Chrome can’t update, Android version is unsupported (FIX)

Google Chrome browser is for many the go-to Android browser. In large part because it comes pre-installed and it’s something all of us are used to. Over the years, Chrome improved but this also means that the latest version won’t work on old Android versions. That’s why Chrome for some users can’t update and they get the Android version is unsupported prompt. Learn what you can do about it below.

How do I update Chrome if Android is unsupported?

To update Chrome on your unsupported Android device, you can try sideloading an APK or, even better, plain switching to an alternative browser.

1. Check system requirements

Google Chrome supports Android 6 Marshmallow and later versions only. If you’re on Android 5 or older, you won’t be able to download and use Google Chrome on your device. You can, as we explain in the next step, try a much older version that supports the Android iteration running on your phone.

So, if there’s a slight possibility to upgrade, we recommend getting a bit newer device to keep up with the app development. Even the essential Android apps will lose support after some time. Have in mind that we reached Android 12. We don’t recommend using bank services and important credentials on that device because it’s just a matter of time before it fails. The risk is too big because you definitely don’t get any security updates.

2. Download an older version of Chrome via an APK

Now, there’s still a way to use Chrome on older and outdated devices, you just need to sideload an APK that corresponds with your Android version. If you’re unaware of app installation from unknown sources, we have a piece on it. Basically, you will restore Chrome to factory settings and install the version that works on your device. You’ll need a computer

Here’s how to sideload Chrome on your Android device:

  1. Open Settings > Apps > Chrome.
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu and uninstall Updates.
  3. Open Play Store and disable Auto-updates for apps.
  4. Open Settings > Security and enable Unknown sources.
  5. Navigate to APK Mirror. Download an older version that works on your Android.
  6. Install the app and try again.

Have in mind that you can’t update the app no matter what you do. There’s no active support for Android iterations prior to Android 6, as well already noted.

3. Try with some other browser

Although the majority of app developers moved away from Android iterations prior to Android 6, some apps still support KitKat and Lolipop iterations. For example, barebone browsers like Lighting browser (Google Play Store) should work on your device. Still, there’s no guarantee.

Give it a try or look for other similar browsers. If you expand an app and go to the bottom, you should see the minimum requirements.

4. Consider using custom ROMs

Finally, the lack of software support doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your old tablet or smartphone. You can always inform yourself about available custom ROMs and give your device a new life. Most classic devices still have some ROMs running Android 8 or 9 at least.

It’s worth giving it a try and a fresh ROM can completely revitalize your device. And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in January 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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