Does GIMP Work on Chromebooks? [4 Things to Know]

Chromebooks are an increasingly popular and cost-effective device for individuals who want the functionality of a laptop but the size and convenience of a tablet and don’t mind the Chrome OS system. These are budget-friendly options for any artist or graphic designer, similarly to how GIMP is a trending, cheap alternative to pricier graphics editors, like Photoshop or Illustrator. But what people want to know before downloading one and/or purchasing the other is whether they can be paired?

GIMP can work on Chromebooks with support from the Linux feature. However, this can be tricky process that requires various settings alterations and coding inputs before you can successfully install GIMP. Additionally, your Chromebook specifications, software, and other factors might create obstacles for this process.

For those seeking an easier alternative for graphic design on a Chromebook, we recommend and will discuss it more at the end of this article.

In this article, we will discuss the four things we think you should know before or regarding the use of GIMP on a Chromebook. As you read, you’ll learn important tips from how to download GIMP on a Chromebook to what specifications your Chromebook needs to effectively power this graphics editor, and more.

4 Things You Should Know About GIMP and Chromebooks

Penny-pinching graphics designers, artists, and avid Chromebook users can rejoice knowing that GIMP is compatible with these convenient and reasonably priced devices. However, before you set off to purchase a new Chromebook or install GIMP on the one you already have, there are a few things you should know first.

The most important things to know regarding GIMP and Chromebooks are:

  1. How installing GIMP is different on Chromebook
  2. What specifications does your Chromebook need to run GIMP
  3. GIMP’s cost and security risks
  4. How to download GIMP safely and successfully on a Chromebook

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these points and provide crucial information and tips we think you should know about each before you decide to start using GIMP on a Chromebook.

1. How Is a GIMP Installation Different on a Chromebook?

Usually, when someone decides they want to use a new software or application on their device, all they have to do is go to the source’s online website, find the “Download” link, and then follow the website’s steps for a complete installation.

The unfortunate reality with GIMP is that this process is very different on a Chromebook, which is why it isn’t a common software you’d find on these devices.

While we will provide a step-by-step guide for this process later, it is important to note that the reason GIMP runs differently on a Chromebook than any other device is because:

  1. Chromebooks run on web-based Chrome OS versus a Windows operating system
  2. GIMP can only access files which are present in the “Linux apps” folder

Therefore, not only are you not able to simply download GIMP from its official website (the potentially easiest way would be to install the GIMP flatpack meant of GNU/Linux devices on the GIMP website) , but you also need to make sure your Chromebook has the Linux operating system properly set up.

Most 2019 and newer Chromebook models will support Linux (Beta) without issue, but most will require a separate installation process and if your Chromebook is an older model, you’ll need to ensure it is Linux compatible if you intend to run GIMP on it.

2. What Specifications Does Your Chromebook Need to Run GIMP?

If you’re on the hunt for a new Chromebook and you’re fairly certain that you want to run GIMP on it, it’s crucial that you choose a Chromebook that is up to the task.

Graphics editing software like GIMP requires a high-performing device with above-average specifications in order to handle the editing, visual effects, animation, and other commonly used features efficiently. If your Chromebook does not meet GIMPs minimum requirements, you’ll find the device struggles to open and run the software without crashing or experiencing a wide range of operation issues.

So, to spare yourself a future of frustration, make sure your future Chromebook meets GIMP’s system requirements, which include:

  • a minimum of about 11.5-19.5 Mb of RAM
  • Intel Pentium 4 (or equivalent) or better

Compared to other graphics software, like Photoshop, GIMP is relatively light in its RAM requirements which makes it a much easier program to run on Chromebooks once its properly setup and most of the newer Chromebook models are built with exceptional Intel Core processors that are more than capable of handling the software’s tasks.

3. GIMP’s Cost and Security Risks

Because GIMP isn’t as reputable as other esteemed graphics editing software, you might be wondering how much it will cost and how safe it is for your Chromebook.

One of the best perks about GIMP is that it’s completely free to download and install onto your device. After hearing that, your concern for your Chromebook’s safety might have risen even further, especially considering its an open-source software that allows users to alter code and potentially hide harmful malware.

Rest assured, GIMP is safe for your Chromebooks as long it is downloaded and installed from the official website rather than a third-party link. The website’s team went through extensive efforts to move their download link off and upload it to the team’s FTP paired with private distribution mirrors and countless safety measures to ensure maximum security.

4. How to Download GIMP on Chromebooks

While downloading GIMP on a Chromebook isn’t done in the most conventional manner, the process is pretty straightforward once you know what you’re doing. The trickiest thing about this is knowing the right commands to type or paste into your Linux terminal. Fortunately, we have provided these for you amongst our step-by-step guide below.

The steps to download and install GIMP on a Chromebook are as follows:

  1. Ensure Linux is set up on your Chromebook (if not continue on, if so, skip to step #7)
  2. Select the time at the bottom right of your Chromebook home screen
  3. Select the “Settings” menu
  4. Open the “Advanced” and then “Developers” settings
  5. Select “Turn On” next to the “Linux development environment” option
  6. Click “Install” and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup process
  7. Open the Linux Terminal application
  8. Enter sudo apt update in the terminal and press the enter key (this will ensure everything is up to date)
  9. Enter sudo-get install gimp in the terminal and press the enter key
  10. Wait for the installation process to complete (this will take several minutes)
  11. GIMP should now appear on your Chromebook under your Linux applications. You can remove it by dragging and dropping the application icon outside of the folder.
  12. To get all of your GIMP tools on one page after opening the application, open the “Windows” menu in GIMP and select the “Single Window Mode” option.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it; four essential things you should know about using GIMP on a Chromebook. Once you get past the initial challenge of purchasing the right Chromebook and downloading the GIMP application, you should be able to use this graphic editor’s features just as easily and thoroughly as you would on any other device.

For those seeking an alternative to GIMP that works on Chromebook, we suggest With that said, Placeit is online based, so you don’t have to download anything, rather you access it from your internet browser (allowing you to use it on any device).

The features of Placeit are impressive, and best of all, everything you create and download from Placeit comes with full commercial usage rights (so you can sell your designs on your own, or to clients professionally).