How to manage app permissions, sizes, and notifications on a Chromebook

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The Android app category on the Chromebook platform has come a long way since the inception of Chrome OS. Not only are more apps supported than ever. However, users can also manage any app as they would on Android, with just a little extra in terms of management – from permissions and notifications to resizing the Android apps through their Chromebook.

But why should you manage your apps and how can you achieve that? Let’s dive in and find out.

The reasons you might want to manage an app on a Chromebook are the same as they are on a phone

The main reason everyone wants to manage an app on their Chromebook is the same as it is on Android. Namely for security and data protection. And that’s because just like Android, these apps have permissions. And these permissions manage Android apps on a Chromebook by giving them the ability to access everything from the camera to location and account information, just like any app on the mobile platform.

Of course, authorizations not only increase the functionality of a certain app – whether on Android or Chromebook. They may also act as vectors of malicious traffic that users would not necessarily want. So, enabling or disabling permissions is an activity almost every user should learn.

As with Android, every user of an app on a Chromebook can also manage notifications. These can be switched on or off directly. Or users can manage them more deeply and, for example, enable quieter notifications in Chrome. It effectively negates the potentially counterproductive or downright annoying notifications that some apps can send.

And this latter feature can be especially useful for those who sync their mobile device through Phone Hub. Or any of the other available methods to get notifications from your phone to your Chromebook.

Finally, managing apps means users can easily and simply enable or disable the app resizing features recently added to the operating system by Google. Namely the feature of keeping apps locked between phone or landscape tablet orientations instead of allowing them to possibly pause by resizing to fill the screen.

This can of course be done app by app when these apps are opened. But it can also be achieved more generally, which is the last topic we will discuss in this guide. So without further ado, let’s explore the “how” behind these features.

How to manage an app or apps on a Chromebook

There are several ways to manage the apps installed on your Chromebook. Here we discuss the easiest and most common ways to manage apps on your Chromebook.

Here’s how to easily manage a single app on your Chromebook

Learning to manage a single Android app on your Chromebook is a simple process. And one that every user on the Android platform should be familiar with.

  1. Open your app launcher from the concentric circle icon in the lower left of the Chrome OS user interface
  2. Tap or click the upward-facing chevron arrow to open the full drawer. You can also use gestures the other way around – with a two-finger trackpad swipe up from the bottom to open the launcher, and another swipe up to open the full app drawer
  3. Find the application you want to manage. For our sample images, we’ll focus on a banking app called “One” and Photoshop Express from Adobe
  4. Perform a “right-click” action on the app icon of your choice. This can be achieved by simple key combinations, e.g. B. by holding down the Alt key and clicking or by clicking with two fingers. Long presses also work on Chromebooks with a touchscreen
  5. In the resulting context menu, tap or click the “App Info” option.
  6. Chrome OS loads a screen with the same administrative elements as it does on Android. So you should see the app’s icon at the top of the page next to an “Uninstall” button. Further options are shown below

View every installed app and manage them too

Conversely, you can also manage apps from the dedicated Settings menu, and that might be a little easier for some. Especially for those who want to manage all of their apps.

  1. On your Chromebook, tap or click the clock in the lower-right corner of the shelf
  2. Tap or click the gear-shaped settings icon
  3. Select “Apps” from the left sidebar in the resulting Settings app
  4. Tap or click the “Manage Your Apps” option. Chrome OS will then display all of the installed apps. These can be managed using the following steps. Just tap or click the individual app you want to manage from the resulting list. A helpful search is also included at the top of the page when you’re looking for a specific app

Here’s how to do basic app management through the Chromebook App Manager

  1. to Uninstall an app, use one of the methods above to navigate to the app management page to reach the page
  2. As soon as the app management is open, tap or click the associated “Uninstall” button. Chrome OS asks if you want to uninstall the app. Click or tap “Uninstall” to confirm
  3. to Pin an app to the shelf, switch the “Pin to Shelf” option to the “On” position.
  4. Tap or click the switch next to the Notifications option to Disable or enable notifications
  5. to Enable or disable all permissions the app may have access, just toggle its UI next to the permission you want to allow or deny access to. It’s worth noting that some apps require permissions to function properly. For example, the Photoshop Express app requires memory access to open and save images. The One app used in this example needs camera permission in some cases to take verification photos for account access

How to manage deeper permissions, data, and more for Android apps on Chromebook

On the initial app info screen, you’ll now see options for managing some of the permissions for the app on your Chromebook. But there are also more in-depth options that can be addressed.

  1. In the app management interface described above, click or tap the “More Settings and Permissions” option. In the interface, the option appears next to a square icon with an arrow pointing away from the square from the inner lower left corner
  2. After opening, the user interface is displayed just like the app info on Android. With clear management options for the ones listed above, but also with deeper options. For example, under Permissions, users can both allow and deny permissions. And you can choose to have permissions expire when not in use. This page UI also provides options to direct users to the app’s page on the Google Play Store, uninstall or open the app, and force quit the app if it doesn’t behave properly. Everything clearly labeled like on Android smartphones
  3. to Clear memory and / or cache, tap or click the Storage & Cache option. As with Android, the UI for managing an app on the Chromebook platform shows how much is being used by each. And offers options to delete either

You can also customize apps using Chrome’s new preset window sizes

Of course, with the latest updates to Chrome OS, some changes have been made to how you can manage an Android app with the system beyond. Namely, by allowing users to resize some apps as usual. While others are tied to a selected scale for better usability. Gmail is one such app, for example.

Resize your apps again from the Chromebook app management menu

Changing the app size for these apps is no longer an easy task. Or at least it’s not as easy as tapping and dragging the edges. As is the case with Windows and other operating systems. And like the same Android apps used to be on a Chromebook.

Fortunately, we already have a guide to walk you through the process of making the change using a single method. But there is another way to set up the apps as well. And that’s in the same menus above, which makes it easier to manage multiple apps in quick succession. In contrast to opening all apps individually in the app.

  1. Open the app management menu via your preferred method above
  2. If the app can be resized, it has an additional option called “Preset Window Sizes”.
  3. To make the size of the app permanently changeable, click or tap the toggle next to the “Preset window sizes” field. After turning off the feature, you can use the minimize / maximize UI just like you did before adding the feature. When the feature is enabled, the user interface appears when you open the app so you can switch between tablet, phone, and resize mode

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