Up-to-date Chromium Browser on Ubuntu

The Problem

In Ubuntu, the chromium-browser package is in the Canonical Universe repository, which means that it is community-maintained rather than officially supported by Canonical.

The result of this is that the chromium-browser package is sometimes out of date, leaving you running an older version of Chromium rather than the latest stable release.

The Solution

Canonical are working on entirely deprecating the Deb package and moving to using Snaps as the only official method for running always-updated Chromium. Source: https://community.ubuntu.com/t/intent-to-provide-chromium-as-a-snap-only/5987

The official Chromium snap can be found in the Snap Store here: https://snapcraft.io/chromium

To install the Chromium Snap on Ubuntu, use the following command:

$ snap install chromium

Then, when you want to check for upgrades and install them if available, use:

$ snap refresh chromium

Migrating Data From chromium-browser

The Chromium Snap and old chromium-browser package can co-exist, as their installation and configuration directories are completely separate. The command to launch the Chromium Snap is chromium, while the command to launch the Deb packaged version is chromium-browser.

If you wish to transfer your user data (browsing history, bookmarks, extensions, etc) from the chromium-browser version to the new Chromium Snap, this can be easily done:

  1. Moving your Chromium user profile may cause your cookies to be lost, meaning you'll be logged out of any saved sessions. Make sure you have your password manager and 2FA codes available to log back in to any sites needed.
  2. Ensure that both browsers are fully closed.
  3. Take a backup of your old Chromium user profile from ~/.config/chromium/, just in case something goes wrong. If you are the only user of Chromium, your user profile will most likely be a directory named Default. If you have multiple Chromium users, it may be called something else, which you can check at chrome://version under the 'Profile Path' variable.
  4. Copy (or move) your old Chromium user profile to ~/snap/chromium/current/.config/chromium/Default.
  5. Start the new Chromium Snap using either the chromium command, or by using the application launcher. In order to quickly identify which launcher is the new Chromium Snap, the Snap usually has a more modern, flat-design icon, while the old chromium-browser launcher has an older '3d' icon. This may differ for your own system though.
  6. If you wish, remove the old chromium-browser package and any associated package repositories.
  7. Update all of your desktop icons, launchers, keyboard shortcuts, etc to use the new Chromium Snap.