Chrome OS 86 has now reportedly started rolling out for Chromebook and Chrome desktop devices. The update brings a wealth of small changes to the table, with only a few that will be immediately noticeable to most end-users. Namely, cursor customizations and a better photo editor.
Now, the first of those changes is an accessibility feature. So it's not going to be found as easily as some might like. Although those who really need to find the feature will likely happen upon it. The change is intended to help those who need a bit of extra contrast. To activate the color change;
- Navigate to the Settings app
- Scroll down and tap or click "Advanced"
- Tap or click "Accessibility" then "Manage accessibility features"
- Select "Mouse and touchpad"
Color options include the standard black hue, as well as red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta, or pink.
The second big change is a complete overhaul of the photo editor in Chrome OS. Now, when users open a photo via the Gallery, the editing tools are available immediately rather than tucked behind a pencil icon. All of the editing icons are splayed out at the top-center of the UI.
What else is new in Chrome 86 on the Chromebook platform?
The remaining changes are all related more closely to accessibility and usability. That includes a refresh of Select-to-speak, shading out background text that's not being read aloud. And it also includes an update to the ChromeVox screen reader that helps it automatically detect and adjust for different languages.
Smart Sticky Mode, improved menu navigation, and speech customization options are part of this update too. And, Chrome OS will now automatically create headings, links, tables, and other text-based elements in PDF exports to make those more selectable with ChromeVox as well.
Another big Chrome 86 change is the return of the preview password icon on the login screen for the Chromebook platform. That's the eye-shaped icon that appears in the entry field. There's still an arrow-shaped "enter" icon but users can also preview their input again.
Additionally, text that's been previewed now eliminates itself. Rather, it returns to asterisks after 5-seconds of inactivity. And then it automatically deletes itself after 30-seconds. The extra step should help keep users safer. On the convenience front, the password once entered correctly, should now log in automatically without the extra "enter" keypress.
All of that is in addition to improved readability and usability in Family Link, autocorrect, emoji suggestions, and multiple monitor use.
Phone Hub has still not made an appearance with this update.
When will you get this?
As with all Chromebook updates, Chrome 86 is rolling out now but could take up to a few weeks to hit everybody. To check for the update, users must first navigate to Settings. Then click or tap on "About Chrome OS" in the left-hand navigation pane. A "Check for updates" button should be present near the top of the resulting UI.