How to install ANY extension in Firefox Mobile
(Though I can't guarantee they will all work)
Firefox is easily my favorite web browser; both for mobile and for desktop. Privacy and security aside, I actually enjoy Firefox's workflow. Its flexibility and design caters to me in a way most Chromium-based browsers just can't—apart from Vivaldi and Opera, though I wouldn't necessarily equate bloat to flexibility or good design. And when you factor back in the privacy benefits Firefox brings, it's a no-brainer.
But, until recently, Firefox mobile has had one minor issue I haven't been able to get past—the lack of extensive add-on support. That was until I figured out how to add ANY Firefox extension to the Android mobile app, and now there's no looking back. Here's how to do it.
Disclaimer: This will only work on Android devices.
If it isn't obvious, you'll need to download Firefox on your Android device. Here, you have a few options, including Firefox Beta, Nightly, and even Fennec, the FOSS Firefox fork (I dare you to say that ten times fast).
On the other hand, this won't work in Firefox Stable or apps like Firefox Focus/Klar at the time of publication, though this may change later on. I recommend using Fennec if you want the most stable day-to-day experience, Beta if you prefer not to use a fork, and Nightly if you want Firefox's future features faster (again with the alliteration). I personally use Fennec, but this choice is yours to make.
You will need a Firefox account
Next, you will need a Firefox account. Unfortunately, this is a necessity even if you don't plan on using Firefox Sync. Thankfully, you don't need to sign in to the account in your browser if you don't want. What we are looking for is Firefox's Add-On Collections functionality.
To login or make an account, navigate to accounts.firefox.com in any desktop browser of your choice. Once you've finished that process, you should head to addons.mozilla.org/firefox/collections. This is where the fun begins.
Click Create a Collection, then enter a name for that collection. Feel free to add a description, but this is not necessary. But, before you go any further, note the Collection name you just created and your User ID—the series of numbers in the Custom URL section just below the description entry box.
We will need these later. In my case, these are Mobile and 17662351, respectively. Feel free to try these credentials to test it out for yourself, but keep in mind this list comes with no guarantees, it will not be updated, and it may be deleted at an undisclosed time later down the road.
“Just show me how to add them to my browser already!”
Ok, ok, ok! I hear you. I am getting there…sheesh. Thankfully, these last and final steps are super easy:
- Open the browser on your mobile device.
- Tap the three dots to the right-hand side of your search bar, and navigate to Settings. Depending on how you've configured the app, this could be at either the top or bottom of the screen.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom where you'll see About Firefox.
- In here, you want to tap the Firefox logo at the top at least five times until you activate the debug menu.
- Back out of the about page, and navigate to the newly available Custom Add-on collection.
- Input the information we gathered earlier, and tap ok.
Firefox should restart itself. If not, close it and reopen it manually. Now, whenever you navigate to the Add-ons section of your browser, you will see your new list in place of the previous one. Any changes you make to that list in your Firefox account will update here in real time. The new add-ons will appear in the Recommended section until you install them. Afterward, they will appear at the top next to the rest of your installed add-ons.
Takeaways and Recommendations
Keep in mind, not every extension will work properly. My personal list mainly includes extensions that are already available by default, though a few additions I find personally important are Chameleon and TWP. One add-on I am holding out for is Firefox Containers. So far, I haven't been able to get it to work. But, if it ever does function properly, I will have almost everything I need.
It's also worth mentioning that even though add-ons and extensions are great, they increase your attack surface with each install. So be mindful how many Firefox extensions you use and which ones trust. Stick to the essentials, and you should be good.
But, if you're like me, and the current extension solutions aren't scratching your itch, give this a shot, and let me know how it works for you. Feel free to Tweet at me on Twitter or Toot at me on Mastodon. Just promise me one thing; that you won't ever actually toot on me IRL. That would be weird. Thanks.
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