A Chromebook is an excellent and (often) cheap alternative to most laptops running Windows or macOS. However, given the limited storage and use of the cloud with Chrome OS, important software normally found on traditional operating systems are often unavailable. The good news is things are slowly changing, especially with the option to access Android apps on Chrome OS.
There is still no official, full version of Photoshop on Chromebook, but there are some ways to edit images using Adobe’s powerful apps. With some effort and technical know-how, you could even find a way to use the desktop app. Let’s show you how it’s done.
1. Get Photoshop on Chromebook via the Play Store
Thanks to Android app support through the Google Play Store, Chromebooks have access to millions of apps previously reserved for smartphones and tablets. This means Chromebooks also have access to all the Adobe Photoshop apps available on the Play Store.
How to get Photoshop apps from the Play Store:
- Click the circle on the bottom left of the desktop navigation area or press the magnifying glass key on the keyboard.
- Look for and open the Google Play Store.
- In the Search for apps & games search bar, search for Photoshop.
- Results should include Photoshop Express, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Fix, and Photoshop Sketch.
- Other Adobe apps include Lightroom, Illustrator Draw, Comp, Capture, and Creative Cloud.
It doesn’t make for the easiest time to have so many apps in order to reach feature parity with the desktop version of Photoshop. Compounding matters are the premium features only accessible through in-app purchases in some apps. Still, this is the most straightforward method if you want Photoshop on Chromebooks.
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2. Stream to your Chromebook
If you aren’t happy using Android apps, another option is to run Photoshop on a PC and stream it to your Chromebook. Before you start, make sure you have Photoshop and Google Chrome installed on your PC. Also, make sure you have a stable internet connection on both your PC and Chromebook.
How to stream Photoshop on Chromebook:
- In Chrome on your PC, visit the Chrome Remote Desktop website.
- Click the Set up remote access option.
- Install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension on your PC.
- Return to the original tab on your PC and name your computer.
- Click Next and create a PIN with at least six digits.
- If prompted, enter the PIN you created on your PC.
This isn’t the most ideal way to use Photoshop on a Chromebook, but it works in a pinch. Also, all Chrome Remote Desktop sessions are encrypted for protection.
You could also use a PC cloud service like Shadow. This company offers Windows machines that can be accessed remotely through any compatible device. Supported operating systems include Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS. You don’t see Chrome OS on the list, but remember Chromebooks can run Android apps! Once set up, you could install Photoshop on your remote Windows machine and stream it. Just keep in mind Shadow isn’t exactly cheap! It currently costs $34.95 per month.
3. Use the web version of Lightroom
If you’re not a fan of Android apps or don’t want to stream Photoshop, why not give the web version of Photoshop Lightroom a shot.
It’s not the full Photoshop, but Photoshop Lightroom lets you crop, rotate, straighten, and organize images, tag and rate, process raw files, convert images to black and white, retouch photos, and make panoramas. You can’t combine images, isolate objects, or remove objects, but many don’t need that much complexity from their editing software. In fact, many professionals can get away with using Lightroom and ditching Photoshop!
How to use Photoshop Lightroom on the web:
- Go to the Photoshop Lightroom website.
- Sign into your Adobe account.
Make sure you’re connected to the internet if you want to use the web version. Also, the app isn’t available for free. You must pay $9.99 each month or $119.88 per year. The monthly and yearly plans include 1TB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark.
4. Find alternative apps
The lack of a proper app for Photoshop on Chromebooks is unfortunate, but there are a few great alternatives available you can check out. One of our favorites is Pixlr Editor, a web app with many Photoshop features available for free. You can even load .psd files if you don’t want to completely leave Photoshop behind, but you’ll have to use the software on a PC in this case.
Hopefully, these ways to get Photoshop on Chromebooks helped! If you’ve used any of these methods, let us know your experience in the comments section below.