how to install chromium os on raspberry pi

How to Install & Use Chromium OS on Raspberry Pi (FydeOS)

Chrome OS is the operating system created by Google that is used on their Chromebook devices. You can’t install it directly on other devices, but an open-source version is available: Chromium OS. As for the browser of the same name, Chromium OS can be installed on Raspberry Pi, and I will show you how in this tutorial.

Chromium OS is the open-source version of Chrome OS, and is available on Raspberry Pi through a GitHub project: FydeOS. Releases are updated regularly and can be installed on a Raspberry Pi with a tool like Balena Etcher.

I will walk you through the installation and show you how to use Chromium OS effectively. Thanks to the work of this development team, the process is not that complicated.

If you’re looking to quickly progress on Raspberry Pi, you can check out my e-book here. It’s a 30-day challenge where you learn one new thing every day until you become a Raspberry Pi expert. The first third of the book teaches you the basics, but the following chapters include projects you can try on your own.

Chromium OS introduction

What is Chromium OS?

Chromium OS is an open-source version of the system created by Google (Chrome OS), that you can use for free, as a Linux distribution.

Google took some bricks of Linux, like kernel and Portage to manage packages (as on Gentoo), but the main goal is to use all of the Chromium apps from the browser in a more classic computer system.

When you think about it, once you have all the websites and apps from Google (Google Docs, YouTube, Hangouts, Gmail, etc.), you have almost everything you need for a desktop computer.
It’s a new way to use a system, with everything in the cloud, but it should be interesting to try (I never had a Chromebook before for information, so it’s new for me at least ^^).

Differences between Chrome OS vs Chromium OS

Chrome OS is the system distributed by Google directly in their Chromebooks. Chromium OS is the open-source edition, with code available to anyone, that can be installed on other devices, like a Raspberry Pi.

As for Google Chrome and Chromium browsers, this operating system has two versions: Chrome OS and Chromium OS.

Google Chrome OS in the product that Google installs on Chromebooks (for information, Chromebook is the brand of computers that run Chrome OS, often cheaper and less powerful models than the Windows version, here is an example on Amazon).

Chromium OS is the open-source version, a development version mainly used by developers directly. You can view the source code on their GitHub project, and download an image to test it on any device.

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So, the difference for the user is minimal, but I’ll use Chromium OS all the time now because I’m talking about the open-source version.


As you might see this name on GitHub, I will explain directly.

FydeOS (formerly known as Flint OS), is the name of the team from China working on Chromium OS. So all the repositories are named like this because it’s the developers’ name.

It’s not a big deal for us. If you want, you can look at their website to get more details about the exact differences between everything, but the idea is that it’s the best way for us to download a Chromium OS image, pre-made for Raspberry Pi.

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Why would you use Chromium OS on Raspberry Pi?

The Chromium OS is a pretty lightweight operating system. As everything is in the cloud, usage of local resources should be limited. Also, speed is a core value for Chrome OS, as it is for Google Chrome, so developers are particularly attentive to thinking about this while adding new features.

In theory, Chrome OS is also intended for entry-level computers, as its main users are those who are mostly using a computer to do things on the Internet, they don’t have the latest generation computer. Chromebooks are also shipped with low-end processors, so the Raspberry Pi should be ok with this.

In real usage, Chromium OS can have some peaks in CPU usage depending on what you are doing (as on Google Chrome, more tabs and more apps can slow it a bit). But the difference with another OS is that all the Raspberry Pi power is reserved for Chromium, so it should be ok, especially on Raspberry Pi 4 or 5.

Install Chromium OS on Raspberry Pi

Here are the required steps to install Chromium OS on Raspberry Pi:

  • Download the latest release from the FydeOS project on GitHub.
  • Flash the file to an SD card with Balena Etcher or Raspberry Pi Imager.
  • Boot your Raspberry Pi and log in to start using Chromium OS.

Download the Chromium OS image

As I told you previously, the easiest way to try Chromium OS on the Raspberry Pi is to download FydeOS from the GitHub repository.

New releases are available regularly for recent Raspberry Pi models (Raspberry Pi 4B, 400 and 5 at the time of writing), but you can use the search engine to find a release for the 3B+.

Here is how to download the latest version:

  • Go to the releases page on GitHub.
  • Find the latest version corresponding to your Raspberry Pi model, for example:

    On some versions, there is only the image for one model, so make sure you get the correct one.
  • Click on the link corresponding to your device to download the file.

Flash Chromium OS on an SD card

Then, the process is almost the same as with any operating system:

  • You can use Raspberry Pi Imager or any alternative (like Balena Etcher).
    Download and install it if you don’t already have it on your computer.
  • In Raspberry Pi Imager, click on “Choose OS” and select the image file you just downloaded:
  • Insert your SD card (I recommend at least 8 GB as a minimum disk space to run Chromium OS).
  • Click on the third button to select it in your drives list.
  • Then click on “Next” to start the SD card copy.
    You can ignore the OS customization options, as it won’t work with Chromium OS.

Your SD card will be ready to use a few moments later, and you can insert it into your Raspberry Pi.

First boot with Chromium OS

On the first boot, Chromium OS should start directly, and a setup wizard will ask you a few questions to configure your device:

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  • The first screen is a welcome screen.

  • Nothing to do here unless you want to change the system language or accessibility details.
    For example, you can click on the language to make a change or use a different keyboard layout (unfortunately, language and layout are linked, so I can’t use a French keyboard with the English language).
    Click on “Get started” once ready.
  • You’ll then be asked if the system will be used by you or a child (adding some rules to help children use it safely).
  • If you’re plugged into an Ethernet cable with DHCP, you don’t have to do anything.
    But you can connect to a Wi-Fi network here if needed
  • After a quick check for updates (in theory, nothing to download), the wizard will ask you to sign in with your Google account.

    If you don’t have an account right now, or want to create a specific one, you can create one here (from your computer, for example).
  • You may be asked to choose a pin for signing in faster (like on recent Windows versions).
  • You can then customize your display theme (light or dark).
  • Your session should open with Chromium (the web browser), including all your bookmarks, extensions and preferences. And obviously, access to the full Chromium OS interface with the various apps:

As I previously tried Chromium OS, my settings and apps are automatically installed on this fresh installation, which is pretty cool.

Tips to Use Chromium OS

Basic usage

If you are new to this, let’s start with the basics. The Chromium OS desktop is a bit different from what you might be used to:

  • The desktop is empty and will stay like this.
  • On the bottom left, a circle icon opens the main menu with the most recently used shortcuts.
  • You can change the position of the self with a right click on the desktop (and put it on the left, for example, as in Ubuntu).

If you want to see all the installed apps, click the “up arrow icon”, or unroll the menu with a drag and drop. But the easiest way is to use the search engine.

From here, you can left-click on any icon to start the app or right-click to pin it to the shelf for fast access from the desktop.

At the bottom right of the screen is the clock. But clicking on it gives you quick access to some actions and settings (like most operating systems). You can manage your network settings (wired and wireless), audio volume, and other settings:

System configuration

There aren’t many things to configure on Chromium OS, but still, there is a configuration app to do the basic stuff. You can find the “Settings” icon in your apps or via the shortcut when you click the clock.

It’s basically the Google Chrome settings, with more things, as you also configure the computer from here.

All settings are divided into a few categories, so it’s fairly intuitive to find the configuration you want:

  • Network: Nothing new here, but you can configure your Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections.
  • Bluetooth: Enable and disable it, or pair new devices.
  • Connected devices: The only device I see is an Android phone. I think you can pair it to use it as an authentication method, but I didn’t try.
  • Accounts: Manage your account or create other users for this computer.
  • Device: All the settings for the hardware are here if you need to change something (mouse, keyboard, display, disk usage, power).
  • Personalization: If you want to change your wallpaper, it’s in here.
  • Search and assistant: Change the default search engine for the system on any Chrome browser the option is available.
  • Apps: From here, you can quickly see which apps you have and uninstall them.

That’s pretty basic, but it should be ok to customize your system. You can also open the Advanced menu to have access to more things. If you are used to Android and Google Chrome, this Settings app should be familiar.

If you want to do more with Chromium OS, there is now a way to enable a traditional Linux environment in the advanced settings:

At the time of writing, it’s still in beta, so take it more as an experience. You’ll need at least a 16 GB SD card (and to expand the partition), and it will download a virtual machine for you to use basic Linux features (great for developers).

Install new applications

Chromium OS is installed with almost zero apps by default.
You have to install everything you want after the system installation.

To do this, find and open the Web Store in the shelf.
Then, you can install all apps from the Chrome Web Store, so you have a bit of choice here.

The difference between an app and an extension is that an extension is installed only in the Chromium browser, and an app is available in the shelf as a standalone program (even if it runs in Chromium most of the time).

I recommend installing all the apps you need from Google to get a good start with Chromium OS. You can find useful apps like Zoom and Caret, tools to open MS Office documents or PDF, etc.

Install a printer

Some of you might be skeptical about using this system as your main one.
So, I just wanted to show you that some cool things are possible. For example, you can still use a printer on a cloud operating system.

If your printer is detected automatically on the network by the Chromium printing tool, there is nothing to do, you can use it directly.

If it isn’t automatically detected, follow this procedure to configure it manually:

  • Open the “Settings” app.
  • Open the advanced menu and go to “Print & scan”.
  • Click on “Add Printer” and fill the form with your printer settings:

    You can also use a printer server if you have one (like CUPS on another Raspberry Pi).
  • Once done, the new printer you created is listed in the settings and can be used each time you print something.
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That’s it, you now know a bit more about Chromium OS, how to install it on Raspberry Pi and how to get started with the first few things to do after the installation.

I hope this post was useful for you, let me know if you experienced any issue with it. And if you are searching for other alternatives, you should probably check my top 15 distributions for the Raspberry Pi here.

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  1. Hello,

    thanks for good article. I would like to have all these on my Raspberry Pi 3:
    – Kodi or other equivalent home media server
    – Spotify
    – HBO GO
    – Youtube

    Is it possible to run Kodi, Spotify, HBO GO and YouTube on Chromium OS?

    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Jakub,

      In this case, you don’t really need Chromium OS.
      LibreELEC or OSMC would be a better idea, I think.
      You can find tutorials for both on the website.

  2. Hello!
    This tutorial is very good! I’m wondering if it works on raspberry pi 400. In 2021?

    1. I installed FydeOS for You (Pi 400 & Pi 4) yesterday and it’s pretty good! I never used Chrome OS before as well and it is ready smooth.
      To install it I used the Raspberry Pi Imager on a Windows PC first and that’s all.

  3. Thanks for all the details. Chromium is installed on our Pi 400. But trying to connect a wireless mouse but it fails. If I have to disconnect the pluged-in mouse that came with the Pi, I don’t know how to control the cursor. If I have the mouse plugged-in, and go to bluetooth settings, I can see my wireless mouse, connect it, but then it says fail and the wireless mouse does not move the cursor at all.

    Is it even possible to connect a wireless mouse with the Pi 400 with Chromium installed?

  4. Another Q: I cannot seem to wake up the Pi 400 with Chromium installed, from sleep. If it sleeps, any keyboard button I press won’t wake it up. If I press the on/off button on the monitor, the screen shows like it’s wanting to connect but remains black.

    The only way is to unplug the power wire and re-plug it in onto the Pi 400 and restart the entire Chromium OS.

    Is there a solution to this? Thanks in advance.

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