In March 2022, Chrome OS reached its 100th update, and to celebrate the occasion, Google introduced a slew of new features to Chromebooks. Among them, the new Chrome OS launcher has grabbed headlines due to its cleaner and faster user interface. That said, many users who updated to Chrome OS 100 (or later versions in May) do not have the default Chrome OS launcher update. It looks like Google is still testing the new left-aligned Productivity Launcher, so it’s still hidden behind a Chrome flag. So, if you want to know how to enable the new Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook, follow our simple guide below.
Enable New Chrome OS Launcher on Chromebook (2022)
Before activating the new Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook, be sure to update to the latest version of Chrome OS (update 101 released on May 11). Your Chromebook must be on Chrome OS 100 or later in order to access the new Productivity Launcher. Note that you don’t need to switch to the Beta or Dev channel, or for that matter, Chrome OS Developer Mode, to get the app launcher. It is available in the stable version. That said, here’s how to get the new Chrome OS launcher right now:
1. First, you need to go to the Chrome Flags page to activate the new Chrome OS launcher. Open Chrome, paste the address below in the search bar and hit enter.
2. This will open the Chrome Flags page. Once you are here, search for “launcher”. You will find the “Productivity Test: Application Launcher” in the search results. If you’re having trouble finding the flag, paste the address below into Chrome, and it’ll take you straight to the launcher flag.
3. Now click on the drop-down menu next to the app launcher flag and select “Enabled“. Along with apps, the new Chrome OS launcher will also show your recently edited documents from Google Docs, recently opened files in Google Drive, and recent local files. If you don’t want these recommendations in your launcher, select “Enabled without continuing”.
4. Finally, click on “To restart” in the lower right corner. This will gracefully restart your Chromebook.
5. After restarting, the the new Chrome OS launcher will be live on your Chromebook! Now go ahead and enjoy the new Productivity Launcher.
Unlike the elongated centered launcher that covered the entire screen, the new launcher is left-aligned by default. It includes Google Search and Assistant at the top as usual, and now shows your recent files and app icons below. You can sort apps by name and icon color (quirky, but yeah) in this release.
6. Apart from enabling the new Chromebook launcher, I also suggest enabling other Chrome OS flags to improve the experience of the new launcher. For example, after enabling the game search indicator below, the new launcher will start suggesting cloud gaming search results also.
7. Also enable Rearrange apps flag in Chrome OS. This will allow you to drag apps around and rearrange them according to your preferences in the new launcher. This was one of the main pain points of the previous elongated launcher, and thankfully Google finally offers an option to rearrange apps via a Chrome flag.
8. Finally, activate the “Search the Play Storeflag. When you search for an app in the launcher and if it is not installed on your device, the new launcher pulls the results from the Play Store. Then you can quickly install the app. Pretty nifty, right?
Chrome OS Launcher: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the new Chrome OS launcher?
Due to the release of the 100th Chrome OS update, Google has released a new left-aligned launcher for Chromebooks (previously it was centered and stretched). It looks like Windows 10 Start menu and offers a lot for Chrome OS users faster performance and better customization options. The productivity launcher also supports cloud search for games and apps.
How do I get the new Chrome OS launcher?
You must be on Chrome OS 100 (or higher) and must enable the
How do I remove the continue section from the Chrome OS launcher?
chrome://flags#productivity-launcher and select “Enabled without continuing”. Now restart your Chromebook and you won’t see the Continue section in the new Chrome OS launcher.
Enable the Productivity Launcher on your Chromebook
This is how you can activate the new left-aligned Chrome OS launcher on your Chromebook through the Chrome flags. I’ve also mentioned a few crucial metrics that can help improve your launch experience on Chrome OS. Anyway, that’s about it for this guide. If you want to learn more about Chrome OS tips and tricks, follow our linked guide. And if you want to install Chrome OS Flex on your old Windows PC, we have a handy guide in place for that too. Finally, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below.