Old computers and phones age out of Chrome proper

Chris Burns - Feb 9, 2021, 3:25pm CST
Old computers and phones age out of Chrome proper

Soon devices running Chrome with x86 processors that do not support SSE3 will no longer be able to run said web browser. In a document made public all the way back in September of 2020, Google suggested that Chrome will indeed require SSE3 in the future, and that all platforms running x86 architecture without said SSE instruction set will crash Chrome and will not be able to install Chrome in the future.

SSE3, aka Streaming SIMD Extension 3 (aka Prescott New Instructions if you’re Intel), is an SSE instruction set for theIA-32 (x86) architecture. This new SSE3 system was introduced in early 2004 – if your device was released in 2005 or later, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to run Chrome just fine.

If you’re running Linux, you will quite specifically need to have an Intel Pentium 4 processor or later that’s SSE3 capable once this update is solidified. The same is true of the Chrome Browser on Windows. As yet, Mac computers requirement set includes ONE item: OS X El Capitan 10.11 or later. Your eldest orange iMac might not make the cut.

If you’re running Chrome on Android, you’re going to need Android Lollipop 5.0 – but that’s not a new requirement. That’s been the most basic requirement for quite some time.

How will I know?

If you have a computer that you think might be too old to run Chrome in the near future, go ahead and try to use your Chrome browser now. Chances are, if you’re inside the tiny batch of users that do not have the proper requirements, you’ll see a “dismissible warning bar” as well as a permanent warning in your Settings / Help page. If you do not see a warning anywhere when you open a Chrome web browser right now, chances are good you’re not going to need to get a new computer just to use Chrome.

This is only the latest wave of requirements in this realm. The last time Google implemented a change in requirements this significant, it was back in the year 2014, when the company began requiring SSE2 to run Chrome.

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