How to install apps on Acer Chromebook

Tired of yet another virus that has “brought to its knees” your laptop with Windows and the slowness with which the latter performs all the operations despite being a fairly recent model, you have decided to switch to Chrome OS. More precisely, you have identified your next computer in an Acer Chromebook but, before starting the order and taking the “big step” you would like some more information on how the applications work.

You have read that Chromebooks can run both Web apps (i.e. applications based on Web technologies that work mainly online, via browser), and Android apps , but you don’t know how they are installed and managed once downloaded. Furthermore, is it true that you have to give up many of the applications that are typically used on Windows and that you can only perform a few operations when you are offline? Don’t panic. I’m here to answer these very questions, and I reassure you right away that these just mentioned are baseless fears.

All the most popular apps for productivity are now available on Chrome OS (primarily those of Google and those of the Microsoft Office package), communication (Meet, Teams, Skype etc.), entertainment (Spotify, Netflix, YouTube etc. .), content creation (eg Canva and Photoshop Express) and even video games. Furthermore, the operating system has built-in malware protection which makes it very secure and has an automatic update system which keeps the computer’s performance at top for a very long time. But now enough chatter. If you want to know how to install apps on Acer Chromebook , read on: everything is explained below.

Index

  • How to install web apps on Chrome OS
  • How to install Android apps on Chrome OS
  • How to manage apps on Chrome OS
  • Best apps for Chrome OS
  • For more information

How to install web apps on Chrome OS

Chromebooks are fast computers that are bound to last for many years as they take full advantage of cloud solutions. This means using Web applications instead of the classic desktop applications that “traditional” operating systems like Windows or macOS have accustomed us to with the advantage of delegating some more “heavy” operations to remote servers. Furthermore, by taking advantage of cloud storage platforms for storing files, it is possible to keep the latter always safe and synchronize them on all your devices, avoiding “flooding” the local notebook disk.

To find the best Web apps for your Acer Chromebook and always have them just a click away, all you have to do is open the Chrome Web Store , that is the store of extensions, themes and applications for Chrome present “standard” in the operating system ( you can find it both in the main menu and with a simple search). You can find it in the main menu of Chrome OS (it has a shopping bag icon) and, to access it, you just need to have logged in with your Google account (which, however, you should have already done during the initial configuration of Chrome OS ).

Once the Web Store is open, you can browse the available apps by selecting the appropriate item from the side menu or by performing a direct search. For example, if you want to install one of the Microsoft Office web applications, such as Word Online , Excel Online or PowerPoint Online , all you have to do is search for it, select it from the search results and press the Add and Add app buttons in the description card that opens. .

Once this is done, you will find the web application you just installed in the main menu of Chrome OS (along with the other applications already present on your Chromebook), then you can start it with a simple click (or tap) on its icon.

The app will automatically open in a Chrome window. Some Web apps, however, just like those of the Microsoft Office package, can be used in the form of progressive Web apps and therefore can be run in windows independent from that of the browser. To do this, just click on the appropriate icon (the one with the screen and the down arrow) that appears at the top right and then answer Install to the message that is shown.

In case you are wondering, many web applications also work offline , so you can use them even if you don’t have an Internet connection at your disposal.

For Gmail , for example, by accessing the service settings it is possible to activate the offline mail function by checking the appropriate box and then adjusting the various preferences displayed on the screen.

As for Google Drive , instead, just activate the Offline function from the service settings and make a document available without connection by going to the File app (the file manager of Chrome OS), selecting and activating the lever Available offline located at the top right .

In short, as you will have understood, by now the Web apps have very little to envy to the classic Web applications and to the “offline” apps for smartphones and tablets. If you want some advice on which to download to work, study, communicate with friends and colleagues or give yourself a few moments of relaxation, take a look at the dedicated chapter that you will find later in this guide.

How to install Android apps on Chrome OS

Chrome OS is also compatible with Android apps and this opens up many possibilities in areas such as study, work and communication, but also in terms of leisure and free time.

By opening the Play Store (the official Google store that all users of Android smartphones and tablets know perfectly) it is possible to find hundreds of apps and games, both free and paid, suitable for every taste and every need.

On the main page of the market there is the For you section containing the recommended apps based on the tastes and habits of the user; by moving to the Rankings tab, you can discover the most popular apps and games of the moment; in Children there are contents suitable for the little ones, while by going to the Categories tab you can browse the applications based on their category ( Art and design , Communication , Finance , Photography , Games , Entertainment , Education etc.). Finally, using the bar at the top, you can directly search for an app based on its name or description.

Once you have identified the app of your interest – almost needless to say – to download it on your Acer Chromebook, all you have to do is press on its icon (in order to open the descriptive card with all the features, screenshots and user ratings ) and then on the Install button (or, in the case of paid apps, the button with the price ).

If you have decided to download a paid app and this is your first time making a purchase on the Play Store, you will be asked to associate a valid payment method with your Google account (all major credit and debit cards are accepted, including prepaid ).

At the end of the download, the app will be installed automatically and you will find it in the main menu of Chrome OS, ready to be used and recalled at any time, even via search.

In reality there would also be the possibility to download the .apk packages of the apps from external sources from the Play Store and install them “manually” on your Chromebook (just answer in the affirmative to the security warnings that appear when you try to download and then open this file type), but I strongly advise against doing so. The Android apps that do not pass through the Play Store, in fact, are not verified by Google and therefore could hide some danger in terms of privacy; or simply malfunction. In any case, better stay away from it.

That said, if you want some advice on the best apps you can install on Chrome OS, read the dedicated chapter of this tutorial.

How to manage apps on Chrome OS

The management of web app and Android app on Chrome OS is very simple. As already mentioned, it is possible to find all the apps, regardless of their type, in the main menu of the operating system (which can be accessed by pressing the Search button located at the bottom left of the app bar or by pressing the analogous physical button ì on the Chromebook keyboard) and pressing the up arrow icon that appears later.

In the aforementioned menu, by right-clicking on an app icon, you can call up a menu that allows you to perform various operations on it: open it , lock it on the app bar , uninstall it , view its information in detail and, in the case of some app, also access some quick functions (e.g. searching for a song in Spotify ).

The same operations can also be performed by right clicking on the app icons on the app bar.

By dragging, on the other hand, the icon of an app on that of another application, you can create customized folders and then organize all the programs in a more orderly manner, according to your needs. Convenient, don’t you think?

To get a complete overview of all the apps installed on your computer (including the system ones that do not appear in the main menu of Chrome OS), manage their permissions and possibly delete them, you can open the Chrome OS Settings (the gear icon) and select the App item from the left sidebar.

From here, go to Manage your applications and you will find yourself in front of the complete list of apps on your device. By selecting one, you can manage its permissions as regards access to the camera , microphone , contacts , data stored by the sites, etc. and uninstall it by pressing the appropriate button.

As for updates , web apps generally require no user intervention: any changes made by developers remotely should automatically reflect on the web apps used on Chrome OS.

In any case, you can view the number of the latest version of the apps on the Chrome Web Store by selecting the Overview tab of the same and checking the number you find in the Other information box (in the right sidebar).

The applications for Android , however, may require a manual update by the user. To check if there are any Android apps on your Acer Chromebook that need an upgrade, open the Play Store , click (or tap) your profile photo (top right) and go to Manage apps and device .

In the screen that opens you will find indicated, under the heading Updates available , if there are updates pending : to run them, select the Update all option and that’s it. Alternatively, you can tap on View details and individually choose which apps to update and which not.

As you can see, even in this case everything is very intuitive: it takes very little to understand how to best organize the apps installed on your Chromebook.

Best apps for Chrome OS

Now that you know how to install applications on Acer Chromebooks, let me recommend some of the coolest apps you can try, broken down by category.

Create, edit and manage business documents

  • Google documents
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Google Sheets
  • Microsoft Excel Online
  • Google Slides
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Online
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Microsoft OneDrive

Email and calendar

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Microsoft Outlook

Calls, conferences and chats

  • Google Meet
  • Google Duo
  • Zoom
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Whatsapp

Streaming music

  • YouTube Music
  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • TuneIn Radio

Streaming movies and TV series

  • YouTube
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Netflix
  • Disney +

Edit photos and videos

  • Google Photos
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Photopea
  • Pixlr
  • Clipchamp
  • Kinemaster

Illustrations and design

  • Canva
  • Adobe Spark
  • AutoCAD
  • Figma

Remote access

  • Chrome Remote Desktop

Videogame

  • On Chrome OS you can install all the best games for Android, such as Roblox and Call of Duty Mobile . Furthermore, for those looking for more advanced titles, it is possible to rely on cloud gaming platforms such as Google Stadia and NVIDIA GeForce Now to play video games for PCs and consoles of the latest generation at the highest level of detail (provided you have a good Internet connection).

IT security

  • If you are wondering if there are antivirus or antimalware of various kinds for Chrome OS, the answer is no. Chromebooks, in fact, are secure “default” computers with integrated protection against all major computer threatsand operating system updates installed in a timely and automatic manner without any risk of slowing down or crashing.

In short, the possibilities are so many. For other tips on this, I suggest you take a look at this Google page which hosts a very rich and varied list of applications and Web apps that can be used on Chrome OS.

For more information

You should now have a little clearer ideas about how Acer Chromebooks work and, more specifically, how to install and manage apps on Chrome OS.

In case you want to know more, I strongly invite you to consult the official page dedicated to Chromebook apps , the official Chromebook website and the FAQ with the most frequently asked questions about switching to Chrome OS.

On the Acer site , however, by selecting the item relating to Chromebooks (above) you can view all the available models; models that you can buy at very attractive prices on Amazon , where there is also a rich information page dedicated to Chrome OS laptops with a list of all their main features.

 

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