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Long-term Support (LTS) on Chrome OS

For administrators who manage Chrome OS devices for a business or school.

For Chrome OS version 96 and later.

Chrome releases a full OS update on the Stable channel every 4 weeks. Minor updates, such as security fixes and software updates, happen every 2 weeks. 

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. Devices still 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: When a device reaches Auto Update Expiration (AUE), automatic updates from Google are no longer guaranteed. Refer to the AUE dates.

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.

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

From Chrome version 96 onwards, you can use 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 Chrome OS can switch to LTC right away.

For example, devices with Chrome version 96 switch channels from Stable to LTC almost immediately. However, devices that have already updated to Chrome version 97 only switch channels when version 102 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 97 until Chrome version 102 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 Chrome OS 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 become 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 Chrome OS 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 become 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 Chrome OS 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 Chrome OS updates.

  • Stable 96 to LTC 96: Includes the same build, but different packaging. Expect a minimal download.
  • LTC 96 to LTS 96: Includes the same build and same packaging. Expect a minimal download.
  • LTC 96 to LTC 102: Includes six months worth of new features and updates. Expect a larger than the average Stable X to Stable X+1
  • LTS 96 to LTS 102: Includes six months worth of new features and updates. Expect a larger than the average Stable X to Stable X+1

For more recommendations on download size, see Manage updates on Chrome OS 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. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devicesand thenChrome.
  3. Click Settingsand thenDevice.
  4. To apply the setting to all devices, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  5. Scroll to Device update settings.
  6. For Auto-update settings, make sure that Device updates is set to 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 Chrome OS 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 Chrome OS.
    2. Under Google Chrome OS, you'll find which version of the Chrome operating system the device uses.
  5. To check the channel:
    1. On the About Chrome OS page, click Additional details.
    2. Under Channel, check the channel device is on.

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

 

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