Delivering Chrome OS Updates Faster With Controls To Move At Your Own Pace

For more than a decade, Google has delivered new milestone releases for Chrome OS every six weeks to accompany an already secure, speedy, and stable experience. Earlier this year, we announced that Chrome OS would be switching to a four-week stable release cadence starting with M96, enabling devices to receive feature updates more quickly. 

While we recommend that organizations enable devices to automatically update on the 4-week release cadence, we recognize that every organization has specific needs around fleet management. To provide admins with more flexibility, we are also introducing a new long-term support (LTS) channel, which applies feature updates every six months rather than every four weeks. Devices that are on the LTS channel will continue to receive security updates as soon as they are available for maximum device protection. Starting with M96, customers will be able to easily transition from the LTS channel to the 4-week stable release cadence if desired by changing the device channel in the Google Admin console.  This policy will be rolling out in the Google Admin console in the coming days.

Although moving to the 4-week stable release cadence is recommended to ensure that users have the most feature-rich experience, LTS can be deployed in circumstances where an organization prefers a slower release cycle without compromising security. These scenarios might include unattended kiosk devices, healthcare deployments, and online educational assessments, among others.

Although IT teams will still have the option to pin devices to specific releases, we recommend switching to long-term support rather than pinning. Devices on the LTS channel receive security updates, while devices pinned to an older Stable release do not. 

In addition to new release cadences, we’re excited to announce additional policies that give IT admins more control over their fleet. Admins can now pin Chrome extensions and apps to specific versions, either by self-hosting them or configuring them from the Chrome Webstore. Additionally, admins can set a minimum OS version and block device and user sessions on devices that do not meet the minimum OS version. 
As we move closer to November 30th, we are excited to provide customers with more flexibility for fleet management. Learn more about the new 4-week release cadence and long-term support channel here, and try out these new options by signing up for a free trial of Chrome Enterprise Upgrade.

By: Gianluca Storto (Technical Program Manager, Chrome OS)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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