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How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

I love Chromebooks, but I’m not blind to their faults. Despite partnering with Brydge to sell a Bluetooth keyboard for the new Pixel Slate, the Bluetooth stack on Chrome OS is still terrible. But it can be fixed.

The fact that this is fixable isn’t to excuse the sorry state of Bluetooth support that Chromebook users have to deal with though. Wired accessories are going to be more stable on any operating system, but on Chrome OS they’re almost a necessity. Trying to pair Bluetooth headphones, mice and other accessories leaves most users just staring at the Bluetooth page in frustration.

And when you do get your accessories paired, the experience isn’t much better. Headphone audio typically cuts in and out, while using a Bluetooth mouse will often leave you with a pointer that lags and bounces around.

How to Make Your Chromebook’s Bluetooth Magically Better

Google is testing out a new Bluetooth stack for Chromebooks, and you should be able to use it now. Jump into your browser, open a new tab, and enter chrome://flags .

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Type “newblue” into the Flags search box near the top. Select the drop-down menu next to Newblue, then select “Enabled.”

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Save anything you’re working on, then select Restart Now.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

That’s it! New Bluetooth devices should pair much easier and they’ll work much better. After changing this setting on my Chromebook, I didn’t have any issues with my Bluetooth keyboard mistyping, headphone audio being choppy or my mouse pointer being inconsistent.

Your Chromebook may have Bluetooth , and if it does, you should see the option to turn it on or off by clicking into your clock in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

If your Chromebook features Bluetooth, you should be able to connect to devices like speakers, headphones, mice, and keyboards that use Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to computers.

If you find that you have Bluetooth capabilities on your Chromebook, here’s what you’ll need to do to make the connection between your accessory and your computer:

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

HP Chromebook (From $249 at Best Buy)

Most Chromebooks have Bluetooth — here’s how to connect your device

Syncing devices with Bluetooth is a simple process, just make sure that your Bluetooth device is turned on so that your Chromebook will be able to locate and connect with it:

1. Select the time in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

2. Tap “Bluetooth.”

3. If necessary, toggle it on — once on, it should automatically begin scanning for Bluetooth devices to pair with your Chromebook.

4. Select whichever accessory you want to sync with.

If you aren’t sure if you successfully paired the device with your Chromebook, select “Paired Devices” from the menu depicted above and look for that device.

If you’re having issues with your Bluetooth, try turning the feature — or your computer — off and back on, or check if your Chromebook needs to be updated.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

How to screen record on your Chromebook using a Chrome extension

How to restart a Chromebook to fix issues with your laptop

How to take a picture or video on your Chromebook and find the file later

How to copy and paste on a Chromebook in 4 different ways

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Insider receives a commission when you buy through our links.

Wireless headphones, speakers, and other tech accessories are going to be some of the hottest gifts this Christmas, but what if your brand new toys aren’t connecting via Bluetooth? Whether you’re trying to connect a wireless keyboard to a tablet, a smart watch to a phone, or a brand new laptop to a printer, here’s how to improve Bluetooth connection across your devices.

1. Clear the Obstructions

Did you know the tech in your phone that allows it to talk to other devices is named after a Danish king famous for getting rival factions to sit down and talk? The Danish warrior was called Bluetooth by friends, and when the tech was introduced back in 1997, the name seemed apt.

You might not need to get angry Vikings to communicate, but getting your phone to connect to your speakers can feel just as maddening. While Bluetooth sounds like magic, it’s not; it uses short-wavelength radio waves to transmit data over short distances. Because we’re talking about radio waves that are physically (though, invisibly, at least to us!) traveling around you, these waves can be obstructed.

Anything metal or water can cause trouble (Bluetooth doesn’t travel well through these) so things like metal pipes in a wall, electrical wiring, or even your own body can set you back. If you can’t physically remove the potential obstructions, move your devices so that there’s nothing in between them. If possible, keep the transmitting device high so that the waves can travel ultra-efficiently.

2. Turn off Other Devices

You’ll rarely need to try this; because Bluetooth jumps between 42 different channelshundreds of times per second, it is virtually never interrupted by signals from cordless phones and WiFi routers. Technically, however, it can happen, so if all else fails and you’re still having trouble getting your Bluetooth devices to talk, try turning off other items with signals that might be interfering.

3. Double Check the Distance

Have you ever tried to get the coffee maker to work, only to finally realize it wasn’t plugged in? Bluetooth is similar. Make sure you keep an eye on the manufacturer’s directions. Often, you’ve simply failed to enter a PIN or swipe a slider switch on your phone.

Though most cellular and mobile devices with Bluetooth use Class 2, which has a range of ten meters (about 32 feet), there is a chance you could be trying to operate outside the recommended range. Plus, the longer the distance the signal has to travel, the greater the opportunity for interference.

4. Try Resetting Daily

Bluetooth should be able to connect to up to seven devices and shouldn’t need to be reset. However, it’s not just the radio signal itself you have to account for. Every device, no matter how simple, has some kind of application or firmware on it which can experience issues like a memory exception or some other such glitch. Daily resetting helps to sort of clear away the cobwebs and gives your multi-connected devices (such as your phone) a great chance at a strong signal.

Even if you’re not resetting daily, you should try resetting (turning the device off and on) when you do experience problems.

5. Buy New Stuff

We’ll just start by saying: you’re welcome for the excuse to buy something new! While your older stuff usually works with your newer Bluetooth devices (see below for more advice on updates), sometimes the older stuff just can’t handle the rapid rate at which Bluetooth and other tech are improving. We mean “old” by technology standards, by the way–something even two or three years old might not be working so great anymore.

The best way to keep your Bluetooth network humming is to make sure your gadgets are, if not the latest and greatest, at least fairly new.

6. Try a Bluetooth Router

If you’re finding yourself frustrated with your 10-meter distance limitation or your inability to connect more than seven devices, you might fall in love with a Bluetooth router. Doubling as a reception extender, a router can connect devices at much longer distances than normal, helps to get around issues like interference, and even enables you to manage your devices via the internet.

7. Update, Update, Update

The most common updates that need to take place are on your phone. The overall operating system has to deal with things like memory constraints, hardware issues, and interrupts, all of which are happening at the same time. Since there’s so much opportunity for short-circuiting, we recommend that you keep the firmware on your phone updated.

It’s not just your phone, however. It’s not common knowledge, but you can also upgrade the firmware on your other devices. Check with the manufacturer as it will often have updates available that will help you device respond better to newer iterations of Bluetooth or newer tech you’re trying to connect.

No more Bluetooth problems for you; these seven tips should have your network humming. Make sure your distances are appropriate and you don’t have interference, reset your devices daily, keep them updated, try a Bluetooth router, and don’t hesitate to buy new products when you need them, and you’ll be well on your way to no more interrupted playlists, print jobs, or phone calls!

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Chromebooks are supposed to have amazing, all-day battery life — but not all of them do. Follow these tips to squeeze more battery life out of your Chromebook.

The same basic principles apply whether you’re trying to boost a Windows laptop’s battery life or squeeze more time out of a MacBook. But every operating system has its own way of doing these things.

Decrease the Display Brightness

When you want to make any type of mobile device last longer on battery — whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone — the first thing to do is decrease its display brightness. The display backlight uses a lot of power, and dimming the display makes it use significantly less power.

To dim the display, just press the brightness up/down keys. You should find these on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard.

If your Chromebook has a backlit keyboard, you can also temporarily disable that when you want to squeeze more battery life out of your device.

Disable Bluetooth and Other Radios

As on any type of device with wireless radios, the radios use power while they’re enabled. Even if you’re not actively using them, Bluetooth, cellular, and Wi-Fi radios are scanning for signals. Disabling those radios can save power with no real disadvantages if you’re not using them.

Bluetooth is used to connect with various peripherals. If you’re not using and Bluetooth peripherals, disable the Bluetooth radio by clicking the “system tray” area at the bottom-right corner of your taskbar and clicking the Bluetooth option.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

If your Chromebook has a cellular radio so it can access cellular data, you may want to disable that if you’re not using it. You’ll see a mobile data option in the system-tray pop-up list if your Chromebook supports this. Click that and use the options to disable it.

It seems silly to consider disabling the Wi-Fi in a Chromebook, but — if you’re working offline on your Chromebook, or if you have an Ethernet cable plugged in — you can disable the Wi-Fi radio in the same way you can disable the Bluetooth radio. Just click the system tray area, click Wi-Fi, and disable it.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Unplug Peripherals

Unplug any peripherals you’re not using, too. Dongles like the USB wireless receiver dongles shipped with many wireless mice use power while plugged in, as do USB flash drives and any other connected devices. The less devices plugged in, the less power your Chromebook wastes on peripherals.

View Per-Web Page Battery Usage

The current developer channel build of Chrome OS offers a feature that allows you to see how much battery power has been used by different web pages and Chrome apps. You probably don’t have this feature yet, but it should be trickling down to the stable release of Chrome OS soon. If you’re reading this long after December, 2014, you probably have this feature right now.

To access it, open the Settings page and click the Battery button under Device.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

You’ll see a list of the web pages and apps you use ordered by how much of your battery power they’ve consumed, so you can make informed decisions.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Close Open Tabs and Background Processes

As on any other computer or device, doing more with your Chromebook uses more power. If you have a large amount of tabs open — especially if they’re refreshing or updating in the background — this will drain your battery faster. If you have background processes using CPU, they’ll use power too. If you have quite a few extensions installed and they’re running in Chrome or executing scripts on every web page you load, that will also use additional power.

You may want to trim things down. First, close any unnecessary tabs, especially ones that might have advertisements or other activate content that’d be updating in the background. Try to keep your tabs to a minimum. if you need to come back to something later, you can bookmark it. You can even right-click your tab bar and select Bookmark All Tabs to bookmark a set of tabs as a folder so you can easily come back to them later.

Second, open Chrome’s Task manager by pressing Shift+Esc; right-clicking Chrome’s window bar and selecting Task manager; or clicking Chrome’s menu button, pointing to More tools, and selecting Task manager. Examine the list of background processes here. If there are some processes you don’t feel are essential, you may want to disable or uninstall them.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

While your’e at it, consider your list of installed extensions. If you don’t need an extension, you may want to uninstall it to speed up your browser and get more battery life. Click the menu button in Chrome, point to More tools, and click Extensions to view and manage your installed extensions.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Turn It Off

If you use your Chromebook constantly and it’s your main computer, you may want to leave it in its standard sleep mode all the time. Open your Chromebook and it will pop right out of its sleep so you can use it immediately.

However, sleep mode does use some power. It’s a small amount of power, so it’s better to use sleep mode if you’re stepping awy from your Chromebook shortly instead of going through the shutdown and startup processes.

However, if you use your Chromebook less frequently — perhaps it sits on a coffee table and you go days without touching it– you may want to consider shutting it down. If you find yourself picking up your Chromebook and being annoyed that its battery has drained while you weren’t using it, shutting down your Chromebook can prevent this from happening and ensure your Chromebook only loses battery power when it’s being used. You’ll have to boot up your Chromebook the next time you use it, but Chromebooks boot up pretty quickly.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

As always, none of these tips are mandatory. If you’re happy with your Chromebook’s performance, there’s no need to spend time tweaking it and disabling potentially useful hardware features and extensions to improve battery life. If you’re already happy with your battery life; that’s great — you don’t need to tweak!

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Google announced that it is the Chromebook’s 10 th birthday this week. And it rolled out Chrome OS version 89 which includes more new features to the stable branch. One of which is called “Phone Hub” which lets you pair up your Android phone. Then use it to remotely control your phone and get recently opened tabs in Chrome to come up. This allows you to pick up where you left off in your browser on Chromebook.

Note: For Phone Hub to work you need to have Bluetooth enabled on your Chromebook and your phone. You also need to have Google Play Services Enabled.

Link Your Phone to Chromebook with Phone Hub

To get started click the Phone Hub button next to the clock in the lower-right corner and click the Get started button.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

A screen will come up for connecting your phone. On the left-hand side choose the phone you want to connect from the dropdown menu and click the Accept & continue button.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Next, type in your Google account password and click Done.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Now you will get a message letting you know that you know both devices are connected and ready to go. Click Done.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

You will get a notification letting you know the Smart Lock feature is turned on. You’ll also receive a message on your phone letting you know the devices are connected.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Configuring Phone Hub

To turn features on and off, on your Chromebook, go to Settings > Connected devices and choose your phone. Then turn on Phone Hub, Notifications, and Recent Chrome tabs. From this location, your can turn on the Messages feature, too.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Phone Hub will show your last two Chrome tabs, a few toggles for the phone including “Enable Hotspot,” “Silence phone,” “Locate phone,” and Wi-Fi and battery status.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Don’t See Phone Hub?

If you don’t see Phone Hub, make sure your system is updated and running Chrome OS version 89. Go to Settings > About Chrome OS. There you will see the version that’s running. If it’s not version 89 click the Check for Updates button and restart if necessary.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Another thing you can do is manually enable the feature. Launch the Chrome browser and copy and paste the following into the address bar and hit Enter.

Then set the “Enable Phone Hub” flag to Enabled and restart the browser. Then you should see it next to the Quick Settings area in the lower-right corner.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Summing Up

While Phone Hub is available now with Chrome OS version 89, it doesn’t seem to work completely as advertised. I had a hard time getting it to work correctly with a Samsung Galaxy A51 handset. I also tried connecting an older OnePlus 6T and wasn’t able to get it to work at all.

Currently, it appears that if you own a Pixel device, you’ll get the best results. It’s early days, and it doesn’t have as many features as Your Phone on Windows 10. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and it’s safe to assume it will continue to improve over time.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

  • Full Article
  • The big picture
  • In the Box
  • Design
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Software
  • Camera
  • Audio
  • Specs
  • Value
  • The verdict
  • Comments

Slim, light design
Good keyboard
Quick performance
Excellent speakers
Good battery life
Decent screen

Limited ports
Pricey upgrade options
Limited colors

The Google Pixelbook Go is a less-expensive Chromebook from Google, though it still costs more than most other Chromebooks in the market. If you value design and performance over value, then you find plenty to like here.

Google’s track record with laptops and slates has been uneven. Last year’s Pixel Slate was a wonderful piece of hardware crippled by poor software choices. The 2017 Pixelbook was and still is a high-end beauty that seems to get everything right. This year, the company is back with the Google Pixelbook Go, a scaled-back Pixel Chromebook. Will this device help set a new bar for mid-range Chrome OS laptops, or get lost in a sea of mediocrity? Find out in Android Authority‘s Google Pixelbook Go review.

Update February 17: Added reference in the conclusion to the latest Chromebooks, which were announced at CES.

Google Pixelbook Go review: The big picture

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

The sweet spot for Chromebooks falls between $200 and $500. While entry-level fare will get you a computing device for basic browsing and media consumption, the Chromebooks priced over $400 are better options for those who need to be productive. The 2018 Pixelbook remains a lonely member of the Over-$1,000 Chromebook Club. That’s what makes the Pixelbook Go so perplexing. The device slots in between the middle and high-end of the market for Chromebooks, where it might have a hard time competing with the devices that cost less.

Rather than go head-to-head with the rugged, economical models available to students, the Pixelbook Go tempts users seeking an experience that’s a cut above. Let’s see if Google delivers.

What’s in the box

Precious little: The Pixelbook Go, the 45W charger and USB-C cable, and some documentation. The box is really nice, though, if you care about that sort of thing.

Design

  • 311 x 206.3 x 13.4mm
  • 1.06kg
  • Painted magnesium
  • Corning Concore Glass
  • USB-C x 2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Many affordable Chromebooks are made from low-cost materials and thus feel cheap to hold and use. The Google Pixelbook Go feels anything but cheap. An attractive magnesium shell forms the Chromebook’s profile. Where the top is flat metal with gently rounded corners, the bottom is a ridged plate. Google says the ridges are meant to make the Pixelbook Go easier to grab and hold. I have to wonder if heat dissipation is also a factor.

There are a million black laptops out there, but not all of them have the Go’s matte-paint-on-metal finish. The texture is fantastic. While I generally find black to be boring, the Just Black Pixelbook Go is simple yet sophisticated. The Not Pink colorway will surely appeal to some people, but I’d have loved to see a rich blue or matte white model instead. One can dream, I suppose.

Google kept the Pixelbook Go’s profile as small as possible. The 13.3-inch display allows the Chromebook to reign in the dimensions. It’s smaller and lighter than my Apple MacBook Pro, which has the same screen size as the Pixelbook. My shoulders can confirm that the Go weighs less than the MacBook, too, as they were less fatigued after lugging the Pixelbook around Manhattan for a day.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

The ports could be better. The Go has just two USB-C ports, one on each side. Because the Chromebook charges via USB, you’ll need to reserve one of those ports for the power cable at times. There’s also a dual 3.5mm headphone jack. There are no USB-A ports, nor is there a memory card slot/reader.

A notch helps your thumb take hold of the lid and push it open when the Chromebook is seated on a table. The weight of the lower half means you don’t need two hands to open the Pixelbook Go, and I appreciate this. The hinge is strong and holds the lid wherever you set it. (FYI, the Pixelbook Go is a standard clamshell; the lid does not swing all the way around.)

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

The 16:9 screen fills most of the display area. Bezels could be thinner, but they really aren’t too bad.

A full-sized keyboard, oversized trackpad, and stereo speakers fill the lower deck. Google selected the right options for the function keys, which include controls for volume and brightness, back/reload, multitasking screen, and music playback. The keyboard features a dedicated Google Assistant button, as well as quick access to the app drawer.

Speaking of the keys, Google calls the Pixelbook Go’s keyboard Hush Keys. Minimal travel is meant to help reduce the noise generated when tapping away at the keys. I have to say, I really like this keyboard. It’s much better than the keyboard of the Asus C434 Flip, which felt mushy in comparison. The Go’s keys were immediately comfortable to me, and my fingers did not become fatigued despite hours of typing. I’d say this keyboard is second only to the excellent Pixelbook in the Chromebook space. The keyboard is backlit, so you can see the keys in the dark.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

The trackpad is decent, but not the best I’ve used. For me, a good trackpad is hard to come by; it’s the single biggest pain point with Chromebooks in my experience. The Pixelbook Go gets it mostly right. First, it’s large so it feels natural to use. Speed and response time can be set high, and you have the option to select a gentle tap or a full click to interact with items on the screen. The tap option is a little too sensitive, but it’s better than the intense clacking made when you press the trackpad down.

In all, the Pixelbook Go is a much better-looking, higher-quality option than pretty much every other Chromebook out there — but you’ll pay for it.

Display

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

  • 13.3-inch LCD
  • 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Touch panel

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Google announced that it is the Chromebook’s 10 th birthday this week. And it rolled out Chrome OS version 89 which includes more new features to the stable branch. One of which is called “Phone Hub” which lets you pair up your Android phone. Then use it to remotely control your phone and get recently opened tabs in Chrome to come up. This allows you to pick up where you left off in your browser on Chromebook.

Note: For Phone Hub to work you need to have Bluetooth enabled on your Chromebook and your phone. You also need to have Google Play Services Enabled.

Link Your Phone to Chromebook with Phone Hub

To get started click the Phone Hub button next to the clock in the lower-right corner and click the Get started button.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

A screen will come up for connecting your phone. On the left-hand side choose the phone you want to connect from the dropdown menu and click the Accept & continue button.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Next, type in your Google account password and click Done.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Now you will get a message letting you know that you know both devices are connected and ready to go. Click Done.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

You will get a notification letting you know the Smart Lock feature is turned on. You’ll also receive a message on your phone letting you know the devices are connected.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Configuring Phone Hub

To turn features on and off, on your Chromebook, go to Settings > Connected devices and choose your phone. Then turn on Phone Hub, Notifications, and Recent Chrome tabs. From this location, your can turn on the Messages feature, too.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Phone Hub will show your last two Chrome tabs, a few toggles for the phone including “Enable Hotspot,” “Silence phone,” “Locate phone,” and Wi-Fi and battery status.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Don’t See Phone Hub?

If you don’t see Phone Hub, make sure your system is updated and running Chrome OS version 89. Go to Settings > About Chrome OS. There you will see the version that’s running. If it’s not version 89 click the Check for Updates button and restart if necessary.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Another thing you can do is manually enable the feature. Launch the Chrome browser and copy and paste the following into the address bar and hit Enter.

Then set the “Enable Phone Hub” flag to Enabled and restart the browser. Then you should see it next to the Quick Settings area in the lower-right corner.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Summing Up

While Phone Hub is available now with Chrome OS version 89, it doesn’t seem to work completely as advertised. I had a hard time getting it to work correctly with a Samsung Galaxy A51 handset. I also tried connecting an older OnePlus 6T and wasn’t able to get it to work at all.

Currently, it appears that if you own a Pixel device, you’ll get the best results. It’s early days, and it doesn’t have as many features as Your Phone on Windows 10. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and it’s safe to assume it will continue to improve over time.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Let’s turn that Chromebook into a bigger work (or fun) station.

One of the most wonderful things about Chromebooks is how simple they are — you don’t have to buy additional accessories to make them work, they just do most of what people want out of the box. But perhaps you have additional needs … like using a larger external screen, necessitating having an external keyboard and mouse in the process.

Sound like something you need to do? Well it’s not tough to figure out, actually — we’re going to lay out a handful of tips for getting your Chromebook up and running with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Monitor

Just about every Chromebook comes with a full-sized HDMI port — take a look around the edges and you’ll quickly know whether or not you have one. If you do, you can connect your Chromebook to any modern monitor or TV with a cheap HDMI cable and be on your way. Some Chromebooks may have smaller micro- or mini-HDMI ports … but don’t worry, those cables are easy to find, too.

If the monitor you want to connect to doesn’t support HDMI (hey, plenty of projectors out there still use VGA), it’s easy enough to get an adapter that takes the HDMI out of your Chromebook and changes it to VGA or DVI as you need. Future Chromebooks will use Mini DisplayPort, and we’ll be looking at the same situation — adapters will handle the transition to whatever monitor you have.

Monitor settings

Once you plug your monitor into your Chromebook, it will start displaying an extension of your desktop immediately. But of course you’ll probably want to tweak the settings a bit so it does exactly what you want it to for the best experience.

Click the status area (that’s where your Wi-Fi and battery icons are) and you’ll see “Extending …” or “Mirroring …” with the generic name of the display you’re plugged into. Click the name, and you’ll be taken to a settings page where you can tweak how you want your displays to work. Click one of the displays to edit its settings — such as resolution and orientation — or click and drag the screen to tell the computer how the two screens are oriented.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Chances are you’ll want the second display to be the “primary” display in this situation, but if you’re just using it as an extended desktop, without a keyboard and mouse, you may want to keep the Chromebook as the primary display. Same goes for mirroring versus extended — you’ll know right away whether you want the external monitor to duplicate what’s on the Chromebook or be its own display.

If you need to quickly switch between mirroring and extending your desktop, you can hold ctrl and press the full-screen button (f4 on a traditional keyboard) to toggle between the two.

Consider Casting instead

If you don’t have high performance demands, and want to keep things clean and free of cables, you can also choose to Google Cast your screen to either a Chromecast or Android TV that’s plugged into your monitor of choice. Install the Google Cast extension, and so long as you’re on a Wi-Fi network with a compatible Google Cast target turned on, click the status area (that’s where your Wi-Fi and battery icons are) and you’ll see a “Cast devices available” option — click there, and you’ll have an option to just Cast one window you have open, or Cast your entire display.

This works great for showing off video, pictures or webpages on a big screen, or even as a secondary monitor to show yourself some static information, but won’t work well if you have to do a lot of typing or manipulation of what’s on the screen.

Mouse

Just like monitors, Chrome OS is perfectly ready to handle connecting a mouse to save you from using the trackpad 100% of the time. Whether you like wired or wireless, you can plug in or connect your mouse and be up and running in a matter of seconds.

The one thing to keep in mind here is if you happen to prefer those fancy mice that have optional software for controlling special buttons, wheels or interactions with the mouse (Logitech comes to mind). Those software suites are designed for use with Windows and Mac computers, and won’t install on Chrome OS. That doesn’t mean that the mouse won’t work, it just means that you won’t have fine control over extra non-standard buttons and wheels. For most folks, this won’t be an issue at all.

USB mice

When it comes to USB mice, there’s really nothing to do but plug in the connector — whether that’s a cable or a wireless receiver — and go. You’ll still be able to control the pointer speed in the standard Chrome OS settings.

Bluetooth mice

To connect a Bluetooth mouse, make sure that your mouse is turned on and pairing mode is enabled (the process will differ between mouse models). On your Chromebook, click the status area (that’s where your Wi-Fi and battery icons are) and click on Bluetooth — look for the model name of your mouse, and the devices will pair in short order.

Just like the trackpad or a USB mouse, you’ll able to adjust the pointer speed in the standard Chrome OS settings.

More: Best wireless mice for Chromebooks

Keyboard

Getting an external keyboard for your Chromebook is the one part of this equation that can take a little extra thought. Just like adding a mouse, you can plug in or connect any USB or Bluetooth keyboard to your Chromebook, but you have to remember that Chrome OS uses a non-standard keyboard layout, with special keys in replacement of the function row and some switches elsewhere (like having search instead of caps lock). While you can use any keyboard you have laying around, you should consider a Chrome OS-specific keyboard if you’re going to buy a new peripheral anyway.

USB keyboards

Just like a USB mouse, Chrome OS can handle USB keyboard the instant you plug them in.

A few different manufacturers make Chrome OS layout wired keyboards, like this one from Dell and another from Samsung. You can also often find bundles with a USB mouse as well.

Bluetooth keyboards

Connecting a Bluetooth keyboard is just like connecting a mouse. You’ll have to put the keyboard into a pairing mode, open up Bluetooth settings on your Chromebook and then select the keyboard from the list of available devices. You’ll be prompted to type a sequence of numbers on the keyboard, and press enter to pair.

There are also a selection of wireless keyboards out there with Chrome OS layouts, like this one from ASUS that will be particularly nice if you plan to keep your Chromebook plugged into a large display and will be several feet away with the keyboard.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Chromebooks are supposed to have amazing, all-day battery life — but not all of them do. Follow these tips to squeeze more battery life out of your Chromebook.

The same basic principles apply whether you’re trying to boost a Windows laptop’s battery life or squeeze more time out of a MacBook. But every operating system has its own way of doing these things.

Decrease the Display Brightness

When you want to make any type of mobile device last longer on battery — whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone — the first thing to do is decrease its display brightness. The display backlight uses a lot of power, and dimming the display makes it use significantly less power.

To dim the display, just press the brightness up/down keys. You should find these on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard.

If your Chromebook has a backlit keyboard, you can also temporarily disable that when you want to squeeze more battery life out of your device.

Disable Bluetooth and Other Radios

As on any type of device with wireless radios, the radios use power while they’re enabled. Even if you’re not actively using them, Bluetooth, cellular, and Wi-Fi radios are scanning for signals. Disabling those radios can save power with no real disadvantages if you’re not using them.

Bluetooth is used to connect with various peripherals. If you’re not using and Bluetooth peripherals, disable the Bluetooth radio by clicking the “system tray” area at the bottom-right corner of your taskbar and clicking the Bluetooth option.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

If your Chromebook has a cellular radio so it can access cellular data, you may want to disable that if you’re not using it. You’ll see a mobile data option in the system-tray pop-up list if your Chromebook supports this. Click that and use the options to disable it.

It seems silly to consider disabling the Wi-Fi in a Chromebook, but — if you’re working offline on your Chromebook, or if you have an Ethernet cable plugged in — you can disable the Wi-Fi radio in the same way you can disable the Bluetooth radio. Just click the system tray area, click Wi-Fi, and disable it.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Unplug Peripherals

Unplug any peripherals you’re not using, too. Dongles like the USB wireless receiver dongles shipped with many wireless mice use power while plugged in, as do USB flash drives and any other connected devices. The less devices plugged in, the less power your Chromebook wastes on peripherals.

View Per-Web Page Battery Usage

The current developer channel build of Chrome OS offers a feature that allows you to see how much battery power has been used by different web pages and Chrome apps. You probably don’t have this feature yet, but it should be trickling down to the stable release of Chrome OS soon. If you’re reading this long after December, 2014, you probably have this feature right now.

To access it, open the Settings page and click the Battery button under Device.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

You’ll see a list of the web pages and apps you use ordered by how much of your battery power they’ve consumed, so you can make informed decisions.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Close Open Tabs and Background Processes

As on any other computer or device, doing more with your Chromebook uses more power. If you have a large amount of tabs open — especially if they’re refreshing or updating in the background — this will drain your battery faster. If you have background processes using CPU, they’ll use power too. If you have quite a few extensions installed and they’re running in Chrome or executing scripts on every web page you load, that will also use additional power.

You may want to trim things down. First, close any unnecessary tabs, especially ones that might have advertisements or other activate content that’d be updating in the background. Try to keep your tabs to a minimum. if you need to come back to something later, you can bookmark it. You can even right-click your tab bar and select Bookmark All Tabs to bookmark a set of tabs as a folder so you can easily come back to them later.

Second, open Chrome’s Task manager by pressing Shift+Esc; right-clicking Chrome’s window bar and selecting Task manager; or clicking Chrome’s menu button, pointing to More tools, and selecting Task manager. Examine the list of background processes here. If there are some processes you don’t feel are essential, you may want to disable or uninstall them.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

While your’e at it, consider your list of installed extensions. If you don’t need an extension, you may want to uninstall it to speed up your browser and get more battery life. Click the menu button in Chrome, point to More tools, and click Extensions to view and manage your installed extensions.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

Turn It Off

If you use your Chromebook constantly and it’s your main computer, you may want to leave it in its standard sleep mode all the time. Open your Chromebook and it will pop right out of its sleep so you can use it immediately.

However, sleep mode does use some power. It’s a small amount of power, so it’s better to use sleep mode if you’re stepping awy from your Chromebook shortly instead of going through the shutdown and startup processes.

However, if you use your Chromebook less frequently — perhaps it sits on a coffee table and you go days without touching it– you may want to consider shutting it down. If you find yourself picking up your Chromebook and being annoyed that its battery has drained while you weren’t using it, shutting down your Chromebook can prevent this from happening and ensure your Chromebook only loses battery power when it’s being used. You’ll have to boot up your Chromebook the next time you use it, but Chromebooks boot up pretty quickly.

How to instantly improve your chromebook’s bluetooth performance

As always, none of these tips are mandatory. If you’re happy with your Chromebook’s performance, there’s no need to spend time tweaking it and disabling potentially useful hardware features and extensions to improve battery life. If you’re already happy with your battery life; that’s great — you don’t need to tweak!