date. For details, see Auto Update policy.

LTS release cadence compared with Stable
  • S (Stable)—Devices automatically update to the next stable version each month.
  • LTC (Long-term support candidate)—Devices get LTS features 3 months before the version releases on the LTS channel. Devices automatically update to the next LTC version.
  • LTS (Long-term support)—Devices automatically update to the next LTS version every 6 months.

For the full list of features included on the long-term support channel, see Long-term Support (LTS) release notes.

Things to consider when switching channels

We recommend that first you switch devices to the LTC channel. Then, you can switch them to the LTS channel at any time.

Stable to LTC

You can use Auto-update settings in the Admin console to switch channels from Stable to LTC. Devices on the Stable channel can switch to LTC every 6 months, when the version number on the Stable channel matches the version number on the LTC channel. Alternatively, devices that are pinned to prior versions of ChromeOS can switch to LTC right away.

For example, devices with Chrome version 114 switch channels from Stable to LTC almost immediately. However, devices that have already updated to Chrome version 115 only switch channels when version 120 becomes available on the Stable and LTC channels. Because devices no longer receive automatic updates on the Stable channel, they are essentially pinned to Chrome version 115 until Chrome version 120 is available on the LTC channel. As a result, devices miss out on security updates.

Devices automatically update to the next LTC version every 6 months. So, the ChromeOS feature set is stabilized for 6 months, with security fixes every 2 weeks.

LTC to LTS

You can use the Admin console to switch channels from LTC to LTS. LTS becomes available 3 months after LTC. 

Devices that are left on the LTC channel when LTS becomes available receive security updates every 2 weeks. Approximately 3 months later, when the LTC for the next LTS release begins, the devices update automatically to this new LTC.

Devices that are moved to the LTS channel receive security updates, every 2 weeks for 6 months, until the next LTS release becomes available.

Stable to LTS

You can use the Admin console to switch channels from Stable to LTS. However, your devices must be pinned to or running a ChromeOS version that is earlier or equal to the LTS version to update to it.

Devices that are moved to the LTS channel receive security updates, every 2 weeks for 6 months, until the next LTS release becomes available.

Switch back to Stable

You can use the Admin console to switch channels from long-term support back to the Stable channel at any time. Moving devices from the LTC or LTS channel to the Stable channel of ChromeOS takes effect the next time users reboot their devices.

Download size

When you switch to LTS, you might want to consider the size of the ChromeOS updates.

  • Stable 120 to LTC 120: It is a change in channels. Expect a larger download.
  • LTC 120 to LTS 120: It is a change in channels. Expect a larger download.
  • LTC 114 to LTC 120: Includes six months worth of new features and updates. Expect a larger download than the average Stable X to Stable X+1.
  • LTS 114 to LTS 120: Includes six months worth of new features and updates. Expect a larger download than the average Stable X to Stable X+1.

For more details, see ChromeOS LTS release notes.

For more recommendations on download size, see Manage updates on ChromeOS devices.

Switch devices to the LTC channel

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Devicesand thenChromeand thenSettingsand thenDevice settings.
  3. To apply the setting to all devices, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  4. Go to Device update settings.
  5. Click Auto-update settings.
  6. Select Allow updates.
  7. For Release channel, select Long-term support candidate channel.
  8. Click Save.

Verify the channel switch is applied

After you switch the release channel, you can check users’ devices to make sure the switch was applied correctly.

  1. Sign into a managed ChromeOS device.
  2. At the bottom right, click the time.
  3. Click Settings .
  4. To check the version:
    1. At the bottom of the left panel, click About ChromeOS.
    2. Under Google ChromeOS, you'll find which version of the Chrome operating system the device uses.
  5. To check the channel:
    1. On the About ChromeOS page, click Additional details.
    2. Under Channel, check the channel device is on.

When you put ChromeOS devices on the LTC or LTS channel, users only see that their device is on the long-term support channel.

 

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