How to set up a new Chromebook in 2021

Whether you’re pulling your brilliant new Chromebook out of the box, were handed down a Chromebook from a parent or sibling, or you just power washed yours to start fresh, setting up a Chromebook is drop-dead easy. You can probably do it in the space of a commercial break while watching your favorite TV show, and so long as you’re somewhere with reliable Wi-Fi, you can do it basically anywhere. So when you’re under some blankets in bed or sitting in the office with your newly-issued work laptop, here’s how to set up your Chromebook.

How to set up Chromebook

Before you get started, your Chromebook probably came from the factory with a mostly full battery. Still, it’s probably a good idea to plug your Chromebook in and fully charge it before beginning your setup.

  1. Open the lid of your Chromebook to turn it on.
  2. Tap You if setting the Chromebook up for yourself or Your child if you intend to.
  3. Enter the email address of your Google account. If setting up a child’s Chromebook, either sign them into their Google account or create a Google account for them. Chrome OS Child Setup Options
  4. Tap Next.
  5. Enter your Google account’s password.
  6. Tap Next.
  7. If your Google account has a two-factor authentication, use your verification code or another verification method.
  8. Once signed in, you’re given notice of what automatically syncs on your Chromebook. If you want to review these syncing options, check Review sync options following setup.
  9. Tap Accept and continue. Accept and continue
  10. You’ll be given the Google Play terms of service to read. Below is the checkbox to disable Google Drive backups, but I really wouldn’t recommend turning that off. Tap More or scroll down to the rest of the options. Tap More
  11. You can uncheck Use location if you want to prevent apps and services from using your device’s location, but again, I don’t recommend turning this off.
  12. Check Review your Google Play options following setup if you want to check over your permissions.
  13. Tap Accept. Accept the terms
  14. This takes care of the initial system setup, but we’re not done quite yet. You can choose to Take a tour if you want to be shown where everything is. If not, you can tap the X in the window’s top right corner. Take a tour, or not
  15. If you already have extensions or a theme installed on Google Chrome on your other computers, they will install automatically. However, the Android apps pre-installed on your Chromebook will also need updates, so tap the time in the bottom right corner. Tap the time
  16. Tap Update all in the notification about app updates. Update All
  17. Google Play will open and begin updating apps. Tap the back button in the top left corner to return to the home tab. Updates in progress
  18. Once on the home tab, a popup will appear suggesting apps to download on your Chromebook. Tap the checkbox next to the apps you want to install.
  19. Once you’ve selected the apps you want, tap Install. Check and Install

Once the apps and extensions are installed, you’re pretty much ready to go. You’ll need to log into your favorite websites: Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, and the like — and set a new wallpaper, maybe even pair an Android phone for Smart Lock so you can keep your Chromebook unlocked and answer text messages from it. If this is your first Chromebook, I also recommend familiarizing yourself with these awesome keyboard shortcuts, especially the Alt + [ or ] for split-screening windows. I use it dozens of times a week.

If you need further help settling into your new laptop, I’ve compiled a handy-dandy post-setup Chromebook checklist for useful things like customizing your dock, the single most useful Chrome extension you’ll ever install, and how to help keep your Chromebook from blinding you too much at night.

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