How to Install Chrome Extensions on Android
Can you install Chrome extensions on Android? This question appears all the time. Considering both Google Chrome and Android were created by Google, you would think you could use Chrome to its fullest potential. Unfortunately, Chrome extensions are not compatible with Androids’ Chrome browser.
Sure, Chrome on Android does have a “Desktop” option, but that only changes the website you are viewing and does not perform like the regular desktop Chrome browser, which is full of add-ons and features.
With that information out of the way, how can you use your favorite extensions on your mobile? The straight answer is to use another browser, and there are dozens of them out there that work with Android.
How to Use Chrome Extensions on Android
Chrome uses the open-source Chromium platform for its browsers, and so does a lot of the competition. The easiest way to overcome the limitation of Chrome but still keep the regular functionality is to use a Chromium-based Android browser that supports extensions.
One of the more popular options is Yandex. This browser is available in the Google Play Store, so there’s no need to sideload any files. Yandex also offers full support of the Chrome Web Store. If you want to use Chrome Extensions on your Android device, this is an excellent place to start.
To access the Chrome Web Store in Yandex, do this:
- Head over to the Google Play Store and download Yandex.
- Once installed, tap on the address bar at the top. Type in “chrome.google.com/webstore” without the quotes. Of course, you can also tap on this link.
- When the Web Store opens, tap the “search bar” and type the extension you’d like to add. Note: Use two fingers to zoom out because you’ll likely see the desktop version.
- Tap “Install” in the upper right-hand corner.
Your extension now appears in the web browser for you to use whenever you’d like. Some users have complained about Yandex because a lot of the content is in Russian. So, if this isn’t the browser you enjoy, we’ve listed others in the next section you can try.
Other Extensions for Chrome in Android
There are several Android browsers that work with add-ons/extensions, so here are some you might like to try.
Brave Android Browser
The Brave browser is a popular one for desktop and Android users. First up, this browser doesn’t support extensions, but it doesn’t necessarily need them. It has built-in privacy controls and very effective ad blocking. This browser blocks ads and controls privacy by default.
Brave is probably not the browser you’re looking for if you use other extensions, but it is one to consider if you’re all about privacy.
Kiwi Android Browser
Kiwi Browser is another Chromium-based browser that does support extensions. Kiwi also has ad blocking built-in and works very fast. It’s a light download, installs quickly, and fires up fast too. It’s a good browser for general use and blocks most ads by default.
Once loaded, select the three-dot menu icon, select Extensions, and you’ll see a link to the Kiwi Web Store, which is, in fact, the Google Play Store. Select your extension from there, and you’re good to go.
Bromite Android Browser
Bromite Browser is a GitHub project with ad-blocking built-in. It is based on Chromium but has been stripped down to the bare minimum to speed up browsing and minimize data collection. As many of the extensions we use are for ad-blocking and to stop Google from collecting our data, this is also a browser worth checking out.
Bromite doesn’t quite meet the brief of working with extensions, but like Brave, the core offering includes most of the extensions we use daily anyway.
Firefox Android Browser
Firefox is well known, and for a good reason. It has always been a close competitor to Chrome because it is equally fast, more secure, and more interested in your privacy. It doesn’t have the backing of the internet giant, but that hasn’t stopped it from performing exceptionally well.
Firefox for Android supports Mozilla’s custom add-ons, so it offers a very similar experience on Android as it does on the desktop. Most Chrome extensions will have a Firefox equivalent, so if you have a favorite setup on your laptop or desktop, you can mimic it almost precisely on mobile.
Dolphin Android Browser
Dolphin Browser is another top performer for Android that supports add-ons. While recent updates haven’t moved it as far forward as it should be, it’s still a solid Android browser that supports those desired extensions. Dolphin Browser also has an ad blocker and works with Flash, too, at least for now since Flash is dead, and HTML5 took over. Regardless, if you play any legacy games that use Flash, Dolphin will play them.
Dolphin works quickly and blocks most ads by default with only a few slipping through, and it works how you’d expect it to work. The Dolphin browser is well worth checking out.
It’s a real shame that Chrome doesn’t work with add-ons in Android. Fortunately, you have several good options for alternative browsers that either work with extensions or provide the core services without needing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I get Chrome Extensions?
Typically, you can get extensions for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store. However, the mobile version of the Chrome browser doesn’t have any. The search option isn’t even available for you to search for your favorite extensions. This scenario is why you have to use alternative browsers. Some of the browsers listed above do not offer extensions per se, but they bring many of the features that you may look for in an extension.
What do Chrome Extensions do?
Chrome extensions are similar to the applications on your phone. There’s pretty much one for everything. From saving money with the Honey extension to perfecting your Grammar with Grammarly, there are many options available. The home page of the Chrome Web Store lists some of the more popular options, so if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, start there.
Do you have a suggestion for a Chrome alternative for Android? Tell us about it below if you do!