Why You Should Never Disable Automatic Updates in Chrome

A Google Chrome logo with a lock icon in the middle.

Google Chrome updates automatically. There is no easy way to turn off automatic updates, but you can do this in several ways: for example, by stopping the Google update service that handles automatic updates. Here’s why you shouldn’t do it.

Chrome updates have not been buggy

Google has a good track record with security updates for Chrome. Google Chrome was originally released in 2008. Today, more than a decade later, it’s hard to cite a single example of a catastrophic update bug that caused problems. (Meanwhile, the Windows 10 operating system has had several notable update bugs in the last years.)

Chrome updates come and go automatically. Google normally updates Chrome to new major versions every six weeksand smaller updates that fix security holes and other issues happen more often than that. Chrome constantly updates itself and protects you. Most people will almost never notice these updates.

These browser updates are not bothersome either. Unlike Windows Update on Windows 10, Chrome doesn’t bother you forcing you to restart. Chrome automatically updates in the background. If you leave Chrome open for a while, Chrome may ask you to restart your browser when you have the chance, but it won’t restart automatically and won’t interrupt you.

Google Chrome once had data corruption bug on a handful of Macs where people went out of their way to disable system integrity protection, which is an important security feature. It’s the worst thing that has ever happened, and nothing like this has ever happened on Windows.

RELATED: How often does Google update Chrome?

Browser security holes are the real concern

Google Chrome Settings menu

So, is Chrome perfect? Of course not! Like all web browsers, Chrome is full of bugs you should worry about. But these are not problems related to the update. These are security breaches.

Modern browsers are complex and there are regular security holes. Google and other browser developers regularly release updates to fix holes found by researchers, or to block new ones zero-day exploits found in the wild.

Without these usual security fixes, you will end up using a Google Chrome browser vulnerable to attack. A malicious website you open in Chrome could potentially compromise your browser and install malware on your PC, just by opening the website.

Security patches protect you and Chrome installs them regularly. Turning off automatic updates prevents Chrome from installing these security patches, which puts you at serious risk.

There is no way to be notified when Chrome updates are available and to install them manually. These are automatic updates or nothing.

If you don’t want automatic Chrome updates

Firefox browser

Okay, let’s say you really don’t want automatic updates for Chrome anyway. For some reason, you want to manually approve updates, get fewer important updates, or just remove the Google Updater from your computer.

If this describes you, we recommend switching to another browser. Here are some good, more flexible alternatives than Chrome:

To manually approve browser updates, you can skip to Mozilla Firefox. Firefox automatically installs updates by default, but you can choose to have Firefox notify you when updates are available so you can accept them manually. In Firefox, go to menu> Options> General. Under “Allow Firefox to”, select “Check for updates but let yourself choose to install them”.
For new features and less frequent interface updates, you can choose Mozilla Firefox ESR. The extended support version receives major updates every 42 weeks instead of every 6 weeks, but Mozilla keeps it updated with security updates.
If you’re looking for a Chrome browser without using Google’s update tool, try the new Microsoft Edge. It is based on the same open source Chromium code that forms the basis of Chrome, and it is even available for Mac and Linux. Edge updates itself automatically like Chrome, but it uses Microsoft’s updater rather than Google’s. Other browsers are based on Chrome, including the brave navigator. To our knowledge, they all use automatic Chrome-style updates to keep users safe.

Whichever browser you choose, be sure to keep it up to date with the latest security patches. It is dangerous to continue using an outdated browser full of security vulnerabilities.

RELATED: What you need to know about the new Microsoft Edge browser

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