Today, Google shared an updated timeline for when Chrome apps will stop working on all platforms. June 2022 is when they’ll be gone for good, but it depends on which platform you’re on (via 9to5Google). Previously, we knew that Chrome apps someday wouldn’t work on Windows, macOS, and Linux, but today, Google revealed that Chrome apps will eventually stop working on Chrome OS, too.
A Chrome app is a web-based app that you can install in Chrome that looks and functions kind of like an app you’d launch from your desktop. Take this one for the read-it-later app Pocket, for example — when you install it, it opens in a separate window that makes it seem as if Pocket is functioning as its own app.
You probably aren’t using Chrome apps anyway
You probably don’t need to worry about the death of Chrome apps messing up your browsing experience too much. At this point, most apps on the web are just regular web apps, which is why you’ll be able to keep using Pocket without issue in much the same way by navigating to https://getpocket.com/. In rarer cases, you might also be using Progressive Web Apps, which are basically websites that are cached to your device so they can have some offline functionality and be launched like an app. Some Chrome apps you have installed may already redirect to websites, like many of Google’s apps. And Chrome extensions are also different from Chrome apps, and those will keep working just fine.
There’s a pretty decent chance you’re not using any real Chrome apps at all, even if you use web apps all the time. When Google first announced all the way back in 2016 that it would end support for Chrome apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux, it said approximately one percent of users on those platforms were actively using packaged Chrome apps. That was nearly four years ago, and web developers have moved on.
If you do use Chrome apps, they will stop working much sooner on Windows, macOS, or Linux than they will on Chrome OS. Here’s Google’s timeline:
March 2020: Chrome Web Store will stop accepting new Chrome Apps. Developers will be able to update existing Chrome Apps through June 2022.
June 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through December 2020.
December 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
June 2021: End support for NaCl, PNaCl, and PPAPI APIs.
June 2021: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through June 2022.
June 2022: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS for all customers.
To break that down a bit:
At some point in June 2020, Chrome apps will stop working on Windows, macOS, and Linux, unless you have Chrome Enterprise or Chrome Education Upgrade, which lets you use Chrome apps for six more months.
If you’re on Chrome OS, Chrome apps will work until June 2021. Again, if you have Chrome Enterprise or Chrome Education Upgrade, Google says you can use Chrome apps for an additional year.
Originally, Chrome apps were supposed to stop working on Windows, macOS, and Linux in early 2018, but in December 2017, when Google removed the Chrome apps section from the Chrome Web Store, it pushed that early 2018 deadline to an unspecified date in the future. Now, more than three years later, we finally know when Chrome apps won’t work on those platforms — and when they won’t work on any platform at all.