Chrome 69 on ChromeOS brings Linux Beta, but wait!

September 19, 2018

Chrome 69 was released yesterday and with it came a new material design, a revised Files app, and Linux Beta. As a crouton user, I was really excited to hear that I would no longer need to have Developer mode enabled to do serious web development. There is a catch though and, for me, it’s a deal breaker.

Removing developer mode from your Chromebook (or in my case a Pixelbook) requires you to Powerwash. That means restoring it to factory settings. Now, the great part about a Chromebook is that everything except local files are synced so you should be back up and running in no time.

The problem is that Google removed the ability to run Android apps in parallel. First introduced in Chrome 65, Chromebooks that had an enabled Play store could not only run Android apps but run them in parallel. That means if you were playing Hearthstone via Android, you could still use Chrome to surf the web while your opponent figured out what they would play. (Probably on turn 1 with only 3 cards in hand but that’s a complaint for another time!)

If you Powerwash your Chromebook, you will lose this feature and be unable to get it back! I learned this the hard way on my Chromebook Pro and have gotten verification from others who have tried it on their Pixelbook.

I’m not sure why Google chose to remove this feature as it seems to work flawlessly. But until they bring it back my Pixelbook will be staying in developer mode.