In March 2022, Chrome OS reached its 100th update, and to celebrate, Google introduced many new features to Chromebooks. Among them, the new Chrome OS launcher is making headlines for its cleaner and faster UI. Because of this, many users who have updated to Chrome OS 100 (or a later version in May) haven’t gotten the Chrome OS launcher update by default. Looks like Google is still testing the new left-aligned productivity launcher, so it’s still hidden behind the Chrome flag. Therefore, if you want to learn how to activate the new Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook, follow our hands-on guide below.
Enable the New Chrome OS Launcher on Chromebooks (2022)
Before enabling the new Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook, make sure to update to the latest version of Chrome OS (update 101 was released on May 11). Your Chromebook must be using Chrome OS 100 or later to access the new productivity launcher. Note that, you don’t need to switch to the Beta or Dev channel, or for that matter, to Chrome OS Developer mode, to get the app launcher. It is available in a stable version. That said, here’s how to get the new Chrome OS launcher now:
1. First, you need to access the Chrome Flags page to activate the new Chrome OS launcher. Open Chrome, paste the address below into the search bar, and press Enter.
2. This will open the Chrome Flags page. Once you are here, search for “launcher”. You will find “Productivity experiment: App Launcher” in the search results. If you’re having trouble finding the flag, paste the address below into Chrome, and it will take you straight to the launcher flag.
3. Now, click on the dropdown menu next to the App Launcher flag and select “Activated“. Along with apps, the new Chrome OS launcher will also show recently edited documents from Google Docs, recently opened files in Google Drive, and recent local files. If you don’t want this recommendation in your launcher, select “Enabled without Continue”.
4. Finally, click “Repeat” in the lower right corner. This will gently reboot your Chromebook.
5. After rebooting, button The new Chrome OS launcher will go live on your Chromebook! Now go ahead and enjoy the new productivity launcher.
Unlike the stretched center launcher that covers the entire screen, this new launcher is aligned to the left by default. It includes Google and Assistant searches at the top, as usual, and now shows your recent files and app icons underneath. You can sort apps by name and icon color (weird, but yes) in this build.
6. Apart from enabling the new Chromebook launcher, I would also suggest enabling some Chrome OS flags to enhance the new launcher experience. For example, after enabling the game search flag below, the new launcher will start suggesting cloud game search results also.
7. Also, enable Reorder apps mark in Chrome OS. This will allow you to drag apps and reorder them according to your preferences in the new launcher. This is one of the main pain points of the previously stretched launcher, and thankfully, Google is finally offers option to reorder apps via Chrome flags.
8. Finally, activate the button “Play Store Searchflag. When you search for an app in the launcher, and if it is not installed on your device, the new launcher will fetch the results from the Play Store. Then, you can quickly install the app. Pretty neat, right?
Chrome OS Launcher: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the new Chrome OS Launcher?
Since the release of the 100th Chrome OS update, Google has released a new launcher for left-aligned (previously centered and stretched) Chromebooks. It looks similar to the Windows 10 Start Menu and offers a lot to Chrome OS users faster performance and better customization options. The productivity launcher also supports cloud search for games and apps.
How To Get The New Chrome OS Launcher?
You must be using Chrome OS 100 (or higher) and must enable
How to Remove Continue Section from Chrome OS Launcher?
chrome://flags#productivity-launcher and select “Enabled without Resume”. Now, restart your Chromebook, and you won’t see the Continue section in the new Chrome OS launcher.
Turn on the Productivity Launcher on your Chromebook
So that’s how you can enable the new left-aligned Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook via Chrome flags. I’ve also mentioned some important signs that can make it possible to improve your launcher experience on Chrome OS. Anyway, that’s enough for this guide. If you want to learn more Chrome OS tips and tricks, follow our linked guide. And if you want to install Chrome OS Flex on your old Windows PC, we also have a handy guide for that. Finally, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below.