Test: Running Chrome OS Flex on an old Mac

Is Chrome OS Flex an option to extend the life of a Mac that is no longer keeping up? I’ve tested Google’s software that replaces the old operating system with the Chromebook.

Yes, there is noting wrong with your eyes! Chrome OS runs great on an old Mac, for instans on a MacBook Air from 2015.

Finally all computers, no matter how much extra memory you pour in when buying, get too old. They no longer have what is required in terms of hardware to cope with new versions of both operating systems and programs. Here Google has found a new niche. Now Google has released Chrome OS Flex, meant to be able to replace Windows and Mac OS on older computers.

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Chrome OS is Google’s cloud-based operating system for Chromebooks, often very cheap laptops that are completely built around Google’s wide range of services. Until now, Chromebook Chrome OS has primarily existed in laptops from different manufacturers but with exactly the same operating system.

Extending the life of computers is an environmentally important effort, the longer the life, the less electronic waste is really something we should all be happy about. Google are certainly not unhappy with the fact that they is ensnaring even more users with its universe. But that does not mean that you as a user cannot use other cloud-based services such as Microsoft’s or Apple’s services. If it is on the web, it simply works.

The big advantage of Chromebooks/ChromeOS is, to say the least, the modest system requirements. It runs well on computers that get stuck when the regular OS has developed so much that older computers can no longer handle it.

Fact is that more and more users are switching to Chromebooks, especially schools and private users, but also large companies and municipalities are leaving PC/Mac for cost reasons. The hotel chain Nordic Choice and the municipality of Trondheim, Norway are two big examples.

I’ve tried installing Chrome OS Flex on two old Macs that have been used up, a Mac mini from 2012 and a MacBook Air from 2015. And it works perfectly and feels very stable. So this could definitely be an option for someone who mostly runs web-based services in Chrome, as I’m sure most of us do.

The installation itself is simple. You download Chrome OS Flex on a USB stick. It is then possible to choose either to run directly from the stick or to install on the computer and replace the current OS. Running from USB is of course not a long-term solution, but an excellent way to test if it works on the device and if Chrome OS Flex is something you want to use regularly.

Keen to try? Here is more info from Google.

Toppbild Bild av Ron Lach, Pexels