Chrome is a lightweight free browser for pretty much every device out there. It’s powerful, versatile, and incredibly popular, accounting for almost two thirds of all browser usage.
And it’s easy to install on all your devices, but the steps are slightly different from one device to another. If you’re installing Chrome on your device for the first time, or on multiple devices, this guide has everything you need to install Chrome on:
- Mac desktops and laptops
- Windows desktops and laptops
- Linux desktops and laptops
- iOS mobile devices
- Android mobile devices
- (Some) Smart TVs
First, though, why install Chrome at all?
What’s wrong with the browser I already have?
Every Apple device comes with Apple’s own Safari browser already installed. While a lot of Mac users will default to using Safari because it’s what their computer came with, it’s not the only browser you can use on a Mac, iPad, or iPhone.
Safari isn’t a bad browser. It’s nearly as fast as Chrome on desktop and it’s the second most popular browser in the world. But it has a limited extensions library and, thanks to Apple’s preference for limiting user control, it can feel restrictive.
Meanwhile, Windows computers come with Edge pre-installed (Internet Explorer on pre-Windows 10 machines). Edge has some impressive features, like built-in Cortana support and the ability to scribble on web pages and then directly share them.
Microsoft claims Edge is faster and it might offer you better definition on Netflix too. But it sometimes fails to render websites that are resource-intensive—think ecommerce sites, for instance. It doesn’t always load banking websites properly either. Partly that’s down to developers, building for the most popular browser. Edge may ship on 77% of new computers, but it accounts for just 2.15% of browser usage.
On Android devices, a range of browsers ship as default, including Chrome as well as Samsung’s Internet. Samsung’s browser is a pretty good choice, but it doesn’t let you move your bookmarks and settings across from Chrome.
Reasons to choose Chrome
Sync with the Google ecosystem
Both Apple and Google offer complete ecosystems, of which users don’t need to step outside. Want to play music? There’s Play Music for that, or iTunes on Mac. Making a presentation? Slides or Keynote. Or PowerPoint, if you’re a Windows user. Each company has you covered.
Windows is a little less cohesive, but with the introduction of Office 365 and Google’s Chromebook rollout, the Big Three each offer you a productivity and communication ecosystem and an OS to run it on.
An organization that uses Apple’s ecosystem is relatively rare. Many companies use Office 365. But it’s much more common for tech companies and schools to use Google.
If you want an in to Google’s ecosystem direct from your Mac or PC, Chrome is it. And if you’re writing on Docs, emailing in Gmail, and getting into Sheets’ newly-introduced ability to do pivot tables, it makes sense to get Chrome. Additionally, Chrome comes with some of Google’s most useful tools (like Translate) built-in, meaning they’re faster and easier to use.
It’s pretty rare that anyone builds a website that works well in Chrome but not in Safari or Edge. But it does still happen. Most of the web is built Chrome-first.
Sync across devices
Another ecosystem issue: if all you use is Apple devices, it’s less of a problem, but Safari is available only for Apple devices. Even Safari for Windows was discontinued back in 2012. And Edge is available for Mac, but uptake is low.
If you use a range of devices—Apple, Windows and Android—Chrome lets you carry your bookmarks, browser settings, and more across multiple devices. This device agnosticism is one of Chrome’s major strengths.
Extensions, themes, settings, and flags
Safari comes from the “one button” school of UI design beloved by Apple: it’s simple to use, intuitive, and it runs out of the box. But if you want to modify it, good luck.
Edge isn’t easy to modify either. Microsoft cautions: “Microsoft Edge Extensions, available exclusively from the Microsoft Store, are the only supported mechanism to modify the end-user experience of Microsoft Edge, including the browser configuration and the content displayed in the browser.” The Edge Extension Store boasts 287 extensions, making Edge as difficult to customize as Safari.
Chrome isn’t a very features-rich browser out of the box. But it has a huge library of over 10,000 extensions that give you control over everything from how the browser looks to how it displays websites, amongst other things. You get control over the browser settings, and access to experimental flags that let you toggle new functionality on and off.
It’s also a much better browser for developers, thanks to extensive and ever-growing developer tools that are easy to access and use.
Convinced it’s the browser for you? Without further ado, jump to the installation instructions for your device.
Install Google Chrome on a Mac computer
Start by downloading the installation file for Mac from here. The site will automatically detect your OS and offer you the appropriate download.
You’ll download a file called googlechrome.dmg. Open it and find the Chrome logo:
Drag that file to the Applications folder. You may be asked for your computer administrator password. If you’re not an admin, get someone who is to enter the password or drag the file to the desktop for now.
You should now be able to open Chrome. Find Chrome in “Finder” and click “Eject” to move the disk image off the desktop or out of the Downloads folder, or drag the disk image icon to the trash.
Make Chrome your default browser on a Mac
Open the Chrome menu and go to “Settings.” Find the “Default browser” section and click “Make Google Chrome the default browser.”
Install Google Chrome on a Windows computer
Download the installation file from here. You should automatically be offered the installation file for Windows. If prompted, click “Run” or “Save.” if you clicked “Save,” double-click the download to begin installing.
To start Chrome for the first time:
- On Windows 7, Chrome will start automatically once the installation process is complete.
- On Windows 8 and 8.1 machines, a “Welcome” dialog will appear, and give you the option to set Chrome as your default browser before a Chrome window opens.
- Windows 10 machines will open a Chrome window once the installation process is complete.
Make Chrome your default browser on a Windows computer
Click the Start menu and open “Settings.” Go to your default apps. In the original version of Windows 10, you do that by clicking “System” > “Default apps.”
In the “Creators Update,” go to “Apps: Default apps.” At the bottom, under “Web browser,” click your current default web browser. If you’ve never changed it, this will be Microsoft Edge. In the “Choose an app” window, click “Google Chrome.”
Install Google Chrome on a Linux computer
Your Linux build will have installer software. Use that to install Chrome once you’ve downloaded the installation file from here. You’ll be asked for your administrator password.
Once the file is downloaded, click “OK” to open the package and “Install Package” to begin installation. Chrome will be added to your software manager so it stays up to date.
Install Google Chrome on an iPad or iPhone
Download Chrome for iOS from the Apple App Store from here.
Chrome is available for all iOS devices running iOS 10 or later, including iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches.
Once you’ve downloaded the file from the App Store, tap “Install” to install Chrome. You’ll be asked for you Apple ID Password.
Once Chrome is installed, you can open it by going to your home screen and tapping the app icon.
Make Chrome your default browser on an iPad or iPhone
You can’t make Chrome your default browser on an iPad or iPhone, but you can add it to your dock. Drag the app up and release it onto your home screen. Then touch and hold the app, drag it down and release it onto your dock.
Install Google Chrome on an Android phone or tablet
Get Chrome for Android from the Google Play Store here. (Chrome is available for Android devices running Android 4.4 or later.)
Tap “Install” to download and install Chrome, then tap “Accept.” Chrome will install. To start using Chrome, go to the Home screen or your device’s “All Apps” page and tap the Chrome icon.
Make Chrome your default browser on an Android phone or tablet
Find Google settings in “Settings” > “Google” or in a separate app called “Google Settings,” depending on which Android device you have.
Tap “Apps” and open your default apps. In the top right, tap “Settings.” Under “Default,” tap “Browser app.” Tap “Advanced” > “Default apps” > “Browser app,” and tap “Chrome.”
Install Google Chrome on a Chromebook
Chrome is the default browser on Chromebooks—in fact, without extensive workarounds, it’s the only browser, as well as the OS. You should never need to install Chrome browser on a Chromebook. But you can reinstall it, by powerwashing the device, or update it.
Install Google Chrome on a smart TV
Chrome can only be installed directly on Android TVs. Other smart TVs, like Samsung or Sony TVs, will require workarounds. You can cast to a smart TV from another device that has Chrome installed. On Android TVs, there are a couple of methods for installing Chrome.
You can use your computer to download Chrome from the Play Store here.
First, click “Install,” then choose your Android TV from the dropdown menu and click “Install.”
Alternatively, turn on voice commands on your remote and say “Launch Chrome.” Your smart TV will ask you if you want to install the app; click “Agree” and Chrome will be installed and ready to use in a few seconds.
Pro tip: Whichever method you use, be sure to go to the Chrome menu and select “Force Desktop Site” to get the best experience.