Just this week we began receiving reports of Chromebook devices losing internet connectivity only within Android apps. To be fair, we’ve seen this bug arise in the past and it was generally quick to be squashed and only present in Beta and Dev Channels of Chrome OS. This time around, however, the bug is firmly in the Stable Channel and if you’ve been affected by it, you know the aggravating nature of the problem.
In the middle of hundreds of things to do this week, checking in on this particular bug that I’d only heard about up to this point was on my list of stuff to get done. Apart from a few emails, we hadn’t researched the issue much as no one in the office had yet to run into the problem. As these things go, you generally don’t fully sit up and pay attention until a problem goes from being someone else’s to being your own.
This morning, I flipped open my Pixelbook and went to start up some music and you can likely guess what happened next: my clearly-connected Chromebook had no internet connection for YouTube Music. I quickly tried to open the Play Store and, to no one’s surprise found it to be unresponsive and behaving as if my Pixelbook was devoid of internet connectivity.
As I said above, we’ve seen this bug crop up in the past, but it has been constrained to development channels and never made it down to the production-level, Stable Channel of Chrome OS. When bugs rear their heads in those upper channels like Beta, Dev, or Canary, we have to give users the canned response we always do: if you want things to work all the time, stay in Stable.
Unfortunately, that response won’t cut it this time as this crippling bug has made it into the Stable Channel this time around. There are a few things you need to know about this one and it could save you some frustration. First, it is a hit-and-miss bug, so it may not be an issue for a few days and then show up again out of nowhere. Second, there are some temporary fixes, but my guess is the long-term fix will come with Chrome OS 77 in the next week.
How To Fix It For Now
If you are suffering from this bug, there are a couple simple fixes you can use to get through until a proper fix arrives in Chrome OS 77. The first solution is the tried-and-true method that cures 95% of all digital device woes: restart your Chromebook. Yep, just power down and power back up and your Android apps should have their connection back. How long it will last is the big question, but as a workaround, this is the simplest solution until we get a proper fix likely in Chrome OS 77.
The other option would be to hop over to the Beta Channel. I’ve had a few devices in Chrome OS 77 Beta for weeks and it is very stable and relatively bug-free. With a move to Chrome OS 77 Stable coming within the week, the current state of the Beta 77 build is about as concrete as it is going to get, so moving over will be a pretty painless experience.
To get there, just go to your settings menu > About Chrome OS (at the bottom on the left nav menu) > Detailed build information > Change channel > Beta > Change channel. After it downloads, you will be prompted to restart and upon doing so, you’ll be in the Beta Channel. Please note that you can follow the same process to head back to Stable, but regressing does wipe all your local data. Moving from Stable to Beta will not clear any local data, however.
These are two workarounds for a problem that simply shouldn’t exist. These issues are ones that cause people like myself to have a love/hate relationship with the 6-week update cycle. I love new features and a constant evolution of software, but small bugs like this are somewhat inevitable and most definitely frustrating for old and new users alike. Here’s hoping this one never shows up in the Stable Channel again.