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 ChromeOS, major software that lots of people use on Windows and MacOS are unavailable. The good news is that things are slowly changing, especially with the option to now access Android apps on ChromeOS.

Now let’s take a quick look at how to get Photoshop on a Chromebook!

Editor’s tip: New to the world of Chromebooks? Our What to expect from Chromebook Buyer’s guide helps explain what a Chromebook can and can’t do, buying options, and setup guides for first time Chromebook users.


Using Android apps

photoshop for chromebooks - android apps

Starting with ChromeOS version 53, Chromebook users now have access to the Google Play Store and the Android applications available on it, including all the Adobe Photoshop apps.

  • First, make sure your Chromebook is running ChromeOS 53 or above. If it isn’t, don’t forget to check out our useful step-by-step guide on how to update your Chromebook.
  • If you don’t have Google Play Store enabled, click on your account photo at bottom right corner. Click on the gear icon to open the Settings page. Look for the Google Play Store section and select Enable Google Play Store on your Chromebook.
  • Click on Get Started and sign in with your Google account.
  • Now launch the Play Store by clicking on its icon in the ChromeOS shelf. Search for Photoshop and download the apps that you want.

The available apps include Photoshop Express, Photoshop Lightroom for Mobile, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Fix, and Photoshop Sketch. It’s annoying to need so many apps to get the full feature set of the desktop Photoshop (some of the apps have paid premium features as well) and Android apps on Chromebooks don’t always work as well as expected. However, this is one of the best options for getting Photoshop on your Chromebook.


Streaming

photoshop for chromebooks - streaming

If you aren’t happy with using Android apps or a Photoshop alternative, you can also run Photoshop on your PC and stream it to your Chromebook.

  • Assuming you have Photoshop already installed on your PC, you will also have to download and install the Chrome browser.
  • Then install the Chrome Remote Desktop Extension on that PC.
  • Open the extension and enable Share this Computer for Another User to See and Control. An access code (12 digits) will show up.
  • While the PC is still running, download and install the same extension on your Chromebook as well.
  • On the Chromebook, enable See and Control a Shared Computer. Enter the access code and you can now remotely run any programs, like Photoshop, that are installed on the PC on your Chromebook.
  • You can also use other remote desktop sharing apps that work with a Chromebook as well.

This is not an ideal way to use Photoshop on Chromebooks but works well enough in a pinch. Also, this method of streaming isn’t the same as the Photoshop Streaming program that Adobe had launched. After its beta run, the program only currently allows educators and students to use, requiring an application process.


Using alternate apps for Photoshop on Chromebooks

photoshop for chromebooks - alternate apps pixlr

It is unfortunate the Photoshop on Windows and MacOS isn’t available for Chromebooks, but there are some great alternatives. These include Pixlr, which is an excellent alternative to Photoshop. It is a web app that comes with as many features as Photoshop and can be used for free. This app is also capable of loading .psd files so you won’t have to leave Photoshop completely behind if you use it on another PC. GIMP, Fotor, or the simple Online Image Editor may do the trick as well.


Hopefully these ways to get Photoshop on Chromebooks helped! If you’ve used any of these methods or the alternate apps mentioned above (or found others that are also really good), let us know your experience in the comments section below.