As school-related summer approaches its end, parents and students alike are now on the lookout for the best back-to-school deals. Among the items always at the top of school supply lists are Chromebooks. It makes sense: they are budget-friendly, versatile, and easy to use. Even more, they’ve become a staple in education, making them a core piece of tech that makes a lot of sense to purchase this time of year.
But before you rush to click the buy button on that shiny new Chromebook, there’s an important aspect you need to consider: The Auto Update Expiry (AUE) date. The AUE date is a policy implemented by Google that outlines the timeline for automatic software updates on Chromebooks. After a Chromebook reaches its AUE date, it no longer gets updated. That means no more security patches, feature updates, or new software enhancements that come along.
The real problem with a Chromebook reaching its AUE date is the lack of security updates moving forward. Security updates are crucial for keeping your device safe from malicious attacks, and without these updates, your Chromebook may become vulnerable to newer threats that arise.
How to check the AUE date of any Chromebook
Before purchasing a Chromebook, whether it’s a back-to-school deal or not, you really should check the AUE date. Google has a public list where you can look up the AUE date for all models of Chromebooks. Simply head over to the Auto Update policy page and find your potential model in the list to see when that date will arrive. If I were you, I wouldn’t buy anything with less than 5 or 6 years of updates at this point. The max is 8 years on the newest Chromebooks, but those released in the past two years are still great purchases; especially when you find them on sale.
Back-To-School deals trap
Now that you understand AUE, here’s where Chromebook deals can become a bit troublesome. Often, retailers will offer attractive discounts on older models to clear inventory. While these models can still be a great deal, they may be closer to their AUE date than you realize. If you don’t do the homework, you may not know. And Chromebooks listed on Amazon frequently have words like “New 2023” in the title when the device is anything but.
It’s not unusual for a back-to-school deal to offer a Chromebook that has only a year or two left before it reaches its AUE date and for that device to be listed as “new.” And while this is technically true, it means you could potentially be buying a Chromebook that will lose software support well before it is actually worn out; and few deals are worth that sort of trade-off.
Chromebooks are awesome machines and getting a solid deal is always a great feeling, but remember: investing in a Chromebook is not just about the initial purchase price, but also about the lifespan of the device. If possible, aim for a Chromebook with an AUE date that gives you at least 4 or 5 years of software support. This will ensure that your child’s device remains secure, up-to-date, and compatible with all the tools they’ll need throughout their school years. With the deals we regularly see on great Chromebooks, the right deal will come along that gets you a great device at a great price without sacrificing the AUE in the process.