Can You Use Lightroom On a Chromebook? (Alternatives)

Chromebooks raise many questions as they don’t feature the most common OS out there. In this article, we are going to explore the usability of Lightroom on a Chromebook and what other alternatives you have if you want to edit photos and images on your device.

Can you use Adobe Lightroom on Chromebook?

Yes, but not in the same way as you would on a Windows, Linux, or MacOS device. Chromebooks don’t run executable applications (.exe) and are more web-based than any other system out there.

So, how should a person run Adobe Lightroom on a Chromebook? Well, there are two possibilities.

The first option you have is using the app version of Lightroom.

Since Chromebooks are somewhat a hybrid between computer and smartphone, you rely more on software available on the app store.  

That way, you will be able to download Lightroom from the app store just as if you were using your smartphone.

However, if your Chromebook has better hardware than an average smartphone (and that is an “if”, since many Chromebooks have hardware comparable to smartphones), you should expect a great experience.

Downloading is easy, and if you need a guide, keep scrolling to find out.

The second solution consists of accessing the browser-based version of Lightroom. If you choose this option, you won’t have to install anything.

Is a Chromebook good for photo editing?

It depends. One thing has to be clear: Chromebooks are built to be a cheaper option for professionals that don’t need top-notch graphic cards and processors.

They are made to be lightweight and easy to carry around. This way, the majority of Chromebooks (the cheap ones) really can’t perform heavy tasks.

But lately, some Chromebooks were released with higher processing power, allowing for photographers to edit their photos with quality, ease, and speed.

Getting the right device will help you have a good time editing photos even with a laptop supposed to be less powerful in comparison to those brute Alienware machines.

If you are not sure which Chromebooks are good for editing, always consider those with quad-core processors.

Read more Popular Chromebooks for Editing Video.

Moreover, Chromebooks have their own OS. Instead of Windows or macOS, a Chromebook features Chrome OS, which is a light and fast system.

However, it has limitations in what you can install on it, meaning many applications you are used to working with on Windows are not available.

Because of that, you won’t be able to use Adobe Photoshop, only other applications that might fulfill some of your needs but don’t offer as many tools.

Even without Photoshop, you can edit your photos with other high-quality apps that you can download from the Play Store. If you are lucky, you can even download Gimp (we will talk more about this later).

Some people who have had plenty of experience with photo editing with Chromebook recommend it for its perks. It is easy to carry around, you won’t need to bother with viruses, battery life is great, and its connectivity allows you to back up your files on the cloud without trouble.

One factor that also counts is the size of the screen. If you are picking up a Chromebook that is too small (let’s say, 11-inch) maybe you won’t be able to properly see what you are doing on the images.

That way, paying attention to the display size and its resolution will pay you back when you work with your device.

What counts is what you truly need. Does your editing require all the tools of Photoshop? Will you use the Chromebook as perhaps a second computer to take on travels? Or will it be your primary device?

How to download Lightroom on a Chromebook?

Downloading Adobe Lightroom on a Chromebook shouldn’t present any trouble. As already discussed, Chrome OS has native compatibility with apps from the app store. Then, what you have to do is the following:

  • Open the Play Store
  • Search for “Adobe Lightroom” (or perhaps it will already show up on the main page of the Play Store)
  • Click on the app
  • Choose “install”
  • After installed, click on “open”
  • If you don’t have a Lightroom account, create one. If you already have, just sign in

Alternative apps for photo editing on Chromebook

Lightroom is one of the most powerful photo editing apps you can get on a Chromebook but is not the only one. Other applications present useful tools too. Perhaps you are even more familiar with some of them (such as Gimp). Let’s take a look at what options you have.

Google Photos

Google Photos is available on Chrome OS as well as on Android smartphones, and you can access your uploaded photos on any other device just by logging on to the browser with your email. This means you can access your photos anywhere, at any moment.

If you already use it on Android, you know it has some editing tools. As such, those tools remain on the Chrome version.

You will be able to apply filters, modify colors, fix exposure, and more. Of course, this is not a fancy app with plenty of tools like Photoshop or even Lightroom. It is an entry-level app for those who want to perform basic editing.

Snapseed

Snapseed is similar to Adobe Lightroom. It was bought by Google in 2012 and then its popularity only increased since then.

It has some functionalities you already find in Lightroom, while others might be new. If you are trying different photo-editing apps to find which one meets your needs, Snapseed certainly is worth trying.

Snapseed is currently available for pretty much any device. That means you can easily send a picture from one device to another and keep working on it with the same software.

It is worth noticing that Snapseed is a free app. So, if you ever feel like it has limitations that make it less useful for you than Lightroom, this is the reason.

Pixlr

In case you are after software that resembles Photoshop, Pixlr is a great choice. It has an edge over Snapseed, but to get full access to it you have to pay. For many people, it is worth the price, though.

If you are curious about Pixlr but this is a new app you never heard about, you can try the free version. Of course, as a free version, some tools won’t be available.

Still, you can get a feeling of how the app works and this might lead you to purchase the full version.

Pixlr is a web-based app, meaning you have to access it from your browser. However, it works on any browser of your choice, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility with your favorite one.

Gimp

Gimp is already a classic when it comes to photo editing. Many professionals who work with photo and image editing use it even though Photoshop being an option. It is a resourceful app and probably the best option when it comes to free image editing apps on the Chrome OS.

However, there is one tricky part about getting Gimp on a Chromebook. It requires your machine to have Linux app support. Most Chromebooks manufactured in 2019 and forward have such support, but you should make sure if you plan on getting a Chromebook just to edit images.

Polarr

We wrap up this list with an app that is considered by many people the best photo editing software you can get on your Chromebook.

If you came here knowing if Lightroom is available for Chrome OS, Polarr might change the direction you are heading.

Its interface is sleek and easy to use, making it great for beginners who got a Chromebook for other reasons but decided that they want to edit some pictures. For veterans, though, it offers professional tools as well as some premium ones.

The app has two versions: one is free with a bunch of tools but not all of them. The paid version, on the other hand, gives you all the tools you need to make your pictures look as professional as possible.

Some time ago, you had to purchase it at once, but now you can subscribe for only $249 a month.

Final Thoughts

Chromebooks are friendly devices made for you to carry around during your daily routine. To achieve such a goal, they have less powerful hardware and a more limited OS. Still, there are plenty of things you can do with them, and even editing photos shouldn’t pose any problem. You can easily download Lightroom on your Chromebook, or you can count on any of the photo editing apps listed in this article.

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